The Mixtape Vol. 181

Meet Zane Lelo Meslani, affectionately known as Lelowhatsgood, a Joburg based multidisciplinary creative and DJ

Zane Lelo Meslani, affectionately known as Lelowhatsgood, is a Jo'burg based multidisciplinary creative and DJ. His creative flare stems from writing and content creation, using his own background and personal story to write about the experiences of pushing the queer agenda in South African media at large. His DJ sets span from Alternative, Trip Hop, Acid Jazz, Gqom but mainly focuses on ballroom/Vogue beats

What's your sound story?

If I were to describe my sound story, I'd probably be labeled as someone who's trying to be edgy and different, but the truth is, I would like to think I am. The music that I listen to is quite diverse, and for anyone that follows me or knows me well enough, they'd know that my taste varies. I grew listening to a lot of R&B, gospel and Kwaito. And throughout my years growing up, it extended to Hip-Hop, Jazz to Alternative and Gqom. I grew up in Durban (another one! Here's our list of seven more street-culture and fashion influencers from Durban), and Gqom was not mainstream yet. We'd made beats on our high school desks and even hop in taxis that only played iGqom – that's probably my biggest influence in my DJ'ing sets. Only now recently do I have a passion for vogue/ballroom house-type beats that come out of the New York underground queer scene and UK electro influences.

How do you know when your set slaps?

Have you seen people crying at a club? That's what I've seen when I played my sets. I often get asked what song that was because they couldn't Shazam quick enough. Crowd response is always right. I also know my sets knock when it sounds good in my ears and there's an energy beyond the decks that releases endorphins beyond my control.

What do you listen to, on the regular?

Hmm… that's hard to put my finger on, since I listen to a lot of music depending on my mood. But currently I regularly listen to a lot of Blood Orange, Frank Ocean (duh), The Internet's new album (which leaves me de-wigged every single time), and Thandi Ntuli's Exile.

Which has been your favourite gig to play at yet?

KOP JHB – which is on the highest rooftop in Maboneng overlooking Joburg's skyline. That's always such an experience, because those kids are there for eclectic music sounds and they're keen on experimental sounds. It would have to be that and some events that happen at Kitcheners in Braam.

What's in this mix you made us?

A variety of witch-hop and vogue beats that reek of queer black magic. There's also some Gqom and Baile sounds and Jersey Club sounds that snatches wigs.

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