Kamixlo‘s latest release tackles feelings of loss and grief head-on. Out soon on PAN, Cicatriz is a deeply personal record, juxtaposing everything from drone and ‘kosmiche-reggaeton’ to collaborations with Swedish cloud rappers against serious (and occasionally, not so serious) themes. This debut LP, whose title translates as ‘Scars’, literally bears the emotional scars of a difficult two-year period endured by the British-Chilean artist.
A constantly intriguing listen, the profound emotional backdrops established go further to convey the headspace Kamixlo found himself in than track titles like ‘Sick’, ‘Poison’ and ‘Destruction’ ever will. But for those seeking further insight, the Bala Club co-founder took the time to guide us through the album.
“A lot of time went into making this record and it’s quite hard to explain track by track but I will do my best to articulate what each track means to me…” – Kamixlo
The Coldest Hello (Live from the Russia Spiral)
This album was recorded over the last 3 years and this was the last track I recorded. When I was making this particular track, I didn’t really want to have a pleasant opener, I was trying to make something sounding like an earache before the more pop songs on the album get going. One of things I love the most about LPs in general are the way they’re structured – so it was important for me to structure this to feel like a journey with ups, downs, uplifting moments and gloomy moments rather than just sounding like a collection of beats or something.
The title comes from my time in Russia last year. I was touring with my best friend Zac. It was one of the best and worst times of my life – I had just lost my grandad to cancer a couple weeks before the tour and I was in Moscow during the funeral. My grandad didn’t want me missing the tour and neither did the rest of my family so with their support I went. It’s such a headfuck playing amazing shows with your best friend but also experiencing the worst lost ever at the same time. I think being with my bestie and seeing all the people come out to the shows was something that helped me cope.
Also, there’s a Locust reference in the title…
I recorded this song during a period of time where I was struggling to find joy in making music. I felt everything was becoming stale and I hadn’t made anything new in ages. This was the first song I was happy with. It was fun doing something as pop as this song – I think it’s probably one of the most pop songs I’ve made. The original title for this song was “I’m sick of you too” a reference to the song ‘Counterfeit’ by Limp Bizkit where Fred Durst just kinda goes in about people with no personality or identity of their own and just basically stealing their whole personalities from others – being in music for a while now, I could totally relate to that. It sucked seeing people thrive while doing watered down versions of what others do. That was my mindset when I wrote this song. It’s just kind of a goofy track.
The Burning Hammer Bop
I was watching a lot of throwback Japanese wrestling from the ’90s when I made this song and I read up on the Burning Hammer finishing move that Kenta Kobashi debuted around that time – I was really into how fucked up it was. There’s a video on YouTube of the first time Kenta Kobashi does the burning hammer and you can hear the commentator let out an amazing scream so I started off just making a beat around the scream and the more I went I just kept adding more and more layers until it became this kinda chaotic dance track. I see this song as my sonic interpretation of the Burning Hammer move.
This is one of the first songs I recorded for the album – it might even be from 2017. The title is an homage to DJ Lethal from Limp Bizkit… The actual song has nothing to do with him, but I thought the noisy scratchy sounds kinda sounded like DJ scratching. That’s the only other Limp Bizkit reference on this album – no more!
I kind of wanted this to be the last club type song on the album. I see ‘Sick’, ‘The Burning Hammer Bop’ and this track as a trilogy of clubby tracks before the album deteriorates into something more gloomy and depressing.
Cicatriz + Cicatriz X
I recorded this song around summer last year. It was a pretty fucked up time in my personal life, not to go too in-depth of what was happening, but it was the beginning of the end for a few important things in my life – friendships and important people in my life were slowly disappearing. It’s like everything decided to turn on me all at once and it really fucked with my mental health.
I find it hard to sit down and make music when I’m going through a lot, but I managed to make this song and I think that’s why it’s an important track to me and that’s why I decided to name the album after it. ‘Cicatriz X’ is the continuation – not to sound too emo but this half of the song just basically mimics the dead feeling I felt inside during the time (if that makes sense).
On a happier note, a version of ‘Cicatriz’ is used by KENTA, one of the biggest pro wrestlers in the world, as an entrance theme in New Japan Pro Wrestling. It’s kind of amazing to me that tons of people have heard a version of this song and the majority have no idea who I am. I get messages every day from wrestling fans asking me to release this song… It’s finally here, I guess. I find it kinda sweet that I wrote this song during such an awful time, but it’s gone on to do such good things for me.
I really had live music in mind when I made this track… I was hoping to hear it in clubs, but I guess that won’t be happening for a very long time. The idea while I was making the song was to make stupidly noisy earache banger. It’s probably one of my favourites on the album. When I got the masters back from the label and I heard this song, I was the happiest.
Demonic Y (feat. Felix Lee)
The original version of this song is probably from 2014, then there was the Felix VIP version and now this final version. This song was recorded around the time we were doing the Endless parties in south London. Those days really shaped who I am as a musician – it’s important for me to have a piece of that on my debut album. I owe a lot of my success to Felix Lee; he was the first one hosting parties that booked me and everyone in Bala. ‘Demonic Y’ was my first collaboration as Kamixlo and I’m pretty proud of it. I tend to find it hard working with other people but Felix is my bestie so I guess it worked.
This is my favourite song on the album by far and I’m so happy it’s finally getting a proper release. When I decided I wanted to make a full-length album I was most excited to do songs like this one. Up to this point in my career I’ve only made EPs up until this point and I find those quite restricting – with an EP it’s so short, I felt I didn’t really get to express everything I wanted to.
I made this song in 2017, my mental health was at another low point here and I felt trapped, this song basically mimics what I was feeling at the time.
One of the original titles for this song was ‘Destruction (in Kami)’ a silly reference to the New Japan Pro wrestling show that happens every year called “Destruction in Sapparo, in Kobe etc.” but also just a reference to how awful things were in my head back then. I’m glad this song is finally getting a release though.
Aphex Twin played this at one of his shows in Berlin a couple years ago and I’ve gotten a lot of messages from people asking for this track since then.
untitled + Azucar (feat. Woesum)
Making this album was an emotional process for me, I experienced a lot throughout the last 3 years and piecing this whole thing together just brought back a lot of memories, a lot bad and some good but regardless of all that I’m happy that I managed to finally make my debut album, this is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid.
The track ‘untitled’ was originally intended to be the closer for this album but I remembered I had this super sweet pop song I collaborated on with one of my best friends Woesum. We recorded this song last year, it was probably the easiest collab track I’ve ever done, working together flowed so seamlessly. Woesum is one of the most talented producers I know – he can literally do anything. The song itself is way more pop and happier than anything else on the album, I see this track as like the closing credits or something.
And that’s the album – as I’ve said a few times, this album is very personal to me because of how life was when I recorded it but I do want the listeners to interpret this album however they choose and I hope this album can become a part of people’s memories.
Cicatriz is out October 30th on PAN | Pre-order here