Michael Büchel a.k.a Kejeblos is a young DJ and producer from Zurich, who counts Lexx as his contemporaries and Phantom Island as his home. The label and collective draws comparisons with Red Light Radio and Music From Memory to the north and, unsurprising both sides have crossed paths plenty times in the booth and on record (see Androo’s release for Second Circle). We spoke to Michael about his life as a record collector, and he’s also put together an excellent hour plus mix that sums up his approach to digging.
DJs and producers often mention their musical education came through their family’s record collection. Was this the case for you? Can you pick out any pivotal records from your upbringing that informed your musical journey?
Yes, my sisters were important. They are 10 and 8 years older than me and had – when i was old enough to realise – quite an OK taste in music. One important record from that time is Herbert’s ‘Bodily Functions’.
Another important factor was a small bar/club called Stone Club in Feldkirch, Austria. The owner was, and still is, a big fan of everything Detroit and I think visiting this bar/club during my school time had quite an impact on me.
People buy records for a multiple of reasons. What first drew you to collecting records and what motivates you to continue digging after all these years?
My friends and I listened to a lot of Hip Hop growing up and at some point we started to try out DJing at the local youth centre. At that time there was still no Final Scratch available so you had to buy records. A lot of my friends stopped buying records after a while but I somehow stuck with it, and after moving to Zurich 10 years ago it got more and more serious. Going to Zero Zero, record store in Zurich, and meeting Lexx there was definitely very important.
Where do you store your records and how do you file them?
I obviously have shelves but a lot of records end up on the floor as I tend to not put them back after DJing. In the shelves they are mostly ordered by genre and country, but some important artists get their own space.
What are your favourite spots to go digging and why?
Basically everywhere where you can find records, but Zurich and Switzerland in general have been very good to me for the last few years and still are. We have a lot of great stores here like 16Tons and Spooky Sounds. Those two can definitely compete with all the major stores worldwide. People here always had money to travel and brought back interesting records, and also the proximity to France is quite an important factor. There used to be a big warehouse with approximately half a million records which was connected to Zero Zero and was great for everything from the US, especially House Records. I definitely spent a lot of my time there, it is sadly gone though.
Digging isn’t just about the records you find, but the people who help you find them. Who are some of the colourful characters you’ve met on your travels in record stores round the world? Any unsung heroes you’d like to shout out?
Unsung heroes to me are Oli (Reezm) and Michel (J. Sayne) from Hum Records, the store I also work at. They definitely know what they are doing and own record collections you can only dream of.
Is there a record (or records), that has continued to be illusive over the years?
Oh, there are many but lately I became quite relaxed about not finding things. As digging is so popular at the moment and people are paying silly prices, I rather try to find something undiscovered.
Do you prefer record shopping as a solitary process or with friends to nerd out with and search for strange sounds together? If the latter, who do you like to go digging with?
Both are important to me. Going with a good friend is always great as you can recommend stuff to each other, and going alone is great as well as you can really zone in and lose yourself in the records.
Walking into a record shop can be quite a daunting experience. Do you have a digging process that helps you hone in on what you’re after?
Not really. In the most interesting stores the good stuff can be hidden everywhere.
How big a role does album artwork play in your digging?
I think it plays quite an important role. With seeing a lot of records during the years you get a sense for what could be interesting just by looking at the cover. But on the other hand shitty covers can contain great music as well.
Could you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve done for us? Where/how did you record it, what was the idea behind it?
I recorded the mix at home with two turntables and a mixer. I tried to put something together which represents me as a collector and as a DJ in general.
Any standouts in the mix you’d like to mention?
There’s the new Phantom Island release by Wavetest hidden somewhere. Wavetest is a group of guys from Liechtenstein, old friends of mine. The record should be out in February.
Casting the net wider now, who are some of the record collectors you most admire and why?
There are too many. But I want to mention Lexx and the Redlight Records/MFM crew as they all had a lot of impact on me digging wise.
And are there any young collectors emerging who we should keep a close eye on?
Androo from Geneva is a young artist to keep an eye on. He is a great DJ, has a great taste in music and is also a great producer.
What’s the musical energies in Zurich like at the moment? Any people or collectives doing good things you’d like to shout out?
There’s a lot happening. Ish Records just released a great 7“ by Berlin Lama and also Light Of The Other Days, Hommes du Monde/Underground Soul, Lux Rec and Lustpoderosa are doing interesting things at the moment.
How important have Drumpoet Community and Club Zukunft been in shaping your musical outlook and development?
Both have been very important to me as they gave me space early on and were there when I needed guidance. Big up Alex and Ron!
How’s things shaping up for your label Phantom Island Records in 2018?
2018 is looking good so far. As mentioned before there will be the Wavetest record in February and hopefully new records by Lexx, Fuga Ronto and Kay Zee later in the year.
And beyond that, what else are you looking forward to in the coming year?
I’m looking forward to coming to Bristol in January! Besides that discovering great music and hopefully DJing around a bit.
Kejeblos joins Dare To Believe at The Love Inn, Bristol on 19th January.