The Wolf Has Been Unleashed: !Sooks, eSwatini’s very own musical einstein
A gust of Swati artists are demanding to be taken seriously releasing the finest music consumed locally and beyond. !Sooks is one of those artists, making his presence visible in the house and electronic music scene, overcoming all hurdles and releasing hard-hitting eclectic sounds. Born and raised in the city of Mbabane, eSwatini, !Sooks became fascinated by African music and synth sound creation at a very young age. This rapidly developed into a passion for DJing that in turn fueled his desire to produce tracks for his sets. Influenced by artists such as P. Laoss, Jouem, Phidias etc. He rapidly honed his production skills and he began creating a versatile and unique sound with a careful balance of tech, Afro deep and deep house sounds. “!Sooks is a budding music producer and DJ from the Kingdom of eSwatini, born & raised in Mbabane, looking to make a long-lasting mark in the music scene, globally — let’s neither limit it to Africa nor house music” he sheds light about himself.
One of the main things I’ve always wanted to know is that why the moniker !Sooks and if it has any deep meaning. “It basically comes from my full name, Sukoluhle” he responds eagerly. “ Everyone would call me ‘Suku’ then eventually “Sooks”, he elaborates. !Sooks is unique in all aspects, this is even evident with the exclamation mark at the beginning of his name. “The exclamation is VERY important! I can’t stress that enough. It’s not a mistake that it’s at the beginning of the name. It carries a lot of meaning” stressing the importance of the exclamation mark.
Inspired by everything and everyone around him as long as everything is accompanied by positive energy, this lad has swiftly ascended to stardom and improves tremendously with every song released. “It depends on a couple of things. Is it my own original work or a remix? To cut it short though, it all starts with opening up my work station, getting in my zone and the rest is a consequence of where my creative juices flow” explaining his song making process. With the current level and quality of production one would wonder how his first song sounded and how his production has evolved. “Bummer! I don’t remember my first song (laughs). Shoot me! The evolution of my music, I feel, would be best described by the listener, it feels a tad narcissistic having to describe my own growth ” he responds when asked about his first song and the evolution of his music.
Classifying his music has electronic, deep and dark house music, !Sooks has touched a number of souls and received international recognition with features on the world acclaimed deep house podcast, Deeper Shades of House , Jere Nouges Deep Essence Radio Show, Selective Styles with Kid Fonque on 5fm and most recently the House Afrika released project, Mzansi House Vol 8, on a song called ‘Miles Away’ where he is featured by Pierre Johnson, just to mention a few. “With Selective Styles, Kid Fonque’s ears fell on a track called 1962 – thank heavens for that – and he loved it. He jammed it on his show and invited me for an interview thereafter. With Deeper Shades of House, I had always wanted to have my name on their roster as I’m a fan of the podcast. So when I got the chance I sent Lars a mix and he loved it enough to feature me on the show” he explains about the features on the radio and podcast platforms. “With Pierre, I guess it was just mutual love and respect for each other’s work. I play his music in all my sets, and he plays some of mine in his. So we got to chatting on Facebook, and bam! Another special collaboration! Went to see him while I was in Cape Town a few weeks back and we worked on some more music” elaborating about the feature with Pierre Johnson.
A hard working artist with a body of work that speaks volumes, !Sooks is resilient and perseveres often using #UnleashTheWolf hashtag along his posts on social media. “The wolf represents resilience and perseverance. It represents courage and bravery. The wolf is the inner will to overcome whatever circumstance one is faced with” sharing the story behind #UnleashTheWolf. “The wolf is that fighting spirit, that never-say-die attitude. So we all have the wolf, we just need to tap into it and unleash it!” he elaborates.
Not signed under any record label but having worked with the likes of Antidote Music , Deepsticthed, !Sooks is yet to reach the pinnacle and there is a collaboration with Secret Souls/ Continuum (check their latest LP entitled Xperiment) is in the pipeline. A believer in local talent he mentions Slotta, Neww Black, Propper Granda, DJ Czar and Gruv Bassment as artists to look out for and also mentions spinners like Katz, Jazzinsoul, Mseto, Msakrie, Deepbao, Tibza, Macdeep as some of his favourites. “It’s growing. I meet new guys every week and they all do amazing stuff man. Antidote Music has been doing amazing work for Deep House in the country, I swear they deserve an Oscar, Grammy and a Nobel Prize or something!” explaining about the current state of local deep house. !Sooks is a musical Einstein, a rare and unique breed one that should be treasured by eSwatini.