Conversations with DJ THOBS

As we count down the days to the biggest We House Sundays gathering on the 14-16th December 2019, we get to know the woman behind the powerful, eclectic sets. DJ Thobs (Thobeka Motseka) is a name to be reckoned with.

Hailing from Vosloorus, Johannesburg, DJ Thobs exudes the sound that is synonymous to South African House music. She abundantly delivers the groove and happiness that gets us elevated and unites the dancefloor shakers with her energy. Born into a musical family, DJ Thobs’ early exposure to music has inevitably led to her being at the forefront of creating influential compilations such as “Sgubhu Sa Mampela Vol.2”. She says, “my uncle was popular for Shakara backyard sessions, back in the early 80s, that’s when I was exposed to music by the likes of Fela Kuti, Koola Lobitos, etc.” Her love for House music unfolded in 1994. “I lived for the weekend. I was into clubbing and warehouse parties, religiously following Vinny Da Vinci and Glen Lewis.” 2001 was the year Thobs touched the decks for the first time. Ever since then, she has been conjuring feel-good music for those who love a good time.

To experience a DJ Thobs set is genuinely spiritual and good for the soul. It is the time to surrender to the curation she has served up to allow you a hedonistic moment with yourself and the music. Thobs says, “my sound always has a bouncy feel. It’s never too dark, too hard or boring. The intention is to keep the vibe fun, energetic and happy.” Music has been the medium for many blessings in Thobs’ life, “music has moulded me into something amazing. I am rich with friends across genders, race, class, sexual orientation and country borders. My music networks have opened so many other doors, beyond the music industry for me.”

DJ Thobs’ work such as “Colors of Soul” is uplifting, educational and empowering. It is this dynamic body of work that sets her apart and proves she is worthy of all accolades. We have so much to be thankful for in the name of music. “I always speak my mind and speak from the heart. I find that easy to express/deliver through music. My experiences and moods influence my choice of music.” All those who have seen the South African House music scene evolve will affirm Thobs’ significance and influence. “18 years later, I am still the toughest contender in this game. It’s heartwarming to hear DJs of either gender refer to me as their inspiration.” To keep you all dancing and wanting more, she says, “something special is coming, something with Thobs’ special touch that will be enjoyed for a long, long time by music lovers and foodies.” We cannot wait to experience what this House maestro has in store for us!

The perception of women (DJs, producers and vocalists) in South Africa’s House music scene has changed. Thobs believes it has changed for the better. Power DJs such as Lady Sakhe and Buhle are the (DMASA) Best Female DJs 2018 and 2019. “DJ Zinhle has the hottest single, and it’s getting enough airplay, we have more female vocalists on locally produced House music. We are definitely on the right track.” It is empowering for many girls to see these phenomenal women do incredible work that takes South Africa’s music to the next level. Seeing a woman behind the decks conjures a particular empowering feeling that makes you believe your wildest dreams are possible! Thobs dishes out some wisdom for women aiming to be successful in the local music scene, “I think the first step should be for an artist/DJ to have a solid marketing plan. Make it easy for the House community to discover and identify you.”

Thobs’ always determines the flow of her set by the atmosphere. It’s a sonic journey with the revellers on the dancefloor. Sunday People, with only a few days away, Thobs is excited to return to We House Sundays’ one-of-a-kind energy that nurtures her. “The crowd is so beautiful, and they make you feel like they are yours, and you are theirs. The team’s organisation and prep are always on point.” For DJ Thobs WHS festival performance, you’ll be in for a happy, bouncy set. “Not too dark, not too hard and never boring.” You do not want to miss this powerhouse set at Darling’s Cloof Wine Estate on 14-16 December 2019!

By Mandy Alexander