The Vibe - a musical family
Det kan vara soliga augusti eller regniga november. Du kan komma dit mitt på dagen eller sent på natten. Allt blir genast irrelevant i källaren på Stor Studio där det finns ett rum med samma stämning året runt. Rummet är The Vibe och The Vibe är rummet.
Belysningen är dunkel och varm, tunga mattor täcker varenda centimeter av golvytan. Ur högtalarna puttrar tysta lo-fi-beats och jag slår mig ner i en gigantisk saccosäck runt det lilla bordet i studions ena hörn. Kaffe? Ja tack.
Jag har hamnat i sällskap av Alexis, Joakim och Johnny – en trio, ett rum, ett sammanhang. De lärde känna varandra för fem år sedan, sammanförda av ödet eller rena tillfälligheter. Deras gemensamma nämnare är beats, melodier och rytm. De skapar mestadels musik individuellt men de finner inspirationen i varandras närvaro.
För att det inte skall bli så mycket fram och tillbaka i språket går jag här över till Engelska då Johnny är född och uppvuxen i Kapstaden och vårt samtal hölls på hans modersmål.
So Johnny, I’ve learned that you’re a beatboxer and that you make beats. How does one become a beatboxer? Were you born with music all around, or how did that journey start for you?
Yeah, music has been around me since I was young. My mom is a religious Queen, so church music was always bumping through the house, some country and a lot of R&B… oh and Enya… And Tracy Chapman… many hours of Tracy. I started out with guitar in high school. A close friend was attending guitar lessons, but I couldn’t afford a guitar. So he would invite me to his house and he would teach me what he had learned.
The beatboxing was the thing that really got me going. I received a tape of ’The Fat Boys’ and Rahzel which I used to mimic during the breaks at school. After a while I was asked to perform on the school stage and that’s pretty much when I got hooked to performing live. Later my friend who was teaching me guitar got REASON and DJ equipment after we had been using MIXMAN and EJAY for a while, and we started teaching ourselves on the weekends. We then created a group called E.T.C Crew and toured nationally until 2006 were our group won a performance competition and got invited to do big gigs in Copenhagen and Rome. That’s pretty much the super summarized version of my Journey.
Do you still play guitar and anything like that or is it mainly beatboxing?
Yeah, I mainly produce music and beatbox right now. I would love to sing actually. I have the most beautiful singing voice, but there’s a bunch of haters around me hahah!. (The group starts laughing) No. I guess the gods knew not to give me a singing voice – I would sing all day every day.
Joakim how about you? You also make beats? I’ve had the pleasure of hearing you shred some guitar down here the other day. Where did that come from? Were you also born into a music home?
In a sense yes. My dad was always playing CDs while he was cooking. Mainly old rock. He also talked to us about music like: ” oh listen to this solo!” Or ” now listen to this part!” and so on. But my mother on the other hand didn’t share the same interest. I think this made me realize pretty early that music was something one could be into or not. So yeah, I started listening to his CDs and developed my own taste. Meanwhile, both my brothers and my sister were playing guitar, so that made me want to do that too. It was also my sister who showed me how to produce in E-jay at a very young age. And I can remember watching her and my older brother writing songs together which seemed really cool.
And when did you drift from rock to rap and beats?
In my school there were two guys working as kind of interns (Marcus Price and Mingus ” Mingan” Price, two thirds of the Swedish rap trio ’Fattaru’) and all of a sudden they happened to win the Swedish championship of rap. That was really huge for me and for everyone at the school basically. These guys also worked at my fritidsgård so that kind of turned me away from rock and more towards rap. It was also about this time that my brother introduced me to 2Pac and Biggie and I thought it was just the coolest thing ever.
Alexis, you’re up. You started running your own nightclub already back in 2001. Apart from DJing you also make beats, you produce and also mentor kids in songwriting. How did this happen for you?
It, too, starts in childhood. My entire family is actually in one way or another in the music or entertainment scene. My dad is from Chile. He’s a singer, guitarist and a percussionist, and he had a bunch of orchestras over the years. He still has a samba orchestra together with his brother (that has been going on for 35 years) in which my mother and aunt are also dancing. And when I was young my whole family was involved with a huge culture house here in Malmö. They had studios and did dance classes, so I would just drift around between the dance studios where my mother and aunt taught Samba and go by the studios where a lot of cool musicians were coming in and out every week. It was amazing.
Is it fair to say that your fathers is your biggest inspiration?
Well yes. I grew up always seeing my dad on stage. I have a very fond memory from the Malmö festival when I was a kid. Seeing him there with his big hat looking like a superstar. And my dad loved to show his boy off… He used to say like: Come here son were gonna play at a party! And from a young age I would play the bongo, my dad would sing and play the guitar and my uncle would play the piano or keyboard. So this was my path kind of early on.
After having dipped our toes into everyone's musical background It was time for a short cigarette break. We went up the stairs and enjoyed a little spring sunlight. A ritual more than a routine for the people who spend most part of their days underground. Coming back down, and it was time we dove deeper into the constellation of The Vibe.
In summary, I think it’s quite fair to say that you all grew up with music all around. In that sense it’s not super hard to see why you found each other. So let's continue on the theme of this new family. You call this place ’The Vibe’, and it feels almost wrong to ask why as I’ve been feeling it for quite some time now. But would you like to say something about where this name came from anyway?
Alexis: Well the most people who haven’t been here might ask: Why The Vibe? And it might even sound pretentious to some… But as you kind of pointed out, the reaction from people coming here is usually that they look around and say something like: I like the vibe… And we liked that. That was the point of this place.
So, you've known each other for almost five years, but you recently made this decision to actually build your own place. Why now? Why here?
Alexis: We’ve been hanging out at my place a lot. Jamming in my living room and making beats. And I felt that there’s so many good things coming out of that– not only the music coming out of the speakers – but also ideas bumping between us. And so about one year ago we started talking about how nice it would be to have a place where we can do this every day.
Joakim: Yes, and we had just started to have serious discussions about it and started looking around for options when we found this place. And we kind of had to make a decision fast.
Alexis: Haha, exactly. And you know building a place was not really even on the map! But we needed to sign the contract immediately if we wanted to secure our spot, so we went from: let’s get a place and start cooking up music! To: we have a year, and we need to build... shit!
…and did anyone of you know how to build before this?
Alexis and Joakim: No.
Johnny: I used to think I could…
Alexis: And that was good. Because we had to start working together as a group on something completely different from what we used to do so that was a kind of team building at the same time.
Well from the look of this place you made a pretty good job… It feels like stepping right into someone's home. What’s the best thing with this place now when you finally have it?
Johnny: For me, it’s the inspiration. You hear something and you get inspired. I can come here in the morning feeling like a Zombie and then somebody shows me something that they've made the night before, and I’m inspired straight away.
Joakim: Yes I agree. I mean everyone gets inspiration from somewhere or someone, but to get inspired every day is a luxury.
Alexis: For me one of the most important things that we wanted was to build a creative space. A place where we can have everything set up so that people can just come in and create with us or just sit down and listen to some music. And that’s what we got now. It’s so simple to create and to collaborate down here.
And how does your living room look now Alexis after you’ve all of your things here?
Check out music from The Vibe Studios right here or on any other major streaming platform:
Johnny Filter Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRBba5uYtm8Uq0f3_BimbDA
Alexis: TBA later this year.