Switzerland is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of beats. We’ve featured a lot of Swiss music here – a chunk of it from the Mouthwatering Records folks – but most of it landed on the electronic end of the spectrum. I think that the only beat driven music we got from them was the SAD / Slum Vill joint. That was pretty dope. The other day we received some tracks from a fella called Cella (I didn’t intend to rhyme that BTW). And this collection of songs, titled Prologue EP, is straight fire!
The kid is young, but he has a feeling for crafting proper songs out of beats. Usually, this is skill producers develop over time and also not everyone gets there. We’re definitely gonna be keeping an eye on him, because if this is just the jump off, only the beat gods know where this is all gonna go. And if Quartz Records (the label dropping this nugget) is gonna be mining for producers of this caliber, you might want to remember that name too. PSST! And what about a Quartz – Mouthwatering remix exchange? Okay, I might be pushing it now, but don’t ever underestimate the power of the mighty pen / keyboard. The Prologue EP will be dropping on the 24th of November, get ready!
Here is a transcript of a back and forth with the man called Cella, the beat maker, designer and cellar-dwella:
I’m really curious where you got your arranging skills from? A lot of producers on the up can make beats, but to actually flesh them out into properly arranged songs, that usually comes much later – and this is only your second EP, correct?
Yes you’re right, this is my second EP. An important thing is, that production wise, I come from a dubstep and drum and bass background, not from a hip hop background. So, when i started to produce, I already had to give the song a fleshed out arrangement because it had to work without a singer or a rapper. At first that definitely was a big struggle but I got used to it over time.
Is there a beat scene in Switzerland? On occasion, we’ve featured some of the Mouthwatering Records artists here, but apart from SAD, you’re the only other beat maker we’ve encountered so far…
I know some beat makers in Zurich, but i don’t really follow the beat maker scene in the rest of Switzerland. It’s also something that I am not that interested in, because beat makers usually work sample-based and I prefer making all the components myself.
What’s you set up like? And how do you write, what’s the process like?
My setup is pretty boring. I’ve got my Laptop with ableton on it, some midi controllers, good speakers and some instruments: piano, guitars, violin and some percussion. And I recently got myself a MS-20 Mini. its actually my first analog synthesiser. My Process is usually pretty random. I try to keep it as diverse as possible. It usually gives me a more diverse product in the end. I have two types of songs, the ones I work on for 2 months, and the ones that I do in a one night shift. It really depends on the amount of inspiration I have.
How do you translate this when you play live?
I am still figuring out what I want to do live but I will definitely make a live show, not a dj set. Given that my music has a lot of different rhythms, tempos and vibes, I will definitely have to take a more creative approach to my live show. Play parts and modify songs in real time will definitely be a part of it. We will see!
You have a very unique way of using vocals, it’s a bit like sampling, but not. I think this balance that you found between vocal treatment and traditional vocal arrangements, makes for very strong writing – can you imagine yourself producing vocalists?
Yip, and I am already doing that in my newer unreleased projects. Chopping vocals was just something that I had to do when i started out because I couldn’t get any vocalists to sing for me. But I will happily change that on my upcoming songs.
I really like the visual side of this project, this use of flags – that’s all you, right?
Heck yeah! Im really happy that you mentioned that. I studied graphic design; thats why I put a lot of effort in my design concept. The flag as a medium represents pride, self-confidence and unity and thats a message that I also wanted to display with my music. Oh, and yeah, and the concept is, to have a flag for every project.
What about videos, can we expect some anytime soon? These songs will definitely work well with video.
Me and my label are working on some music video ideas right now, but don’t know when those will be coming out. But i think songs like „Onyx“ and „In My Head“ from the EP would definitely work great with visuals.
So, what’s next?
Well, November 24th is the official release of the „Prologue EP“ and I will plan live events for early 2018. After that, till Summer, I will release some singles or maybe even another small EP. But my focus will be on Summer 2018 I want to release a bigger project then – I can’t go into details just yet. But you will definitely hear from me during the next half year.
To wrap things up – who is Cella?
Cella is on a mission to find new sonic fields and perfecting his sound.