After living in Kingston, Jamaica from 2013 to 2018, where he produced a reggae EP with Jamaican reggae artists, genre-blending Swiss artist Phenomden discovered a way to further hone his craft. Since returning to Zurich, Phenomden has been working extensively on his new album «Streunendi Hünd», an enlightening album that we shine the spotlight on this week.
Can you tell us a little bit about the origins of your musical project and how you started?
Since I was a teenager, rap and reggae have always fascinated me. I really started as Phenomden in 2003 with the single "Cha nüt defür" on a riddim by the Ganglords, who were the leading Swiss reggae band until then. I released my first album "Fang ah" in 2005 on the label One Ton, followed by "Style-Generator", on which I appear as "Phenom Melody", and Stereo Luchs can be heard for the first time. A tribute to the fresh-cheeky dancehall reggae of the 80s.
I followed that up in 2008 with the album "Gangdalang", which achieved gold status and was in the Swiss charts for 42 weeks. In 2011 I released "Eiland", which I produced together with the Basel band The Scrucialists, who still accompany me on tour today. After that, I spent several years in Kingston, Jamaica, where I expanded my musical horizons beyond reggae.
The result can be heard on the latest album: "Streunendi Hünd". The music magazine LOOP called it a "fantastic sounding soul-rock machine".
What can you tell us about your inspirations and the creative process of your new album "Streunendi Hünd"?
I wrote most of the songs on the album in Kingston, Jamaica within a relatively short period of time.
I had a small studio in the center of the city and I was on the road a lot by myself with the car as I often worked at night. Besides Jamaican and American music, I was very inspired by movies.
What would you tell us about your experience with Spotify and the other streaming and download platforms?
The great thing about it is that you get to the fans very quickly, actually right on release day. You also have global reach right away - more than a third of my streams come from abroad - without having to send out expensive recordings.
At the same time, I think it's a pity that as an artist you can't have more influence on your presence on the platforms, such as which tracks are displayed first when someone visits your artist profile. Also, in terms of revenue, it is difficult to get to the same sales as in the best days of the CD. This makes it more difficult to finance productions - and to make a living from music.
What are your plans and what do you have in store for 2022?
After the release of the album "Streunendi Hünd" I played a tour with 17 dates together with the Scrucialists - that was wonderful to finally perform live again, receive feedback from the fans, and feel a great atmosphere! But now it's time for some rest. Then follows a remix of the track "Streunendi Hünd" with Sterneis and Danase. In the summer then hopefully some nice open-air gigs!
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