Internationally tuned Hip-Hop anti-label, Boyoom Connective, just released the bright and free flowing compilation Endless Journey. It provides you with a mix of R&B, jazz, hip-hop and maybe a little mellow two-step, perfect for the summer sun.
I hit up co-founder/producer Maloon The Boom and design executive/producer Dylan.negativ to see how they’re getting on and what Boyoom is all about.
“When I first mentioned to everybody, ‘we’re doing a compilation album’, they asked, ‘what’s the vibe?’ and I just said, ‘Do You’” crackles Dylan over Whatsapp group call.
Overlooking quarantined runners swarming the park next to his Zurich apartment, he explains the purpose of this album. “We were all making fairly similar music, that jazzy vibe y’know, and now we’re all experimenting. So I just wanted to capture this moment right now, as our sounds begin to venture off.”
Far from a static moment in time, the record is a loose, breezy, large white t-shirt. The candid answer phone message of love from BLAKKA to the R&B of Beat Sampras on Whatever You Want all fits with the wholesome feel of a group of musicians who’ve put love and freedom before anything else.
Maloon started the label with Melodiesinfonie around 2012. “The original thought was that we wanted to be an anti-label, everything a modern-day label is not. A platform for artists to be themselves. A collective that connected.” As masters of keeping it simple, they just took the boom from Maloon and slid in Melodies’ nickname from that time, (the ‘yo’) to make a name that “just sounded cool”.
Later that year, Namibian supergroup Black Vulcanite contacted Maloon through a friend. Not long after, Maloon produced multiple tracks on their debut album Remember The Future resulting in a visit down to South Africa.
“When I went to Cape Town (CPT) the first time, it blew my mind that I’m somewhere in Langa at a house party, where they’re playing Apollo Brown beats and everybody’s vibing to it? Holy shit this is my jam” says an exuberant Maloon.
Contrasted to the club scene of Zurich, where it was difficult to feel part of the 4/4 nightlife, Cape Town offered fresh perspective and heaps of love. “I owe many things to CPT, it’s a second home” adds Maloon, who then started bringing good friends Dylan and Miles Singleton.
Spoken slowly, Dylan reckons part of CPT’s strong impact is that “you’re exposed to different ways of living than you’re used to. People are so into what they’re doing, they live it 100%, you can feel that energy.”
The dynamics of South Africa’s music scene, in which Johannesburg seems to hold the keys, also taught Boyoom a few things about culture as whole. “In Cape Town there was nobody making big money but the scene there was thriving with creativity, precisely because there was no big business disturbing it.” It is vital to mention however, that old school heads like Prophets of the City paved the way for the likes of Youngsta CPT. Check out this old school bop here.
Maloon started working with Youngsta CPT “and he was rapping with an American accent”, remembers Dylan. “The way we work is about not hiding anything. As a producer you have the ability to shape how the world hears somebody. To now live in a time where he has the confidence in where he’s from is what it’s about. It pays to keep it real.” After writing this I checkout out Youngsta CPT’s 1hr 40 minute’s LP, 3T. I’ve never learnt so much about South Africa as I have from the skits with his grandfather. Shit’s real.
Also from the Cape is upcoming producer sptmbr yngstr with the appropriately titled beat, breeze. He’s been highlighted by Red Bull South Africa as one to watch this year for his collaboration with Omar Duro, a samba inspired house record. The likes of which took Soulection radio around the world, including many-a visit to CPT.
Once they returned from The Cape of Good Hope, Boyoom began to gain local respect thanks to the work with Youngsta; “people in the neighbourhood offering protection, that kind of thing”. But they needed a base, a music-making cave to bring them out the bedroom.
“Rents in Zurich are quite high, so it’s not easy to find a spot. But through the Raumborse (Zurich Arts Council) our guys GDS.fm (shoutout those guys) acquired a spot. Eventually they found somewhere better, so they just gave it to us”.
We called it the Traphouse because we wanted a spot you could stay hooked on the music for days…and back in the 90s it was a meeting spot for Heroin addicts. So we wanted to make a positive out of that.” This sense of place came to provide inspiration for the brothers that form Okvsho, who released Traphouse Jazz in 2018. They contributed a salsa-style rhythm on the compilation called, Umdanso.
“Our focus in the last few years has been working with people to spread our sound. The amount of music out is beautiful, but is also crazy. The way people are listening is changing as well. We’ve had lots of talks about what music should we be making, should we jump into the oversaturated stream?”
“The biggest challenge has been trusting in what we do, and not getting distracted. It’s really difficult now for artists to do their own thing because once you record yourself making a beat and that video gets 10K views of whatever, now you’re tempted into doing the same thing. There’s a real danger for young artists not being able to develop themselves.”
Having to slow the release of a project is a common part of their job. “The only thing you have to say in that moment when an artist wants to release their music is …D’Angelo.” Thirteen years after the release of Voodoo (2000), “R&B’s Jesus” returned with the Grammy-winning Black Messiah (2015).
Dedicated to the development of their artists, they’re excited about Miles Singleton’s new album and another Okvsho album potentially dropping later this year. Also extremely exciting is the work they’ve done for Cape Town’s very own Hunter Rose, who’s been selling out shows in Europe and earlier this year revealed her work with So Solid Top Boy, Ashley Walters. But nothing is been rushed.
“Music opens doors and if you’re honest you can sit comfortably anywhere in the world” states Dylan, who found comfortability with Londoner, Lex Amor. The two held an affinity for their distinct style of melancholy raps, exemplifying this on track 14. Their acquaintance is also serendipitous.
Dylan tells me he “was in Senegal working on projects. And I started talking to her on Soundcloud (big up Soundcloud) and we messaged then via Whatsapp and her profile picture was of a guy who was living 2 minutes from me in Dakar. I was like ‘I know that guy’. She flew back home to London just three days before.” They never managed to meet in Dakar despite being there at the same time, but Impressions was the first thing they recorded in Raw material studios near Brixton. Small world.
Very little has changed for the team this pandemic, albeit concern for their family across the globe. As his young toddler makes loads of noise in the background, Maloon ironically notes, “the lockdown gave me room to breathe y’know. Just to remember what I want to do. Go to the studio and vibe”. He references a meme which shows a producer before and after the virus where nothing has changed. He then agrees with Dylan who avows “you need to be introspective in order to create something of meaning and substance, this time definitely provided that for me”.
It has been said that with ever-increasing connectivity, the world grows smaller with each day. A passing message on Soundcloud suddenly turns into an artistic collaboration, that takes you to Cape Town, to a house party, where someone plays a record that takes you right back home. An infinite loop. An endless journey.
This is the space where Boyoom exists. Different worlds unfurling from these human and digital connections that supersede the physical realm. Now please support the record on bandcamp !