It may come as a surprise that Late Dreamer is leading Pretoria house producer/DJ, Jullian Gomes’ debut album if you consider the amount of work he has put out thus far. Except for his massive hit, Love Song 28, all of it has been collaborative effort. He first appeared on the G-Family album, Break The Silence, under Soul Candi working with his uncle Michael G, a veteran in the industry, in 2011. The Gift The Curse, released in 2013, is a collaborative album with UK’s top house producer, Atjazz aka Martin Iveson.
Love Song 28:
Late Dreamer puts Gomes’ solo skills on display and it’s already getting rave reviews from his idols. Atjazz is calling it “one of the best house albums out there,” and he’s right. The album is sonically pristine; soulfully deep, graceful and technically cohesive, giving it an overall refined quality. This quality is often lacking in some of our young house producers.
A vinyl-head from Pretoria, (the birth place of the local house movement); with an uncle like Michael G, (one of the pioneers of the early mid-tempo sub-genre) and idols like Atjazz, Osunlade, Jimpster and Charizma, it’s clear to see how Gomes’ influences may have moulded the purist house producer in him. He exemplifies how inclusive, pure and ever-evolving house music is. But it is the soul within and the genius he unleashes that make him exceptional. And Late Dreamer is all him.
“I invested a lot of me in this debut album. It is my personal story and also very typical of what you find in society. With it I’m breaking away from stereotypes that society imposes – like what may be expected of me as a South African Portuguese boy for example. With it I’m living my truth,” he says.
The title, from which numerous sub-texts flow, justifies the reason for the delay. “It took a while for me to get to a place where I could dream and live the life that I want. Conceptually it’s about officially becoming a dreamer, no matter how late. It’s about falling asleep, dreaming, and waking up. It’s about quitting your job to do music. It’s about unpaid royalties; about being young and naïve and about taking a very big leap of faith and seeing it paying off.”
The first track, ‘Dream (feat. Oveous)’ encapsulates all that poetically. It also adds to the sensibility of the album trailer here. The album features several local vocalists, from Kabomo, Bucie, and Zyon to Sio, and this was intentional. “I love working with home grown talent. It’s funny because some people still forget that I’m South African,’ he quips. Of the local house music status quo, he feels the genre has been eclipsed by the resurgent success of hip hop.
“I feel like house music is going back to its underground roots. This is not a bad thing. South Africa continues to be one of the biggest markets for people who love house music. This however is yet to translate into serious monetary gains. And it has to do with people buying the music and where our economy is at currently.”
The constant ascension of DJ Black Coffee, setting a new standard of achievement, surely means there’s room for success. Gomes’ idea of success, however, is personal. “I want to travel more and make great music that can stand the test of time. But my biggest aspiration is to really connect with people. I want to contribute to that as an artist by telling stories that people can relate to, stories that ask questions.” Deep within his reserved demeanour and intense humility is a true artist. With his unfiltered skill, Jullian Gomes has the potential to be one of the greats.
Late Dreamer is available on iTunes.