Okzharp is the alias of Gervase Gordon, a Cape Town-born, London-based producer whose track record in cutting edge, exploratory club sounds stretches back to the mid-aughts.
As a member of production trio LV, Gordon pioneered a style of bass music that was globally-oriented (it’s no coincidence one of their earliest tracks was called Globetrotting). Still, it’s the project that came after – Okzharp – that offered Gordon a chance to tighten his vision and focus on the myriad club music coming out of his native South Africa. Much of Gordon’s output as Okzharp has tended towards long-form mixes, showcasing kwaito and qgom artists at a time when these sounds rarely travelled beyond SA. For his own productions, Okzharp frequently teams up with performance artist and singer Manthe Ribane to mint a distinctive, prismatic take on electronic pop. It’s a creative partnership that will see its full realisation next month, with the release of their debut album Closer Apart.
For now though, Okzharp goes it alone for a compelling Crack Mix that sees him on a “gqomwavey sinokwairave” tip and featuring a treasure trove of future-facing artists, including DJ Lag, Club Fatale’s Neana on the Trak and Okzharp’s own gqom re-edit of Migraine Skank. We checked in with Okzharp ahead of the album release to find out more. Oh, and there’s a full tracklist below.
Are there any cuts or sounds in this mix which have been influences on the Closer Apart LP?
Yes and no. This mix is me on my gqomwavey sinokwairave club mission. I’m not sure if this club exists but it’s nice here. There’s a guy behind the bar serving pink drinks, slicing shards of ice off a huge block with a katana. There’s a guy in the corner with a snake on a diamanté leash. Over there there’s a girl with cat’s eye contacts throwing in dabs while she dances the gwara gwara. To the side of the booth the plain-clothes security guard sways while checking his phone. The sounds in this club were an influence, but maybe in a contrary kind of way. Manthe likes this club but we mostly hang on the VVIP balcony sipping pineapple juice.
Which artists from SA featured in this mix should we be looking out for?
I put one of my favourite DJ Lag tracks in there, and a few of the other tracks were in a random folder he gave me. Mars89 is a Japanese producer, he made an EP of vaguely gqom-inspired vibes. Migraine Gqom is my re-edit of the intro of Migraine Skank(!) I recently rediscovered an old Kayzotio and Masinya CD from 2012. Outside of SA people I always check Neana’s music, Trew Lids is a favourite from the mixtape/album he did last year.
This album and your outlook as a creative is driven by discovering and exploring music. There’s been a lot of press about the electronic boom in SA over the past 5-6 years, are you still continuing to find fresh and exciting strands?
Definitely, more than ever. I’m still surfing the gqom and sghubu waves but there are there are other things going on too. I’m late on it but I really like Hlasko’s mix for Bubblegum Club so I’m going back through his stuff. Mostly though I’m really into UK music at the moment, Headie One is great, I love 808Melo’s productions. Zomby’s eski album. The new Night Slugs comp. The new Proc Fiskal album. The Funky re-re-revival. Also Basinski’s Water Music and Disintegration Tapes are useful, I’ve been enjoying those.
What was your approach to putting this mix together?
I’m DJing at a friend’s party in a few weeks time and I made a folder of music I definitely want to play – music I reckon she’ll like. This mix is pretty much picking a path through that folder.
? – Best of the Best
Distruction Boys – Asambe
Vanger Boys – The Boys (Club Mix)
Walton – Baby (Okzharp Kwaibaby version)
Julz – Inkemba Ithrekhi
Lag – Shikisha
Okzharp – Migraine Gqom
Space Network – Real (Main mix)
Neana on the Trak – Trew Lids
Mars89 – I walked with a zombie
Kayzitio and Masinya feat Myzer – Pengele
Makatshana – Isvalo (Blak Shandis)
Kayzotio – Master Groove
Masinya – We Are Rising
Kitso and Athie – Demon Sounds