Interview

Come Meet DJ Lag, the King of Gqom

After a decade making waves in electronic music, the Gqom pioneer finally released his blockbuster debut album. He speaks to OkayAfrica about his early life, the album's inspirations and creation, and the possibilities for South African music.

If Gqom were a big house, there’s one man you’d find at its center: Lwazi Asanda Gwala. Known as DJ Lag, the Durban-born polymath is Gqom royalty, responsible more than anyone for taking its hypnotic sound international. Over the past decade, he’s brought the dark South African electronic genre to prestigious festivals and venues across the world.

After three solo EPs, DJ Lag’s debut album, the anticipated Meeting With The King, is finally out. The fourteen-track project demonstrates Lag’s mastery of Gqom, building immersive experiences from simple, hard-hitting kicks, claps and a 125-127BPM beat. Between collaborating with genre-pushing artists and sampling woozy elements of Amapiano, DJ Lag’s vision is recognizably collaborative.

One evening in late January, the 27-year-old veteran spoke to OkayAfrica from his Durban home, surrounded by instruments. Enjoying some well-earned rest, his smile fills the screen, his taut skin resplendent. Most of his projects, he says, were created on the road: on planes and airports, backstage at concerts, inside cars and rented apartments. Then in early 2020 the pandemic broke out and like many artists, he took the chance to create this album, inspired by the familiar allure of being in South Africa and surrounded by family and friends.

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News Brief
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Bongeziwe Mabandla's Single 'Ndiyakuthanda' Gets a House Remix By DJ Lag

Internationally acclaimed gqom producer DJ Lag has remixed 'Ndiyakuthanda' by soul musician Bongeziwe Mabandla and it's a must-listen.

Bongeziwe Mabandla has released the DJ Lag remix of one of his single "Ndiyakuthanda" and it is quite the musical number. "Ndiyakuthanda" comes off Mabandla's third studio album iimini which was officially released last year. The collaboration with DJ Lag is one cross-genre collaboration that is sure to set South African dancefloors on fire.

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Watch DJ Lag's Latest Music Video for 'Siyagroova' Featuring DJ Tira​

DJ Lag has officially dropped visuals for 'Siyagroova' featuring DJ Tira and shows off South Africa's coastal dance scene.

DJ Lag Wins Copyright Claim Against will.i.am

South Africa's DJ Lag has reached an agreement of an undisclosed amount with will.i.am following the plagiarising of his hit song 'Ice Drop'.

Interview: DJ Lag is Firm on Taking Gqom To The Rest of the World

With a continual interest in gqom by the West, one of its pioneers, DJ Lag, believes the genre will only get bigger and he hopes to win a Grammy for his upcoming album.

will.i.am Apologises for Plagiarising DJ Lag's Beats on 'Culture' Song

American producer will.i.am has apologised for plagiarising DJ Lag's beats on Megan Ryte's single 'Culture'. DJ Lag has refused to acknowledge the apology.

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