Running the label for 15 years means so many great memories and it is not easy to just choose 15. Therefore I decided to pick one highlight every year, which wasn’t easy either!
Starting the label – there would be no other 14 memorable moments without the foundation of the label of course. After releases on various other labels I desired a platform where I am in control of aspects related to the release of music, regardless if it was my work or came from other artists. It was an intuitive wish at that time and I did not have an exact idea how the journey will look like. In retrospective I’d have to say it was more work than I would have imagined, but absolutely worth every effort.
Charting with our 3rd single release in UK listings – creating buzz for the label at such an early stage helped a lot to put our name out there and charting was a great achievement for a young label from Germany. It created the necessary awareness and more people started looking out for us. The tune was titled “Jaqueline Castellanos – Yara Yara” and was the first of many others to follow.
Concha Buika on the label – when living on Mallorca, Spain in 2001 I had the luck to meet a very talented lady, who was then mainly singing in Palma De Mallorca’s Jazz Clubs. 7 years later Concha should be nominated for her first Latin Grammy Award. After some remixes of her work, we recorded “Nobody Can Touch Me”. It was released in 2003 as Cat-Nr 005 and still is a favourite of mine.
Raw Artistic Soul’s first release – “The One Cultural Groove EP” was the starting point of much more to come. The EP was taken from Phil’s first album. Another one, various remix-works of him and many collaborations followed.
The first CD release – GO! was a label-compilation and the first time we tried out this format. It united the single releases of prior years in a DJ-Mix and we’ve been overwhelmed by the global plaudit. CDs still have been a perfect addition to our catalogue when digital download-stores already started popping up. They opened up additional markets at a point, where GOGO was established as a label in the soulful house scene.
GOGO Music’s first WMC event – was in association with Still Music, Philosophie Music, ATAL Music and the M3 Summit. Thanks to Jerome Derradji’s contacts we managed to bring together a quite outstanding line-up including The 3 chairs (Kenny Dixon Jr aka Moodyman, Theo Parrish, Rick Wilhite, Malik Pittman), Glenn Underground, Hanna Hais, Markus Enochson, Jerome and myself. It became one of the most talked about WMC parties of the year, for some good and some really unnecessary reasons. We continued to host own WMC events for 3 more years, with probably 2008 being my personal favourite.
Phil’s 2nd album – including tunes such as “The Light” feat. Ursula Rucker and Traxsource #1 song “Keep On Shining” featuring John Gibbons, the long-player showed the fast growth of Raw Artistic Soul and stands as a testament of Phil’s ability to create outstanding art.
“Uniting Music” – my first artist full length about 15 years after starting to make music. The timing felt just right and I wanted to leave the limitations, which single releases can mean. Each song of the album was intertwining with the next one, which made the production quite tricky. It contained tracks like “All This Love For You” feat. Diamondancer and “Kissing Strangers” feat. Monique Bingham, which blew up in House Music circles.
Kissing Strangers live at WMC 2008:
Ralf GUM feat. Monique Bingham - Kissing Strangers - live at the GOGO Music WMC event 2008
Black Coffee releasing on GOGO Music – I’ve been to South Africa for the first time in 2008 and my gratitude will always go to the country for reassuring that GOGO Music was on the right path. My first trips to New York in 1991 have set the foundation for my love for House Music, South Africa intensified it. We licensed various songs from South African artists and released them on the label usually with remixes. Those included for example Shana’s “Uyangichomela” and Black Coffee’s “Turn Me On” feat. Bucie, which topped in download charts and gained some international attention for Nathi, who by now surely needs no introduction in the music scene anymore.
Complicated – not the year, but was the title of the first outing of Kafele and me. Since then he became a regular on the label. It is Kafele’s combination of skilled song-writing and fab trumpet playing which makes him stand out. Complicated was another one of our Traxsource number ones and it only needed 2 days after the release to make it there.
Joseph Junior & MAQman – arrive on the label. Some teams just work well together. I think it is their mutual energy and different approach which makes their collaborations so worthy. Since ‘I Don’t See Love’, which was equipped with a lovely remix by Ezel, they became a staple on GOGO Music.
My move to South Africa – well, this might not sound directly related to label activities at first, but with the relocation to the motherland, I found a new spiritual home, which of course influences label’s sound to some extent. My second artist album ‘Never Leaves You’ went gold and reassured me that the move wasn’t only for my love of the country, but seemed as well to be accepted by South Africans. ‘Take Me To My Love’ feat. Monique Bingham taken from the long-player was called a national anthem that year.
Sir LSG found his name – While ‘Sax In The City’ still was released under his former moniker ‘Hood Natives’ in 2011, South African Sir LSG released for the first time under his own name in 2013. Since our paths crossed in 2010, GOGO Music looked after him. His single “All I Am” with renown Soul-singer Brian Temba and Kafele on trumpet became globally beloved in soulful circles and an ample radio-hit in his home country in 2013.
In My City – my latest album where I had the honour to work with the likes of Hugh Masekela, Omar, Dele Sosimi, Monique Bingham and also a refreshing assemblage of newer generation artists, as Lee Bling or Portia Monique. After hitting the iTunes #1 on day of release, it was later nominated as Best Dance Album 2014 on iTunes SA. For me it is yet again a very personal and important work, as the production of it confirmed my outlooks on certain values.
Seeing Hugh Masekela again – thanks to the doors the work with GOGO Music opened, I had the opportunity to meet amazing people. Having amongst them Hugh Masekela will always stay close to my heart, simply as I’ve been such a long time fan of him and considering his status in the music-world. After our inspiring studio session in 2014, I met the humble personality again in 2015 on set for the video shot of ‘In The City’.
Ralf GUM feat. Hugh Masekela - In The City (Official Video)
15 years in business – 2016 has hopefully a lot more to come. The anniversary is definitely a highlight for us which will not be easy to top. We just released our “GO!!! 15 years of enchanting house music” double album and have more planned for the rest of the year. A big tour for the anniversary CD is just about to start, some releases are in the making and we just kicked off our monthly GOGO Music label-residency called CORE at Kitcheners in Johannesburg, South Africa.
‘Various Artists – GO!!! 15 years of enchanting house music’ is out now on GOGO Music
Various Artists - GO!!! 15 years of enchanting house music - GOCD 009