There’s an earnestness about Ralf Gum, and aside from the music it’s one of his most attractive qualities as an artist. Here’s a guy that would stay true – did stay true, in the face of the temptations of fashion and fame – to his original inspiration. In an era when people have made it kind of a badge of honor to bend with the wind like a man made of straw, I get the feeling that were he walled up somewhere, working alone, Ralf Gum’s music would sound very much the same.
And despite working in an atomized and fragmented genre, GOGO Music’s “enchanting House Music” has been praised by nearly all of the dozen or so staff members that have rolled through 5 Mag over the years. With the release of GO!! 15 Years of Enchanting House Music mix compilation, we asked Ralf to walk us through five milestone records from GOGO Music’s catalog.
V.A.: GO! Enjoy Enchanting House Music (GOCD 001 )
After starting out in 2001 as a vinyl only label, we tested the waters with a CD release for the first time in 2005. The compilation included the single releases of our first years. GOGO Music never released a lot. The label was born out of my love for music, so we always followed a “quality not quantity” philosophy and it took 4 years until we had enough material to fill such a compact disc. It received global press applause and gained us a new listenership outside of clubs.
Ralf GUM feat. Monique Bingham: Kissing Strangers (GOGO 028 )
As a huge fan of Monique I wanted to collaborate with her since hearing Abstract Truth in the middle of the ’90s. It literally took more than a decade until I felt the timing was right to approach her. I was working on my first artist album Uniting Music so I reached out by email. She liked my track and the rest is history. We managed to create the best selling track of the year on Traxsource, and a song which is nowadays considered a classic. I could name all our joint songs here. We’re both perfectionists in our field and maybe it helps that we’re friends, too.
Black Coffee feat. Bucie: Turn Me On (2009)
When I was invited to South Africa for the first time in 2008, DJ Christos introduced me on the day of arrival to Black Coffee. His humble and positive personality caught me immediately. He was playing the same night with us and dropped “Turn Me On.” My attention was grabbed and I asked for the track ID. It was his tune and so I suggested releasing it on GOGO Music. He said he would have much more material and that this one would have been out in SA since a while. But I thought there would be a global market for it. We put it out with a great remix by Raw Artistic Soul. It gained quite a lot of attention and stayed in the Traxsource top sales spot for more than 3 weeks.
Sir LSG feat. Brian Temba & Kafele: All I Am (2013)
Finding new talent was always part of GOGO Music’s ethos and is important to me. South African producer Sir LSG is one of those discoveries. Our ways crossed in 2010 and his first release was “Sax In The City” in 2011 under his former moniker “Hood Natives”. “All I Am” was the first outing using his new name and at the same time the song where he really found his own style. He’s currently working on his debut album to be released in 2017 and as took care of one DJ mix of our double anniversary discs.
Ralf GUM feat. Hugh Masekela: In The City (2015)
Working with Hugh Masekela was a dream comes true, not only because of his legendary status, but as well as I have been such a long time fan of his horn-sound. An avid jazz collector and friend of mine introduced me to his music more than 20 years ago. Having relocated to South Africa in 2012, it seemed now for the first time possible to get hold of him. Well, I thought at least, but the man is still steadily on the road and touring the world. After many emails and some meetings with his management, I already wanted to give up. It was finally a lucky coincidence that made it possible to work with him for my “In My City” album.
Kerri Chandler was playing in South Africa in 2013. Prior the event Kerri gave a press conference and a workshop. I’ve been invited there, as I was on the line-up for the party, too. When I walked into the hotel where it was held, I spotted Bra Hugh and his manager in the foyer. They’d been waiting for someone else to meet. So I grabbed the opportunity, introduced myself and he asked me to send music. Soon later I was able to schedule a studio session with him. What an honor.
GO!!! 15 Years of Enchanting House Music a double mix compilation by Ralf GUM and South African talent Sir LSG is out now from GOGO Music.
Celebrate The Beautiful One in 5 Magazine Issue #131, a double issue featuring Prince, Kenny Dope, Ralf Gum, N’Dinga Gaba and Natasha Watts. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full access to everything House Music and save 66%!