Life & Culture

Kamixlo, the Brixton-Based Producer Making Big Noise with a Baseball Bat

As he gears up to release his new EP, we meet producer and Bala Club co-founder, who’s creating a sound ‘as abrasive as a clothesline, or a knee to the face’

  • TextBen Perdue

New Japan Pro Wrestling seems like a strange influence for dance music until Brixton-based DJ and producer Kamixlo explains how its brawls inspired his hard-hitting sound. “I want it to feel as abrasive as a clothesline, or a knee to the face,” he says. “I want my songs to sound like actual wrestling moves. Like impact and pain.”

Born and raised in South London, Kami never stepped foot in a club until he started making music, preferring to stay in and discover tracks online with his brother, Uli K, instead. The pair were already collaborating on bedroom recording projects, playing keys and guitar – they were taught by their Chilean grandad – but all that changed five years ago when Uli K downloaded music software Reason 4.0. “I asked my brother to install it and started fucking with samples. I didn’t know shit about club music or club culture because we didn’t really connect with many people outside of our world, but it went on from there until I started getting bookings.” Their unique creative connection underpins Kamixlo’s success: big brother Uli K introducing wonderkid Kami to what’s happening next.

Together with fellow producer and NTS host, Endgame, they founded Bala Club: a Soundcloud page that grew into a night, then a label, and now functions like an open universe where members can release whatever they want. It’s an anti-scene where industry and club genres are irrelevant. “We didn’t want to play at other people’s parties, so it was a good move to start our own thing. No one really owns it, and anyone can play.” Heavily inspired by the Bullet Club – a wrestling team that Kami’s hero, Finn Bálor, belongs to – Bala Club even pinched their iconic skull and crossed Kalashnikovs logo. “But Finn read an interview with me and tweeted his support,” he says. “I watch this guy wrestle every week so that was special. I never thought our worlds would overlap. It was my big fanboy moment.”

Kamixlo’s breakout track was Latin-infused club banger Paleta, his weaponised reggaeton piledriver famously written on the way to a friend’s party. “All of a sudden people cared about what I do. From getting some attention online it ended up on vinyl and iTunes. Musicians started hitting me up because of that song, and I made it in all of 20 minutes.” Aphex Twin, the man Kami credits with getting him into electronic music in the first place, played it at Primavera last year, followed by another bodyslam-inspired track, Splxcity. “That was just the proudest thing. And I’ve never even spoken to him.” Labelling his work as club music is reductive; what Kamixlo creates has Latin influences, but could never fit just one genre, like reggaeton. It’s hard edge doesn’t make it simply industrial noise. He doesn’t do formula music. The quiet 24-year-old feels claustrophobic just thinking about it.

His next challenge is taking the distorted global sound he’s developed playing alongside underground London talent – including conceptual grime producer Visionist whose label Codes released Paleta, and cult trance star Evian Christ – on the road as a live act. “My third EP is coming out, and I want to record an album, but I’m trying to step away from dance tracks to do something that feels more honest to what I’m about,” he says. “So I’m DJing less and doing more shows. I’ve only done three, but I already prefer playing live.” Building on the success of previous club tours across Europe and Asia, Kami is working on a new band setup – by which he means himself with a guitar, massed ranks of effects pedals and the mic-ed up metal baseball bat he first debuted as a brutal form of percussion on stage in Amsterdam.  

Finding subtlety amongst the chaos is where Kamixlo excels; occupying a space between musical genres and cultures that gives him the freedom to deliver twisted beauty with a machine gun tempo. “I love the harsher sounds, so I don’t like it when people refer to what I do as merely noise music, or say that abrasive shit can’t be sophisticated, because even a drone noise going on for ages, if it’s done in a certain way, can be beautiful,” he says. “Although to be fair, if I was talented enough to play a real melody I’d be doing that too. But it’s easier to just make noise.”

Kamixlo’s new EP KING KAMI is out now