A natural-born musical activist, DJ and label owner Nan Kolè is a long-term advocate of contemporary African music and sounds which know no borders. He's been at the helm of the Soupu Music label since 2010, which has amassed a wide roster of artists from all across the continents, and as a resident of the Afrodisia L’Afrique party in Rome, he’s well used to joining the dots between the modern day rhythms of Johannesburg, Soweto, Accra, London, and beyond.
Nan founded his label Gqom Oh! alongside Lerato Phiri in 2015, which has been home to several compilations since its inception, and aims to shine a light on an illuminating strain of dance music birthed in Durban, known as gqom. Picking up the book on traditional bhenga dance, the relatively new genre takes characteristics from across the board – picking and choosing between slow house tempos, moody atmospherics, and of course, deep-rooted African rhythms. Introducing us to the likes of Citizen Boy, Formation Boyz and Emo Kid – Nan is helping to sow the gqom seed much further than the Durban city limits.
Describing the gqom sound as “apocalyptic riot music”, Nan Kolè has put together the playlist to an imaginary apocalypse ahead of his set at Club To Club festival in Turin on November 4th. Kicking off with the muted mystery of Aphex Twin's Schottkey 7th Path, it snakes through evil acid-spiked, hardcore techno from The Mover and Dusty Angel, before cherry-picking some of the darker material from his Gqom Oh! compilation, before dodging lasers in Aphex Twin's Isoprophlex. In Nan's own words, “It's a story through an apocalypse, with the beginning being absolute chaos, before slowly building up to a continuous light which takes you out from a place.”
Listen in the dark, with all your electronics switched off.
Nan Kolè plays the Red Bull Music Academy Stage, Lingotto at Club To Club in Turin on November 4th (info).