The undercover DJs: Vibing to artist Tony Gum’s chillwave

Each week, we bring to you some of our favourite undercover producers/DJs. These are the people who are well-known to create work in one field but who should, in fact, be known equally for the music they mix. From a multimedia artist in Cape Town to a teacher in Los Angeles, check out our ongoing series of undercover selectors.

Tony Gum is famously known for her arresting self-portraits and more recently, her collage works, which have shown at Basel in Miami, at the Joburg Art Fair, and of course seen throughout the the world wide web.

So as the Cape Town “artist in learning”, as she describes herself, shares work on her social media platforms and in gallery spaces, over the years she’s also taken to another platform, Soundcloud, to drop some incredible mixes.


With a laid-back blend of Brandy, Marvin Gaye, Busta Rhymes and more, Tony perfectly presents chillwave, but also flexes her DJ skills with impressive drum ‘n bass mixes. It’s easy-listening and before you know it, it’ll be three hours later and you’re still listening. Earlier this year, she released Tony Gum’s mix Vol. VII, dedicated ‘to all lovers’, and that opens with a sample of Eartha Kitt’s words on love:

“For what? A relationship is a relationship that has to be earned. Not to compromise for.
And I love relationships, I think they’re fantastically wonderful, I think they’re great, I think there’s nothing in the world more beautiful than falling in love.
But falling in love for the right reason, falling in love for the right purpose. Falling in love. Falling in love.”

From there, we’re taken on a 30-plus minute R&B and soul journey, featuring Lauryn Hill and Pharcyde, to name a few.

“My first love is music / I fell in love in the womb / & we made it official on the dance floor,” according to her Soundcloud bio. Tony’s mixes feature formidable female artists like Missy Elliot and Alicia Keys interspersed with sampled audio that reflects feminist sentiments about women doing it for themselves.

As she showcases mixes from two years ago on the music sharing site, she notes, “TONY GUM MIX VOL. II was taken down because of all that copyright shit. Whatever. Enough with the chills, let’s start grooving.”

Indeed, let’s start grooving. – Words: Stefanie Jason and Gabriella Pinto

*Tony Gum was unavailable for comment.

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