A few years ago in South Africa, the name Ralf Gum was known mostly amongst ‘House heads’ who heard his debut album titled “Uniting Music” which he released in 2008, as well as singles and remixes from the past decade. Aside from a respectable career that has spanned over two decades, DJing at clubs from all corners of Europe, Asia, America, and beyond, many look up to him today because of his recent success in South Africa.
Ralf Gum thoroughly represents Soulful House music, yet the impact of his work has now become more than a reserved music love affair. Visit anywhere in the country and you will hear “Take Me To My Love” coming out of the speakers, spreading a calm and ‘feel good’ air on everything within its range. His music transcends many barriers and the album “Never Leaves You” is testimony that good music is universal.
Made in Germany, celebrated in Africa- Ralf Gum has become a household name of late and brought Soulful House music to the mainstream. House Legend Magazine had the honour of interviewing the GOGO-Music label head in his busy schedule. We got to find out about the process of making his gold selling album, his move to South Africa and more. Read the full interview below.
HLM: Its a pleasure interviewing you Ralf. Please tell us about your childhood and how your love for music started.
RG: My childhood wasn’t too exciting, to be honest. I come from a small village actually, in the south of Germany. I’m not from a family with a musical background, but when I reached my teens, music got me. Every time I heard something on the radio that was non-commercial, I knew there must be more. So I started looking for more non-commercial sounds, and started collecting records.
HLM: When did you decide to relocate to South Africa and what motivated you to?
RG: The first time I came to South Africa was in 2008, and to be honest, I was overwhelmed by the love for House music in the country. From then I visited regularly. It was Christos who brought me into the country and we became good friends. I started bringing my wife with me, and she fell in love with the country. So it was a combination of having good friends here, finding an excellent House scene, and finding better weather than in Germany. It was a slow steady process until in 2010 when we finally decided to relocate, and we finally did in 2011.
HLM: Interesting. Where were you when you worked on your current album? Please tell us more about that process.
RG: I worked on the CD for more than two years, and most of it was done while I was still in Germany. I did all the final mixes when I was in South Africa, but most of the recordings were still done in Germany.
HLM: What inspired the title, ‘Never Leaves you’?
RG: Again it’s a combination. I like that you can see different things in it. Hopefully it’s the CD that doesn’t leave you, because you like the music. I don’t intend to leave the country too soon [chuckles] so there again, ‘Ralf Gum Never Leaves You’. It’s a combination, and I just like it as a title. I think it’s catchy.
HLM: Your South African fans will hold on to that one… “Take Me To My Love” Ft. Monique Bingham was arguably the biggest song in the country in 2012. Did you expect it to be such a hit or did it catch you by surprise?
RG: When you do music, you never know if the song will blow up or not. Especially if you do music like I do- I do what I feel. Obviously I knew it could work just because of the groove it has, and Monique, anyway, has a big following in the country. I knew it could be a stand-out track on the album, but I never expected that it will blow up the way it did.
HLM: ‘Linda’ is a great song and it sounds very local, especially because of Oluhle’s vocals. How did that song concept come about?
RG: I’m a big fan of Oluhle’s, and for a long time I liked other tracks she did before. And plus I relocated to a new country, so I found it interesting to have a song in Zulu. I approached her as I liked her vocals, and we just did it.
HLM: Very significant indeed. Having such a hectic schedule, what do you get up to in your spare time?
RG: To be honest, I don’t have a lot of spare time anymore. I think I grew into all of this and I’m kind of an organised person, which helps me to keep schedules.
HLM: For someone who’s had a successful career in the music industry, what message do you have for upcoming producers and DJs?
RG: Never forget where you come from, and always keep the love that made you go into what you do now… You started out because of the love of music, hopefully- and it should stay that way wherever you go, and whichever level you reach.
HLM: Ralf, thanks for the opportunity. We really appreciate you spending time with House Legend Magazine.
RG: You’re welcome. Thank you!happy wheels