While Alma Negra and Mehmet Aslan specialise in very different musical strands from around the world, what ties them together is their home in Switzerland. Regular cameos in the Champion’s League for Basel is probably what gets the city most outside attention, but head beyond that red and purple kit and deep into its underground music culture, you’ll find a vibrant community, just as diverse as the output of Mehmet and Alma Negra, who are really starting to put the city on the map. In our first collaborative City Guide, they team up for a virtual guide of Basel, including a mix of past, present and future music.
Check out the map and interview below for their favourite spots, while you listen to a 100% Basel mix.
Favourite place to buy records?
Mario: If you are looking for a wide range of music from Noise, Freejazz to contemporary electronic house and techno music to reggae to funk or indie „Plattfon” is your place.
Dersu: Check out also Elch Records if you are more into Funk or Rock.
Favourite live music venue?
Dersu: Kaserne is a place where you can listen to contemporary soul, funk bands or alternative rock and sometimes good partys as well. Worth to mention also the “Open Air Basel Festival” they do outside in front of the venue in a park in august. We recommend also for Jazz fans the Birds Eye Jazz Club. Also for Jazz lovers we highly recommend the Off Beat Festival.
Mario: Kaschemme is a great place for Partys but honestly the few live concerts they made were all just really magnificant. Definetly a must for the dub, reaggea, funk, soul, Hip Hop fraction. Favorite party there is Akiwawa, best Funk/Afrobeat party in town.
Best soundsystem / favourite club?
Mario: Mehmet and I basically grew up at the Hinterhof Club which has become to one of the most complete venues in Switzerland. In summer there is a rooftop also with partys and during the year they have regularly high profile Djs such as Jeff Mills, Giegling, Ben Ufo or James Holden.
Best party in the city?
Mehmet: I had my best parties at the Landestelle in the last few times when I was in Basel during summer. Located in the very east of Basel, the area became livelier in the last years and this place is for sure one of the coolest spots in Basel rightnow.
Mario: If you are looking for a more intimate barclub with eclectic music and a good ambience in the very centre of the city pass by Renée.
Best view of the city?
Dersu: You can enjoy a fine view from the “Pfalz” nearby the Münster Cathedral. From there you can take the Stairs down to those small boats that let you cross the river. Mehmet: I still like the Mittlere Brücke (bridge) as the center of the old part of the city has one of the best views, where you can see both coasts of the city along the river.
Is there somewhere you like going to escape the hustle and bustle and take some time away for yourself?
Mehmet: Birsköpfli is always a nice place in the summer to escape the city hustle very fast. Also all places along the river are nice mostly.
Mario: I prefer the small river Wiese for nice Pic-Nics in Summer. There is also a charming Park with animals called Lange Erlen.
Best place to experience something unique to Basel?
Mario: The city goes really crazy during the carnival (Basler Fasnacht) which lasts three days. There is really a lot to discover during the three days, it’s really a cultural thing. Dersu: But if you don’t care about the carneval there are also tons of off-partys for the regular raver. Mehmet: Also worth to mention the autumn fair!
First thing you miss after leaving Basel?
Mario: I always miss my bicycle and the size of the city is just perfect you never drive more than 10/15 mins from one place to another. Mehmet: The initimacy of a small city is what I missed and also valued after I left Basel. And ofcourse I missed my friends here.
Dersu: The living in summer by the river side is just pure quality. You can swim or meet someone for a coffee at the small cafes at the border. That’s something I always miss when I’m not in Basel.
Best place to see another medium of art other than music?
Mario: Basel is a museum city, with about 40 museums you’ll find contemporary art but also the classic ones especially at the Beyeler Fondation.
Is there a person (dead or alive) who encapsulates Basel for you?
Where will you find the friendliest, most interesting locals to have a chat with?
All: Definetly at the riverside or the harbour (where we mentioned earlier Landestelle)
What’s the best and worst thing about living in Basel?
Mehmet: The best thing is the intimacy which a small city offers, and at the same time of course such a small city can be limiting in terms of cultural possibilites. I think people are much more reserved in basel, or in switzerland general, not ready enough sometimes to risk things.
Who’s doing good things for Basel music right now, who you’d like to shout out?
Mario: Danielle Bürgin does a hell of a job now at Radio X. She’s not only the good voice from Basel but also a well respected DJ, promoter and friend of us. Also I’d like to shout out loud to Michi Zaugg who runs together with Muriel the Plattfon Records Shop. But he does also a lot of very small events with lots of interesting music, lectures and exhibitions called Klappfon. Timnah Sommerfeld does a very nice indiependent radio show called home. with lots of great well known djs but also only the best locals. And last but not least our weekly radio show I do with a wonderful team at Radio X called NightXperience.
What are some of your favourite up-and-coming DJs/producers/musicians bubbling up in Basel right now?
Mario: Check Amenthia Records the label of the guys behind a party serie called Traxx Up (Hinterhof). They have released two records of Agonis which is one of the promising newcomers of Basel. Gomorra and Ben Kaczor are also two very promising Djs and Producers in Basel who have already released some records.
Could you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us? Where and how did you record it, what was the idea behind it and are there?
Dersu: We went to Marios place to record the older records which we put in the beginning of the mix. So the first 3 tracks are old records from the eighties from Basel. Some of those old records are from a friend of us called Tai Share, he’s a great collector and if you are loking for good swiss music check him out.
Mario: We asked a few friends to send us music, La Main Crew, Shaka or Agonis are the cirlce of people we know now for some time and we really appreciate and respect a lot. I think those artists we selected for the mix are very talented and promising but , there are a lot more people in Basel that would have been also important to mentuîon. But for the mix we also wanted to keep a certain vibe.
Almost all people in this mix are friends and people we really admire such as DJs and as producers.
And finally, what’s on the horizon for you in terms of live dates or releases we should look out for?
Mehmet: Mario and I have our second Fleeting Wax release which has been released this august. Alma Negra is going to play on a festival in Zürich which we are very looking forward to and we are also going to play in Lyon in Octobre.