Style that still lets the bride shine...
Kid Fonque (pictured) is a DJ name that’s been there since the days of club 206. Since the late Nineties that name has been synonymous with groovy underground tunes from deep house to bossa nova to cutting-edge funky hip hop.
So it is fitting and about time that Kid Fonque released a debut album of his own music. But Kid Fonque being Kid Fonque, he has to take it that one step further.
Kid Fonque and Friends features 19 of his closest musical mates on the album. These include the young Julian Gomes, Johnny Miller, Okmalumkoolkat and Zaki Ibrahim.
Already the first single featuring Ibrahim and DJ Whisky, Be, has reached No 1 on YFM. The second single, 2Sides, is impressing his favourite DJs around the world. And the accompanying video just adds to the buzz and groove of the track.
“The song is a discourse on modern music and the effect of DJ culture on music,” explains Kid Fonque. “I encompassed a lot of genres that I enjoy, including hip hop, jazz and house. It’s a melting pot of what I like in four minutes.”
It also includes the deep voice of legendary DJ, Theo Parrish, who resides in Detroit. When Kid Fonque approached Parrish about putting the speech or rather monologue on the track, most people in the industry said there would be no way that this iconic man of dance music would agree.
“What he says on the track really spoke to me so I sent him a mail. It was a nerve-racking wait. Then he agreed.”
To understand how Kid Fonque reached this point in his career where he has created such a groundbreaking track you need to go back to the beginning.
He first started DJing at Roodepoort College where he was studying in the late Nineties.
“I was playing trip hop. No one understood what I was playing, but that’s okay. I remember girls staring at me wondering what it was that I was playing. In those days, particularly on the West Rand, Jive Bunny and the Master Mixers were all the dance rage.”
He went overseas to purchase records and ended up staying there for a year. On returning he had a unique record collection. Remember, it was before the internet and downloads so cool underground music was hard to come by. Also, DJs were frowned upon if they did not play vinyl.
He took over the back of 206, South Africa’s most revolutionary dance space. It was the beginning of his DJ career.
“No one else had my record collection. 206 was such a stoner club and we were the guys playing that music. I landed up playing nu jazz, bossa nova, Fela Kuti. It felt like we had our own scene. We played what we felt. It was none of that northern suburbs radio stuff. You weren’t allowed in if you listened to the radio. We would play for seven hours. Those days made me who I am.”
Those days indeed were so much fun and so brand-new. 206 in the front with DJ Bob et al doing their drum ’n’ bass and Kid Fonque and his crew rocking deep chilled in the back – there was nothing like it anywhere else in the country.
We were in the middle of an aural revolution and none of us realised it. That club is one of the reasons why hipsters exist today.
After 206 closed its doors, he worked at music shops and released two compilations which included bossa nova and hip hop while everyone else was releasing house.
Saladumundo Volume 1 and 2 were greeted with critical success. By this time he was the label manager for Soul Candi.
His proactive approach to his career has seen him put on his own parties from Soweto to Sandton.
I hitched a ride with him to Sandton for an underground deep house party. The party was on a rooftop in the upmarket suburb on a Friday night. On the bill was the young Gomes who is fast becoming one of the most in-demand DJs in the country.
Kid Fonque was clearly a big- time DJ among the dance music fans. When it was his turn to DJ, the young crowd stepped a little closer and by the third track, he had the dance floor pumping. And they also knew his music, and knew it well. I watched as this tall white man playing to a 99 percent black audience became lost in the beats. He was one with his music and one with the crowd. That was his only reality. Nothing else existed.
But then again, going back to 1997, that is exactly who Kid Fonque was in the den of 206. And I am quite certain that the young Kid Fonque would be super proud of his older, accomplished Kid Fonque.