From Major Players

Ralf Gum (GOGO Music)

Interview with: Ralf Gum (GOGO Music)

One of the most active profiles on Play.fm is run by the label GOGO Music, with an archive that has just recently passed the mark of 500 mix shows – each one with an hour of high-quality House music, the authentic, soulful kind of. Reason enough to have a little chit-chat with label owner Ralf GUM about the label, the show and some insight into House Music in South Africa, where he currently resides…

You’ve been hosting the label GOGO Music since 2001, with none less than 80 releases by now. Furthermore, you’ve been hosting a weekly radio show with the same name for years. How would you describe the musical concept to someone who isn’t familiar with GOGO Music yet?

Compared to many other labels, 80 releases in nearly 15 years are not that much. However, at GOGO Music, quality comes before quantity, which goes for all our activities. The main focus clearly is on the music label, which serves a platform for premium House Music and innovative artists of that genre. All further activities, like our booking agency B-King.org, our ‘GOGO Music Night’ events or the weekly radio show, pursue the same focus. GOGO Music is a brand with the mission to enrich the world with good deep and soulful House Music and related styles. We want to offer fans of the label an all-round package containing music releases, DJ mixes, events and more.

Besides being played on a number of radio stations worldwide, the show has been hosted on Play.fm for a long time and still is, hundreds of previous shows can be listened to on our site. What do you like about Play.fm generally and about the new website in particular?

Ralf Gum (GOGO Music)Shortly after launching the radio show in 2003, I started uploading it to Play.fm. One of the main reasons was the option to embed a widget with all streams into our own website with only a few steps. Ever since, we’ve remained faithful to Play.fm and are satisfied with the current site update. The new design is fancy and fits into the year 2015. Also, it’s really user-friendly and the new widget – which we have also embedded into www.GOGO-Music.net of course – works like a charm and finally on mobile-phones, too.

Three years ago, you’ve moved the centre of your life from the Bavarian region of Unterfranken to Pretoria in South Africa three years ago. How did that come?

My sound as a DJ has always been deep and soulful, and when being booked to South Africa for the first time in 2008, a whole new world opened up for me. Whereas I only felt understood musically by a small group in my native country – as House Music with soul is unfortunately only a niche market – I’ve been invited to a country with a natural appreciation for that sound. In South Africa, House is not only hip within the club-scene. It’s generally amongst the most popular musical genres. Throughout the following years, I’ve been touring South Africa regularly and, sometimes, got booked every second month. My wife, who has accompanied me along some of the tours, and I fell in love with the country, the people and the gorgeous nature. Along with a brilliant music scene, those were enough reasons to finally dare and relocate in 2012. We’ve not regretted that decision for a second since then.

Currently, the GOGO Music show is hosted by you and the Djs MAQman, Themba and Sir LSG in rotation. What can you tell us about them?

When I started the radio show in 2003, I mixed it myself every week. Eventually, as my other activities got more and more, it became too time consuming, so I suggested to other label artists to mix it in rotation. Besides the time savings for myself, other Djs and producers who release on GOGO Music should get the chance to represent their sound. Sir LSG is, in my view, one of the most talented up-and-coming artists in Soulful House and is currently, after a few successful single releases and remixes, working on his debut album. Themba is an established South African DJ, who has been helping out at the GOGO office throughout the last two years and, since 2015, is also responsible for our booking agency. MAQman is not from South Africa though, but from Vietnam. He has had two releases on our label so far with more to follow soon.

What can we imagine the music and club scene in Pretoria and South Africa in general like? What Djs and clubs should we keep an eye on?

Ralf Gum (GOGO Music)The main difference to the European music scene is a deep love for rhythm and soul of people throughout the whole population. In clubs you’ll find all variations of electronic which are popular in other parts of the world, too. Yet, the balance is a completely different one. There are comparatively small scenes for Techno, Electro or Tech House, whereas Soulful and Deep House (real Deep House) are dominating. However, in South Africa, House Music is not only club music, but an integral part of everyday life. No matter if you go to a super market, get into a taxi, turn on the radio or watch music shows on TV, you will hear some House. Artists like Masters At Work, Atjazz, Rocco or Monique Bingham are considered superstars and get played on many major radio stations. A Deep House track within the top 10 of the official charts is not uncommon, and in 2012, I even charted number one with „Take Me To My Love“. The popularity of the genre has inspired a lot of local producers to produce House beats and brought up a lot of true talents. Besides the worldwide renowned South African Djs like Black Coffee or Culoe De Song, you shall keep an eye on Sir LSG, Da Capo, Jullian Gomes, Roque, Nativeroots, Chymamusic, Deep Xcape or Rune, just to name a few.

As mentioned before, you’re not only active as a DJ, label boss and radio host, but above all as a music producer. During your career so far, you’ve collaborated with illustrious artists like Robert Owens, Inaya Day, Monique Bingham or – on your album „In The City“ from last year – Hugh Masekela. Which collaborations have been stuck in your memory especially? And is there anyone particular you’d love to share your studio with in the future?

Hugh Masekela was for sure one of the biggest, if not the biggest feature in my career so far. I’ll always keep the studio experience with him in memory. However, I don’t like to highlight any certain collaboration. Basically, I only release what I’m 100% satisfied with, thus, every collaborative project that sees the light of day is something special to me. Of course, there are always further artists I’d love to work with. Besides the usual suspects within the House scene, I find it very interesting to collaborate with artists from other genres. Jill Scott, Chaka Khan or Kem are singers that I dig, but there are less established artists I’d feel working with as well. At the end of the day, the result is more important than the name on the record.

Speaking about future plans – what are the plans for GOGO Music in the upcoming weeks and months? A few weeks ago, the radio show celebrated it’s 500th edition – will we still be able to witness the 1000th one as well?

Ralf Gum (GOGO Music)We’ll release a „Best of GOGO Music“ double mix album in early 2016. Until then, we will probably have a few more single releases. As mentioned before, Sir LSG’s debut album is also scheduled next year, if it gets finished till then, as we don’t like to set deadlines on creative work. Furthermore, we’re currently working harder on our ‘GOGO Music Nights’ concept, with the goal to bring the sound our artists to the clubs even more and in it’s purest form. ‘GOGO Music Nights’ have been taking place in a few hand-picked clubs in South Africa throughout the last months, and in 2016, we intend to start touring internationally. The radio show, of course, will keep going on a weekly basis. If we will reach the 1000th show is written in the stars – however, as I don’t see any reason to change the concept of the label and the according activities, chances are good that we will be able to reach this milestone.

Got some 21 days of time and no need for sleep? Then you might just go ahead and take the full tour through the wonderful world of GOGO Music shows right here – otherwise, simply dig your way through those 500+ GOGO Music Shows (each one is a sure shot) and be sure to follow their profile for even more House Music pleasure up to come!

Further links:
http://www.gogo-music.net
https://www.facebook.com/GOGO.Music.Label
https://www.traxsource.com/label/15/gogo-music

Mixes by GOGO Music on play.fm

Double D.

Interview with: Double D. from Frankfurt am Main

Today, we’d like to introduce you to yet another of our loyal power uploaders, one that has been keeping our feeds funky fresh since 2009: Double D. from Offenbach near Frankfurt/Germany! For six years already, Double D. has been using Play.fm as an archive for his radio show named Funky Fresh – and this has been growing ever since, counting almost 100 uploads by now and attracting an increasing audience. He kindly took his time to chat with us about his show, his hood, his two decades of DJing experience and lots more…

You’re host of the show Funky Fresh, broadcasted live on Frankfurt based Radio X bi-weekly and available within the Play.fm archives later on. When did you start the show, and what was the initial idea?

Back in March 1997, the federal state of Hesse developed first plans on launching a frequency for a non-commercial local radio station. At that time, two applicants in Frankfurt started a week of test broadcasts. That was when the first Funky Fresh show was broadcasted on Radio Tox. Radio Tox, however, was a bunch of unorganized hippies with autonomous structures, and so, after that week, the better organized team of Radio X received the license. A few weeks later however, they asked me to start a Hip Hop show on their frequency, as they were told that my test show on Radio Tox had been pretty good. Ever since, I’ve been doing up to three shows per month (each first, third and fifth Saturday from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM) as well as a monthly DJ night (each third Tuesday from 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM) up to this very day. In total, that’s seven to nine hours of radio each month. At Play.fm, a former editor named Dr. Glocke opened the door for me – which I’m still very thankful for.

The title Funky Fresh tells pretty much of the concept, still: To someone who hasn’t heard your show yet, how would you describe the musical bias?

Double D.True, the name says it all: The music has to be funky and fresh. FUNKY stands for a reference to Funk music, the musical structures of broken beats and fat, groovy basslines. FRESH means, that the songs have to be “new”, at least to the show – in all the years since 1997, I’ve never played a song twice. Each show is being freshly prepared with music that I’ve come across within the last weeks. The musical bias, thus, is “new” and “funky”, yet hailing from various genres: Funk, Soul, Downbeat, Reggae, Easy Listening, Dubstep, Drum & Bass, House, Disco, Boogie, Rap and Hip Hop might pop up on the show as well as mashups, remixes or edits of old classics, or – I don’t even know what they call it these days? Trap, Ghetto Funk, Neo Funk, Nu Soul…? It simply has to kick me and have a groove of some sort. Furthermore, I’m strongly involving myself as a DJ on the show, so it might get hard to even tell the borders between the single tracks. Funky Fresh, that’s it – a term that’s rooted in a Hip Hop context, appearing in a lot of songs from the 80ies and defining something that’s new, fresh, cool and hip.

How can we imagine a Funky Fresh show being produced? Do you select the music spontaniously fitting to your current mood, or are the whole two hours planned in advance?

I plan everything just as much as I find the time 🙂 Basically, I prepare the show in several steps. I’m continously scanning new music – if I like something, it ends up in my crate. Once it’s in there, I analyze the BPM, sort the songs by genres and score them using a five star rating. That helps me filtering the tracks and getting to know them better. Indeed, it may happen that a song that already made it into my crate will disappear again. Within two weeks, I usually check out between 200 and 300 songs, of which a maximum of 80 finally gets into the Funky Fresh crate, where I once again sort them by tempo and mood. I usually start the show rather slow and mellow, getting increasingly faster within the two hours. I usually drink one or two 0.5l bottles of coke during the show, which makes me ever more pumped and hectic. You have to keep in mind, it’s Saturday noon and mostly, I’m still tired and hungover from Friday night. It’s sort of a mutual process – the music boosts me and I, accordingly, choose the music within my prepared track pool. Usually, I mix up between 45 and 60 songs within 120 minutes.

Double D.As discussed, you’ve been hosting your show on Play.fm since 2009. What is it that you like about Play.fm generally and the new site particularly?

First of all, I like that I get listened to a lot. I’ve always digged Play.fm, yet, the new player is lovely and the layout is even better arranged and up to date now. I’m having fun putting up mixes on Play.fm, it’s self-explaining and easy to do. Back then, I was looking for a appropriate platform to host my mixes online permanently, as Radio X only broadcasts terrestrially, via cable and live stream, but does not offer any downloads or online archives due to legal reasons. I have to state though that all Funky Fresh shows on Play.fm are edits of the original broadcasts. I cut all the moderation, add an extra intro and might do a few additional edits, making place for new, distinct mixes to emerge.

You’re living in Offenbach am Main, a direct neighbour city to Frankfurt. That area has been a European stronghold for Techno for a long time, with legendary clubs like Dorian Gray, Sven Väth’s Cocoon Club or the Robert Johnson, which is still in business. How do you feel about the local scene, and what is going on besides Techno and Trance?

A big question. I was born in 1972 and fell in love with Hip Hop in the early 80ies. Back then, there was no Techno, but instead, a lot of GIs and US Americans living in the surrounding area. As a consequence, besides Berlin, we used to have one of the most vibrant Hip Hop scenes in Germany. However, as Frankfurt is a rather cold city with a huge focus on money and economics, the scene went commercial pretty soon (remember Snap and such?). In the early 90ies, Techno emerged and of course, I had a few blasts at the Omen or left some graffitis at the Dorian Gray. I’m still going to Robert Johnson every once in a while – rather not because of the music though, but because latenight, it’s often the last spot where there’s still something going on. The local scene, however, is very diverse. It’s true that electronic music is pretty dominant, but within the whole area, there are way more things going on. We have a vivid underground representing all imaginable musical genres. The area around Central Train Station is very hip, as well as a few other spots within the inner city. The harbour of Offenbach is definitely hot, you’ll find anything going on from mainstream to underground. There are three clubs within 75 metres right along the Main riverside: MTW, Robert Johnson and Hafen 2. That builds a narrow, tense atmosphere.

Double D.You’ve been busy as a DJ since the late 80ies. In which ways has being a DJ changed ever since – in positive aspects as well as negative?

For those who are willing, the technique has changed a lot. Of course you can still rock a party with nothing more than two turntables and a simple mixer, that was and still is a wonderful thing to do. However, I’m honestly happy that these days, we have long durable crossfaders and the chance to adjust Highs, Mids and Lows for each channel individually. As a trained radio and television engineer, I’ve always followed the technical progress and supported new developments. Each time has it’s evolution, and today, we’ve almost overcome the analogue vs. digital debate. The progress goes on and Native Instruments’s Traktor software, for instance, comes up with one innovation after another. That makes room for new creative ideas and expands your options. Personally, I prefer the DVS option as I like to keep the feel of vinyl, but don’t feel too much like carrying all my 12.000 vinyl records to each single gig.

Your DJ career took you to quite a lot of places, as part of cultural exchange programs with China and Russia for instance, or as an instructor for Vestax DJ School and VibrA School of DJing. Currently, what does your everyday life look like besides hosting the radio show, and what projects will you be focussing on in the near future?

I’m currently self-employed and do a lot of work with kids and juveniles. According to the motto “Eachoneteachone”, I’m continously trying to help people escape from their everyday frustration and let music and the according emotional perception shine on them, encouraging them in their creative abilities and self-confidence. I’m active in the field of prevention of violence, but also willing to be booked for well paid jobs at a fair occassionally. Anything can, but nothing has to happen. I try to keep the fun in my work and only do what I really feel like. That doesn’t always pay with cash, but mostly with appreciation. I’m still involved with international exchange programs, we try to accomplish with likeminded artists what politics don’t: Equality and exchange of positive minded people to overcome the fear of the unknown, the reduction of prejudices and appreciation for foreign cultures and lifestyles. Those are our goals.

Keen to know what Funky Fresh sounds and feels like? Take a digital slide through memory lane from last week back to 2009 right here – and be sure to follow Double D.‘s profile right here on Play.fm to stay current with way more yet to come!

Further links:
http://www.double-d.dj
http://www.radiox.de/sendungen/funky-fresh.html
https://www.facebook.com/FunkyFreshShow

Mixes by Double D on play.fm

Munich Radio

Interview with Christian Brebeck (Munich-Radio on Play.fm)

Ever asked yourself who the DJs you follow on Play.fm actually are? Throughout the next few weeks and months, we’d like to introduce you to some of the most popular uploaders and radio presenters on Play.fm within a new feature series named Major Players! We’re starting off with Christian Brebeck from Switzerland’s capital Zürich, who has been serving us with fresh sounds since 2009 and has remained on top of our listening stats ever since. In the following interview, he gives us some insight on the idea behind Munich-Radio, his musical concepts and his life in Zürich.

Our first question is pretty obvious: Your mix series on Play.fm is called Munich-Radio, yet, you’re residing in Zürich. How did that come?

Munich-Radio was founded in Munich, which used to be my home until I moved to Switzerland for professional issues in late 2008. Now, Switzerland is the new base for my project – yet, I stayed loyal to the original name and concept, as it was already established globally pretty well.

Munich-Radio already started as a classic webradio in 2006 – what was your initial motivation, and in which way has the concept changed throughout the years?

As I already used to play mixes on local radio stations in Munich (Xanadu, Gong 96.3, 89 HIT FM, StarSat Radio) in my youth days, I developed the idea to share my taste of music with the world in 2005 – which turned out pretty well until the present day. As running a radio as a private person requires donations and private financial means to survive on a long term, I rather use streaming services like Play.fm or Mixcloud to present my work. It’s definitely the better option, as the music might be listened to anytime on demand, while a conventional radio station depends on it’s broadcasting hours.

Currently, I’m compiling samplers for airlines, lounges, hotels, bars or instore concepts and consider myself a small, but fine music label. In the long run, the conventional broadcasting activities of Munich-Radio will have to come to an end.

To someone who isn’t familiar with Munich-Radio yet, how would you describe its musical concept?

Munich-Radio is specialised in wrapping hand-picked titles of the genres Lounge, Downtempo, Electronica, Deephouse, Triphop etc. into a harmonic, diverse mix, which either takes you on a colorful journey or simply knocks your socks off.

Munich-Radio runs free successful mix series:

Beach-Access: Melodich House/Deephouse, Electro, Minimal

Munich-Radio Mix: Electronica, Lounge, Chill-Out, Trip-Hop, World Music

Space Quest: Very spacey, futuristic tracks of any genre, from chilled to jiggy

Furthermore, mix specials like Oriental, B-Sides, or Best of 90’s may pop up every once in a while.

What can we imagine the process of producing a Munich-Radio show like?

I’m always hunting for awesome tracks, that touch me in whatever way. All tracks that get shortlisted are gathered in a to check out folder for the appropriate mix series. Once a folder is well-filled, I start to mix the single tracks into one coherent piece, considering style, tempo and variety. A couple of hours and bags of trail mix later, the mix is ready for mastering and each single track is getting optimized once again. Mostly, the result might be heard here on Play.fm first, followed by other streaming sites.

Thanks for the appreciation – of course, we’re curious now, what is it that you like about Play.fm?

I dig Play.fm because it gives me a great global reach, and because uploading and editing your work is really easy to do… and all that free of charge and without any upload limits.

Chris (Munich Radio)As mentioned before, you’re living in Zürich. What’s the local music and club scene like, which clubs, artists or record stores can you recommend?

No doubt, my favourite is the Supermarket. An authentic club with a similar choice in musical genres and artists as I play in my mixes – anything from Deephouse to Old School House (New Jersey, Chicago styled), no mainstream.

Vinyl lovers are best served at Panthera Records, who have 20.000 LPs and singles of the genres Deephouse, Minimal and Progressive in stock. However, I purchase my music comfortably online or directly from the artists.

Besides doing your Munich-Radio mixes, do you play live gigs?

While I was still living in Munich, I had weekly performances at O2-Lounge, Lutter & Wegner (Künstlerhaus), occassionally in other parts of Europe and worldwide as well. Currently, I rather play at private VIP partys than in clubs.

I rather consider myself a small, but fine music label, that compiles music for airlines, clubs, bars, lounges, hotels, in-store radio and similar purposes – in other words, I bring my personal taste of music to market.

Yet, I can still be booked for events.

And what do you do apart from your musical activities – jobwise as well as in your private life?

In my private life, of course, my heart mainly beats for music – that, I think, can be heard in my mixes.

Jobwise, I’ve been travelling the world as a freelance IT specialist and consultant in the world of telecommunications, mobile communiactions and IT security throughout the last 15 years. Windsurfing, my motorbike and the proper music added are a good contrast for all the mental exercise my work life demands.

Finally, let’s talk future prospects: What can we expect from Munich-Radio within the coming weeks, months and years?

A pipeline full of terrific tracks that are just waiting to be played out, for sure. Furthermore, I’m working hard to establish Munich-Radio as a music label and match even more tremendous compilations to customers, places and events they fit with.

Customers like Etihad Airways, BMW or various clubs and hotels of distinction have already been very excited, and it’s especially that kind of feedback, that keeps me motivated for that cause. As it’s hardly possible to manage everything myself, I’m currently looking for affiliates.

 

None less than 128 Munich-Radio mixes (status: August 11th, 2015) can be listened to right here – to stay informed about many more still to come, be sure to follow Christian’s Play.fm Profile!