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PAM Meets Menzi: experiencing wildness at Le Guess Who?

PAM meets Menzi at the 2021 Le Guess Who? Festival in Utrecht. A gqom pioneer and Durban native, Menzi is empowering the dance music cultural underground with his dark and energetic mixes.

PAM Meets is a new series introducing an artist via a day in the life on tour behind the scenes, on the road or before a show. We let the artist tell their story as we capture a brief moment of what it’s like to be in their shoes. 

Menzi Shabane is a Durban native and hometown hero for his innovations in gqom, 3 step, and heavy club music. Signed to Nyege Nyege, the DJ and producer made his way across Europe, stopping at Le Guess Who? for an epic showcase of his local sound. Embracing his home culture, sampling the traditional drums of his father and staying true to his roots, Menzi is bringing a brand new flavor to the dancefloor and a kinetic energy for all those ready to experience wildness. 

PAM follows Menzi and the Nyege Nyege lineup around the city as he narrates his experience as an artist. “I had to stay in my origins. I have to bring my own culture, to make sure that I represent my own country,” says the gqom mastermind. Originally into commercial music, it was Menzi’s introduction to the experimental Nyege Nyege Collective that pushed him to pursue the cultural underground. Since, he has been producing menacing post-gqom tracks that are dark, wild and pregnant with dance. 

For me basically it’s all about dance,” Menzi says as we see him prepare for his DJ set in the BASIS club. “Everytime I create music I make sure that I dance to it and then I lose my mind.” A whistle in hand and jumping to the beat, Menzi sets fire to the dancefloor and the many club-goers who’ve put on the homemade recycled Congolese masks brought courtesy of Nyege Nyege. 

The soundtrack features Menzi’s unreleased single, “Kwa Sathane”, appropriate as Menzi usually animates his sets with his own unreleased music. “If I’m in a club and the people are ready to party, to dance, to experience wildness…It’s the easiest crowd for me to play.” At Le Guess Who? 2021, Menzi was right at home. “You always need to be you.” Menzi says as he closes out his DJ set. “Stay original. Stay You. Be yourself.

Watch the full PAM Meets with Menzi here.