Written and interviewed - Ally Overbay
Image sources - the internet
Kevin Gabriel Wettstein — the brains behind musical projects Melodiesinfonie, Delakeyz, and Boyoom Connective — has a contagious sort of energy. But you don’t have to meet him to understand this; his passion and positivity are best understood in the context of his jazzy, soul-infused electronic beats. To truly understand Wettstein, you simply have to listen.
“It all started with my dad. He has a great record collection, and used to have a Hi-Fi music shop in our house. So my dad, as an absolute music lover, was listening to music every day — especially jazz. Growing up, I was filled with that kind of music, and I’m sure was shaped by that. When I turned 12, I started my first drum lessons with the goal of becoming the best punk rock drummer (which I think is very funny), and I’m not there yet [laughs]. I also played — rather, had to play — the flute when I was 8. I don’t know why but that’s a classical Swiss thing [...] I took drum lessons till I was 18 years old, and I’m still playing and I love it. As time went on, I started to play the piano and the guitar. Lately, I’ve been playing the piano every day and have fallen in love with that beautiful instrument. Through Vojko Huter (aka Yzno aka Jazzo), I came into producing (with Cubase). He taught me many skills, and as a duo (Jazzo & Melodiesinfonie) we have a crazy creative flow.”
But in addition to the diversity of his instrumentation, Kevin is inspired by a multitude of everyday sources. His eclectic sound is a reflection of his observations, of the rose-colored lenses with which he views day-to-day life.
“I think my main-source of influence and inspiration is my connection to ‘God’ and nature. Daily, I go out for walks, and there I can be free, connect with the creator, connect with nature and enjoy the silence there. I feel a deep inner peace, and out of that I create my music. These days everything is so busy, so fast and so noisy. We need our time whenever possible to get out of that. It’s like I get to step out of my body and see everything from a higher perspective — seeing the big picture. And of course God is only a ‘name’ or a ‘word’ given by humans who cannot really describe that higher reality. For me, it’s something personal, but also a big mystery. The last few weeks I have spent a lot of my free time in a forest by the river. There I’m just sitting, breathing, thinking, praying, meditating, reading, writing, and freeing my mind. I think that I experience greater peace nowhere else — there I am connected with creation.”
Listening to Kevin’s music is as much a visual experience as it is an auditory one: swaths of yellow and gold dash and dive across a silent canvas, rolling around like his soul-swaying drum loops. His palette is diverse, but he is sure of his influences:
“I listen to so many different artists, and I’m inspire daily by the things I’m listening to.
Lately, I’ve been very into the label “Rhythm Section from UK.” They release artists like Henry Wu, Al Dobson Jr., or Chaos in the CBD. Their rhythmic, jazzy and ‘afro-house’ sounds are sex in my ears. As well, producers like Mndsgn or Knxwledge are still on the top of my list. I remember when I bought their first bandcamp tapes in 2009 – it’s amazing how they have evolved but still retain their signature sound. Skinshape (a multi-instrumentalist from UK) is a huge inspiration as well. His combination of breakbeats and Psychedelic-Rock is like eating a fresh orange – mjam. I also listen to a lot of Afro-Beats and High Life music from Ghana or Kenya. There are some great compilations with many lost songs from the late 60’s and 70’s.”
His work with Boyoom Connective is a collaborative effort — both in its structure and its origins. Kevin met fellow producer, YZNO, as a teen, and the two were immediately captivated by their collaborated sound. This sense of collaboration has been the backbone of their work with Boyoom; the two started Boyoom Connective with the intent of providing a platform for up-and-coming musicians in the Swiss music scene.
“Me and YZNO met when we were 16 years old. We both came from a musical background and were very into music. He brought me to his home where he had his studio. He was into rap and also making beats, and I was fascinated by the way he created music because that always has been a big dream for me. Together, we started a collaboration as Jazzoholic & Tschäss — he made the beats and I was the rapper. A few month later (I think that was in 2010), we produced our first “Wonky-Beat,” as we called it back then, called “Tree Times” which we released later on our first EP. That was such a good time. We were just making music for hours, eating yogurt and drinking milk shakes. He brought me into producing music and taught me many things about music! When I look back I’m so thankful and grateful we’ve met. Together we released an album I’m still very proud of, “Astro Funk & Weltfrieden.” As well as the “Wasser EP” on Soulection, which is still one of my favorite releases. We also played a few shows together in Switzerland and profited from those experiences a lot.”
The excitement associated with their dual work has quite successfully translated to Boyoom. The collective has featured numerous Swiss producers and musicians, giving them a supportive community to work and create with.
“First of all, I’m very proud to be part of this wonderful family of talented and passionate musicians/producers. When Maloon and me started Boyoom we never expected it would grow that fast and become a stable platform in the Swiss music scene. Our main goal always has been to support local artists and to give them opportunities and a platform to share their music. I’m proud to say we have released 24 EP’s/albums of quality music — some digital and some of on vinyl. But I never thought it would take so much effort and time … Sometimes it’s really stressful and a lot of bureaucratic stuff, which I don’t really like. A lot of the time I’d rather just make some music do stuff for Boyoom. But things will change in the near future, and we will work with some people who will help us with certain things. We want to grow and reach more people with our music, and show the people that Switzerland has to offer much more than nice cheese or chocolate.”
Looking forward, Kevin is anything but finished with his work. Whether its production or managing a label, he remains consistent with the message behind all that he does: love manifests itself through honest expression, and for him that is music.
“I will just continue my journey as a musician and truth seeker and things will happen step by step. Learning receive love and give love with everything I do — what goes around comes around. I hope to reach more people with my music, and that people may be touched in their hearts. I work on a lot of music daily and I’m excited to share new music soon as Melodiesinfonie and Delakeyz as well.”