The second instalment of TRUE Africa’s mix series curated by Ethiopian Records. We head to Durban to interview Julz Da Deejay.

Julz Da Deejay was born in Durban in 1996. Originally from the neighbourhood of Newlands East, he moved to Durban’s South Beach. He started producing music in mid 2011 and is now signed to Gqom Oh! Records.

As Julz said: ‘I grew up admiring the art of music in various ways. When the genre of ‘Gqom’ rose, I was completely hooked. I had this burning desire to find out how it was produced, so in 2011 I searched online and found out that producers in SA were using Fruity Loops. I went ahead and got the software and started learning to make beats. From that moment I was infatuated by the sound and started releasing Gqom online.’

Do you play any traditional musical instruments? What kind of software and hardware do you use?

At the moment, I am trying to invest in getting a musical keyboard but I haven’t learnt any traditional instruments as yet because Gqom doesn’t need much software and hardware to produce it. I use Fruity Loops Version 10 and 11 software, along with Virtual DJ for any extra sound adjustments and enhancers. I use my Toshiba laptop, external speakers and subwoofer and, at times, headphones.

Who are some of your favourite local producers and musicians?

My top five favourite local producers would be DJ Lag, DJ Lusiman, DJ Target no Ndile, Sbucardo da dj and Rudeboyz.

How often do you play live? Describe a memorable performance.

In December 2014, I was DJing along with a friend of mine for a house party and, I must say, it was a very memorable night. It was a matriculation farewell, the audience were mainly students and scholars. They were feeling the real hype with music blasting from the sound system.

I love exploring different sound techniques.

They really enjoy house performances and I got to watch them enjoy the music we were flowing into their ears. I felt overwhelmed by the joys of everyone dancing and screaming in happiness; I get very excited around crowds.

What other interests do you have and how do they shape your music?

At the moment I love to go out clubbing and partying and making music mixes is a good hobby of mine. I get to create my own mixes, not generally to play in clubs but to enjoy with friends. They love it when I have a new mix each week or so. I love exploring different sound techniques and this helps me realise what people really want in the music industry and how to improve myself and my skills… as well as meeting other producers locally to engage in communication for future references.

How much time do you spend making music?

Since I am a first-year college student, most of my time is spent there, but each and every minute of free time I have, I get back to making music immediately or even create beats for later use. Usually, if I am really focused, I could make a full song in a day and even two extra beats. Roughly, I’d say I spend three and a half days making music a week…

What has been the reaction of friends and family to your music?

Wow. My single mother loves the fact that I create my own music. You know, she has contributed the most in my family to help me grow in this music game and has supported me from the very beginning. As well as my friends, they thoroughly enjoy the music I make, some are even surprised by the way my music makes others feel and I’m very much supported locally – by peers and fans.

What is the driving force behind your music?

The growth of Gqom shows that it will be a powerful genre in modern societies in the future and even internationally. This drives me to put more effort into what I want to establish for myself as an artist.

I feel very surprised and am very glad that Gqom is finally making its mark.

I really want to have the fame, support and passion of other artists in this genre. So what drives me is the fact that I been making Gqom music for a long time now so I want to improve myself and my name as best I can, because it is something I love to do.

How do you feel about the international interest in Gqom versus local interest?

Locally, Gqom is very popular as it has been around for quite a good amount of time. More and more people lately have an interest in it locally but not many social/nightclubs are using the genre of Gqom in their music selection as not all the DJs know how to mix it. With regards to the international interest, I feel very surprised and am very glad that Gqom is finally making its mark in places outside of South Africa. I’m look forward to the interest and what the genre holds in the future, locally and internationally especially.

Do you have any upcoming releases we should be looking out for?

My forthcoming-ep on Gqom Oh The Gqom coasts sessions will be out in late 2016. My upcoming releases will be on SoundCloud, I also share my releases on my Facebook page and on the Gqom Oh! page.

Follow Julz on Twitter @102JULZ

Like Gqom Oh! on Facebook here