By Noor Anand Chawla
A year and a half into the pandemic, the world is finally opening up. Toronto-based South Asian hip-hop group GEN64 is celebrating this through its latest English single Dum Dum, released by label Snakes x Ladders on September 3. “Dum Dum is a song for a post-pandemic world. It is our second single with the Surrey-based label Snakes x Ladders and we feel it is a vibe all its own. We made this song at the beginning of the summer when we knew things were going to start opening up again in Toronto and around the world. That excitement and energy was already looming so it spilled into this song. The song is about summer love, kicking back and having fun,” share the band members of GEN64 excitedly.
Though the world is a long way from being back to ‘normal’, Dum Dum – through its fun afrobeat sound – seeks to highlight the importance of simple, normal moments even in these unprecedented times. The group shares, “Mani made the Afro-style beat at home and when we listened to it in the studio we already knew it was going to be a summer bop…. when we came up with the Dum Dum hook, we just loved it. Lush added his verse the next day and it was a wrap.”
GEN64, an alternative hip-hop group, has Lush Lightyear and Mani on vocals, with production done by DEYS. By producing, writing, mixing, and mastering their own music, the trio is able to experiment across genres while maintaining their signature sound. The ‘64’ in their name is an ode to Nintendo 64, which is one of the many nostalgic elements and retro aesthetics the band incorporates into its work. The trio met in high school and began collaborating under the moniker ‘Childhood’, and quickly became popular locally for their fresh content. Still together a decade later, the group has evolved both creatively and sonically, and have made a name for themselves among South Asian artists across the globe. GEN64 blends sounds from hip-hop, R&B, alternative, electronic, Afrobeat and more genres. Some of their inspirations include artists like Childish Gambino, Young Thug, 070 Shake, Majid Jordan, BROCKHAMPTON, and Tyler The Creator.
When speaking about Dum Dum, Mani shares, “We wanted to make a track that people can vibe to while they travel, party, and just do normal things again. We like to try stuff in different genres and styles but Dum Dum is the first island-type track we’ve dropped. This song is more about the vibe and energy we wanted to portray than the lyrical content. It’s something we think everyone can enjoy regardless of what music they listen to.” When asked if they attempted to incorporate a nostalgic vibe in their latest song, like they usually do with their song, Lush says, “I don’t think we were going for the direct nostalgic vibe on this one, but honestly it’s been so long since this pandemic began that the video will probably give you ‘nostalgia’ of times when we were free to do whatever we wanted!”
The picturesque video reflects the laidback and fun nature of the song. DEYS says, “Shooting this video was ridiculously fun, as it always is with our guy Yassine (@yassinevisuals) who has shot most of our videos. Similar to our last one for ‘Comme Des Garçons’, we’re basically just hanging out and shooting a music video at the same time, and you can sense that. We got an amazing location and planned out some elements of it, but most of it was us
With the entire music fraternity focussing on singles at the moment, GEN64 is doing the same. They are currently working on a big project with Toronto-based production team The .97 Collective, and have recently worked with many noteworthy artists whose work they admire such as Roy Woods, 88GLAM, Ramriddlz, and Anders. There is a lot more music coming from them the rest of the year and in 2022. They sign off with, “We’re really looking forward to creating something lasting and making an imprint on our sound. Just know you’ll be seeing a lot more of us and we can’t wait for theworld to see what we’ve been up to!”
Dum Dum by GEN64 is available for streaming across all major platforms.