Label Story #3: Wahever Records

Premiering a beautiful track, part of a limited vinyl EP released on Wahever Records, we spoke to multi-talented label head Matteo Boyero about past, present, and future for this unique imprint !

Having kept eyes on Wahever records since my 2nd Round-Up, when Matteo Boyero contacted me to introduce a series of fresh releases, I knew we had to dig deeper !

Created in 2015, the label is a pure product of London city, lead by a Franco-Spanish producer, fusing futuristic Electronica with Dub, and blending elements of Jazz, South Asian and West African grooves, among many other things!

But before we go further and let Matteo describe the dynamic behind the label, let's check out our Premiere & other upcoming Wahever surprises:

Matteo Boyero and the People Inside my Computer - Harsimar feat Shreya Rai, Tim Wall and Randeep Bilku

Harsimar is part of an EP titled "les Robots de Mono", out on Friday 2 July.

As often with Wahever records, the EP is a beautiful patchwork of diverse genres featuring a myriad of artists (the People Inside my Computer, as coined by Boyero) that gravitate around Wahever's studio. You'll find bits and pieces of Indian tabla & Burkinabé drums, Nepali chants, electro, trip-hop, soul, afrobeat, house and techno in there !

The EP also features another killer tune cooked with legendary techno producer Darc Marc:

Also part of Wahever's ongoing avalanche of releases is the Lobi Remix series, which we recently premiered:

Kambiré Biliré: Hou! (Matteo Boyero Remix)

Hou! is part of a remix session by Boyero of a splendid EP titled "Sounds from the Lobi Homeland" which came out last month. The EP introduced live recordings from 6 different bands hailing from the Lobi country, an area spanning from South Burkina Faso to Northern Ghana and Ivory Coast.

These were captured in Burkina Faso by Brussels-based sound engineer Peter Soldan on one of his regular motorbike trips through North and West Africa, during the annual Loropeni Djoro Festival. Both the original EP and remix series are incredibly refreshing - you've been tipped !

Finally, coming out in mid-July is Wahever's most off-the-hook release to date: a 1h track, 2 years in the making, co-produced with Joy of Sound, a charity dedicated to participatory music-making approaches, that facilitate the active engagement of disabled and excluded people as co creators of original inclusive participatory community music and arts.

The track, titled "Gurgle in an Elephant's Belly", was composed with over 300 musicians from around the World, often working with custom-made instruments , and recorded both during Joy 0f Sound live sessions and individually from the artists' homes or studios.

Stay tuned for that one !


Who is Matteo Boyero ?

I was born in Paris 1981 and moved to London in 1999, working in restaurants when I arrived and going to lots of parties in the weekend !

I then discovered electronic music more in depth and started to buy my first synths, studied sound engineering and started working as an assistant in a couple of studios. I realized I prefered producing and writing my own music rather than mixing others so I quickly quit !

Just after that I found a cool job at Juno records where I could listen to records while reading all day, I worked there till they replaced me by a machine. I had accumulated lots of records by then, which was inspiring.

I finally started the label in 2015 and have been living with small temporary jobs since then to be able to have time for music.

What made you start your own label ?

We started the label with my cousin Basile Carel and my friend Anonym Zelig who have both helped me with the visual side of things. Producers Darc Marc and Archiver have also been here from the start as well helping with every release.

I’ve always composed music since arriving in London, lots of different styles recorded with different people. After working for 10 years as a sound-filer for Juno and listening to thousands of records every year, I wanted to start my own adventure with my friends, so I decided to quit my 9 to 5 job to have more head space for music.

At the time I was doing music with Delroy Reid who introduced me to Wallace Adalphus (Tufatuff juice). Delroy is a London busker who can rock a night bus for 3 stops slamming his guitar and putting a smile on most with his soulful heart breaking voice. Wallace is the hackney Cassava juice man from Tufatuff who always has a message. The first record featured those 2 friends.

I like frienship stories behind bands and music making...

Our first special editions came from Anonym Zelig who hand printed lots of posters for the label as a great gift to kick things off and feel a bit more special , there were 4 different images with more or less 40 copies of each , it also kind of shaped the music behind each poster release we did.

Amongst the many projects you are involved in, how do you select the tracks you release ?

I accumulate lots of tracks in my computer and create various playlists sized for an eventual record,

Once I think there are 2 sides that I would like to have, I forward to friends and family for feedback, then reshuffle the selection till it feels like a harmonious and meaningful puzzle.

Tracks are usually representative of the people around the Wahever playground at the time and I try to present an eclectic selection for each release, depending on the project. London is very good place in that aspect, the people here are so diverse and there are so many actors on the music scene.

I try to release tracks that I think I would buy myself. It’s always a gamble and pressing records is so expensive so I sometimes limit to digital. I wish every release would be on vinyl but I can’t afford it !

Friend and collaborator Alex Dayo once shared an expression with me: “it’s not looking at 3 stones that you're going to find a diamond “ so I’m trying to do as many stones as possible and I choose the best ones, I find lots of diamond-people in the process !

What's the story behind "Les Robots de Mono"? Can you tell us a it about the musicians behind the "People inside my Computer" collective ?

Les Robots de Mono comes from some robot sculptures my grandmother Mono did when she was young with old broken tv parts from the dumpster, she only did a few and never did sculptures again, they were in a high-shelf at my grandparents. I always loved those robots.

Musicians on this record present an eclectic selection of friends:

On “Oceans may be still” is young Lisa Samuel, who lives 2 houses down my street and whom I met her through her neighbour Auntie Leslie who told me about her beautiful voice coming through her walls. Lisa was around the studio with her mum only one hour and improvised In the most natural and easy first take, she has a great talent.

Alex Dayo, with whom we recorded the percussion loop is the main person behind our Zantogola project, I’m very thankful to him for the great human adventure that we lived recording and mixing Zantogola, and all the great people I met in the process.

"Harsimar" was made with the members of Makindu, another Wahever ad-hoc band, that I met through a Joy of Sound session.

I have made lots of tracks with Tim Wall who is the main composer for Makindu with his girlfriend Randeep Bilku who also composes. Shreya Rai’s voice is spectacular and melts so well with Tim’s Clarinet, we’re planning to record some new Makindu material soon.

The third track "Inside Out" is a collage of sounds taken from a joy of Sound video, to which I added a sax by Nick Onley and a clarinet by Tim Wall and extra bits I’ve recorded myself. Joy Of sound is the most luminous charity I came across in London, I have met so many of the Wahever musicians at their weekly jams.

“Too Hot to Work” was produced with techno dj and long time friend Darc Marc (Stay up Forever), we made a track together in the first Wahever EP, and I wanted to have a track with him for the Robots which will be the last release with poster editions. David Kemp who plays the sax is also a member of Zantogola.

"Adventure Park" samples my neighbor Auntie Leslie as we call her, she is a great poet and rapper and I hope to capture her some day better as for this track we just used a loop. The background piano was recorded on my iPhone, 2 years ago when I was babysitting a friend's kids. We used to go to an adventure park close to my place where they have a piano, you can hear children playing in the background !

The last track "Hyui" I made on my own during the first confinement.

And how about the Lobi Series, how did you get acquainted with Afridada ?

Peter Soldan, co creator of Afridada, mixed the Zantogola album. He played me some Lobi music when we were at his studio in Brussels, and we decided it would be cool to re release them on Wahever as they only had been self released on CD and SD cards, as part of a bigger selection which didn’t get enough attention.

We then met the other main man behind Afridada, Clément Palé who is from Loropeni where the music has been recorded, Clément goes back with Peter every year to do those recordings at the Loropeni Djoro Festival, showcasing the rich and complex lobi music. Clément is also a wicked bass player who used to play in Alex Dayo former band from Burkina Faso “Wountey”, he plays on “Nasa” the first track from the original EP.

Peter Soldan is a brilliant sound engineer with a passion for west African music and motorbikes , he rides every year with his mobile studio from Brussels to Burkina through Senegal , Mali and other countries, sleeping alone in the desert and recording sounds throughout his trips.

Many Wahever releases are philanthropic endeavors, can you tell us more about it ?

The Afridada project is a non profit organization promoting Lobi culture in association with the ACPL (association culturelle du pays Lobi), it is a noble cause, and an honor for us to be helping.

I received so much inspiration from this part of the world that it’s a way to give back a bit and help a good cause.

I don’t like the way African art has been portrayed as primitive in the past by Europeans, it is a very pretentious position that suggest that it Is more simple, less complex and that European music is an evolution or a progress from it, this music has been underestimated in the past and I'm glad to participate in releasing traditional Lobi music that sounds so fresh and inspiring, I’ve learned a lot aligning my drum machines to the Lobi rhythms and still don’t fully understand some of the grooves.

For the Joy of Sound release, I was commissioned to help producing, editing and mixing their 20th anniversary conceptual album.

It is a real mind opening experience to meet the Joy Of sound and William Longden who has been their driving force for 20 years, when you see the people involved it gives you hope about humanity.

Everybody is accepted and given the opportunity to play music together, people from all abilities, everybody can participate and is given responsibility and a role for the sound.

Joy of Sound - Inclusive Instruments from Joy of Sound on Vimeo.

It feels like going to the origins, treat music has a therapy with no separation between performer and public, not a show , just enjoying making sounds together. I love the sound of their sessions because it’s fully charged with emotions and has a particular touch due to the choice of their keys, the bespoke instruments and their jamming system.

What is your studio routine ?

I have a little room in my place where I have accumulated all my instruments and sound toys, I love analog equipment and don’t like LCD screens and complicated programs, I like to work fast in an intuitive way. Watching Engineers like Lee Perry in his studio has inspired me a lot.

I have all my synths in midi , lots of them have their own sequencers and I keep away from the computer as much as I can, I always have 3 or 4 tracks started with the synths and drum machines and maybe percussion, or steel drums, or trumpet or guitar that I record my self and that I can propose to passing musicians . I love drum machines and I'm starting to have a satisfying collection!

I also love my old synths like the SH09, it all goes through my mixing desk and jams with spring reverb, delays and filter. Ableton does the job for me as I mainly just write midi parts and midi is cool on this program.

I like to try playing anything and trying new things, I’ve set up things differently lately to be able to prepare a proper live with machines and musicians.

Finally, tell us about the dope Wahever artworks !

My Cousin Basile Carel has designed most of the releases and the Wahever logo, when I need a design for a record, if he has time he takes his train from Paris to London and we spend 1 or 2 weeks working on the design while listening to records.

Basile also creates lamps that we are considering selling as well through the Wahever Bandcamp as they look super cool and original.

Anonym Zelig does all the posters like I said before - top friend !

Huge thanks to Matteo Boyero for taking some time with the Asymetrics !

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