Inside Kuboraum’s Sound Residency

Livio Graziotti and Sergio Eusebi © Menhir Studios

For its second release, following SALÒ’s debut album, Kuboraum presents a unique compilation of tracks from friends and family, each inspired by the brand’s philosophical and aesthetic principles. Known for their unconventional eyewear, which they refer to as “masks,” Kuboraum’s Berlin flagship store serves as a studio, showroom, and gallery, fostering a strong relationship between the artists and the community.

This new compilation invites artists to engage with Kuboraum’s vision and each other, creating a diverse and imaginative musical landscape without genre restrictions. Each track embodies experimentation, as heard in Ziúr’s “Vacuum” with its sticky percussion and piercing bass, and Quelza’s “Boiling Ice in Frozen Cup,” a journey through shifting realities. The compilation concludes with Regis’ eroticized banger “Let Love Decide” and Lucy Railton’s baroque “Medieval Sui.”

Kuboraum’s compilation is a coherent representation of the brand’s musical interests, reflecting the eclectic and experimental spirit of Berlin and beyond. We spoke to Kuboraum’s founders, Sergio Eusebi and Livio Graziotti, about the brand’s vision and their latest musical project.

KALTBLUT: Kuboraum has always been about blending aesthetics with a strong philosophical approach. Can you describe the initial inspiration behind the Kuboraum Sound Residency and how it aligns with your vision for the brand?

The Sound Residency and the entire Kuboraum Editions editorial project represent the closing of a circle and, in a sense, elevate our narrative and curatorial project to another level, not only through curated events or collaborations but also through physical formats like records or books.

Twelve years ago, we were pioneers in rejecting common marketing practices aimed solely at immediate sales. Instead, with great passion and in the most natural and organic way, we embarked upon a path of curatorship through collaborations and events bridging between arts and music, using Kuboraum as a platform to create culture and cultivate a real community around shared values, ideas, and aesthetics.

Probably, we have even been the first brand to have a SoundCloud page sharing a regular mix series. Our space on Köpenickerstrasse 96 for years has been a meeting point for exchange during epic events on Berlin Gallery Weekend, or the classic event OFF ATONAL that used to take place every year during Atonal Festival in Kraftwerk, just a few steps away from our space. 

Every event had a precise program, and each time it was curated differently. During our first event, we invited Karl O’ Connor, aka Regis, and Oake for the launch of Kuboraum’s first limited edition compilation, ‘The Immortal Eye’. Almost 6 years later, we celebrated Downwards’ 25 years with cake and candles for Karl.

Lucy from the legendary Stroboscopic Artefacts once made a gong bath with all the guests, artists and workers sitting on the floor meditating. I remember also one of the first hyper-pop projects we presented with Flora, Anna Melina, and Varg, or Emiliano Maggi’s Spettro Sound System, with instruments and microphones positioned inside Emiliano’s ceramic sculptures shaped as urns or shells. Who can forget Rhys Chatam’s journey with trumpet, flute and electric guitar? or with Dasha Rush’s downtempo set with four cdj’s and two turntables inspired by black holes. 

During CTM just the year before Covid, we had a crazy jam session with the Nyege Nyege crew, in which all the artists performed at our space and people were dancing everywhere to the obsessive and hypnotic rhythms of Dj Djaki. 

In 2019, we celebrated Shapednoise’s ‘Aesthesis’ vinyl launch with Vtss, Bill Kouligas, Gabber Eleganza, and of course Nino, aka Shapednoise. That time, the police came at least four times; it was so packed that it would take 20 minutes to go from one side to the other of our 300-square-meters space. It was here that we realised we had to start looking for bigger locations to host our events, and that’s when, right after Covid, we hosted an open-air at Funkhaus Harbour celebrating the launch of Terraforma Jounal #1 with Dj Stingray, Dj Red, and Marco Shuttle. This was an unforgettable party because it marked the exact moment of the return of the Berlin community to dance!

Our deep and long-term collaboration based on shared values with Ruggero, Nicola, and Terraforma also manifested as physical spaces during Terraforma Festival, like the Light Stage with DJ Red closing the 2022 edition and, the following year, the red tent coming from Bertolucci’s movie ‘900’ hosting Salo’s Ubiquitous Baronato.

For our 10th anniversary in 2022 we curated the ‘10 Years of Travelling’ event series between Berlin, Venice and Milan. In Milan, we hosted Agnes Questionmark’s performance ‘Sirenomelia’ at Casa Flash Art; while in Berlin we took over Tresor/Globus to give a festival experience in only one night through installations, live acts, and performances by Stefanie Egedy, Domenico Romeo, Loraine James, Mykki Blanco and Samuel Acevedo as ‘Expat’, Emiliano Maggi and Cosimo Damiano’s electroacoustic project ‘Canzonieri’, Karl O’Connor, Liam Andrews and Boris Wilsdorf as ‘Eros’, and DJ sets by Slim Soledad, DJ Red, Regis and Cosimo Damiano; in Venice, we presented the first edition of the 2-days festival ‘We Travel To Know Our Own Geography’ during the opening of the 2022 Art Biennale with lives by Still & Ecko Bazz, Expat, Lafawndah & Forrester, Saló and DJ sets by Bambounou and Cosimo Damiano.

This April, we came back to Venice for the opening weekend of the 60th Art Biennale to present the second edition of We Travel To Know Our Own Geography, this time with a focus on the newly launched Kuboraum Editions. The program showcased a handful of genre-blurring live shows, performances, and DJ sets: a high-scale sonic activation ‘sungazing’ by Studio Labour, a ritualistic dance performance ‘(bb)’ by Nkisi & Tiran Willemse, an experimental trap live show by Emma DJ and Rainy Miller, lives by Canzonieri and world-renowned drummer Valentina Magaletti, a solo live performance ‘Flesh of Sound: a Meditation’ by Lara Dâmaso, a live by Kenyan singer, songwriter and producer Lord Spikeheart, concluding with DJ sets by alys(alys)alys and STILL b2b Low Jack.

The Sound Residency itself was born almost as a game, as serious things often start playfully, which helps us push beyond our boundaries. However, while playing, we realised what we were doing, and in the meantime, we launched Kuboraum Editions with a very precise vision and identity, and above all, a very serious desire to become a platform that not only gives visibility to all those projects between art and music that defy categorization but also to support them. Emiliano Maggi and the desire to support all his projects was certainly a great incentive for this choice, and Ludovica from Modern Matters, with whom we share a friendship of over twenty years, as well as mutual support long before our relationship became both work and friendship, was decisive.

KALTBLUT: You’ve brought together an incredible array of artists for this project, from Space Afrika to µ-Ziq and MC Yallah x Debmaster. What was the process of selecting artists for the Kuboraum Sound Residency compilation?

The Sound Residency represents the idea of contemporaneity in a certain infinite moment according to our multiple points of view. It’s a space for experimentation and coexistence between genres, rejecting genre itself as a political choice; contamination reigns supreme. Music is also aesthetics, politics, and culture; we don’t love entertainment because, in general, we are very engaged people, but we love balance because there is always the right music for the right moment or the right moment for a certain type of music. The Sound Residency serves to demonstrate this aesthetic, cultural, and sonic balance according to our multiple points of view.

KALTBLUT: Could you walk us through the process of collaborating with such diverse artists? How do you ensure that each track resonates with Kuboraum’s identity while still maintaining the unique voice of each contributor?

Kuboraum’s identity is already a very liquid, multiverse concept-space… but with a very precise identity, which is Kuboraum. The artists we collaborate with know Kuboraum; they have experienced it, and they are invited to share this identity, which somehow often already contains traces of their work in the background.

KALTBLUT: What were some of the most significant challenges you faced while developing this compilation? What aspects of this project have been the most rewarding?

As this project was born in a very organic and natural way, its development was quite smooth because, at the basis of each collaboration, there was always a good friendship. 

The most rewarding aspect has definitely been reading that the compilation sounds like a proper album. This was our goal from the beginning, and we’re really proud of it because the idea is to also bring people who generally listen to certain genres to be amazed by appreciating genres they normally wouldn’t approach. The challenge now is to start the next compilation and do a job as good as this one, but we’ve already started, and I think we’re heading in the right direction!

KALTBLUT: This is the first time the tracks are being presented as a full collection available in both digital and physical formats. What motivated the decision to release a 2xLP alongside digital formats?

Collecting vinyl music is something that has changed our lives. Vinyl has an unparalleled inorganic sex appeal, and supporting the dialogue or discourse we are carrying forward with artists through a physical object or space is something we consider important and, in some cases, necessary.

KALTBLUT: Kuboraum is known for its unconventional approach to eyewear, often described as “masks.” How do you see the compilation as an extension or reflection of your eyewear designs?

We believe that in life everything is connected and nothing can exist independently of the other. Anything that is an end in itself and its own use is rather useless and nonsensical.

Just as Kuboraum and Innerraum are born not from the push to make business, but from a profound, sincere, and natural need of expression, a need to create and communicate, in the same way what we do derives from our own background, from who we are. 

On this planet and in the universe, everything moves, and everything has a sound related to its movement. Think about Aristotle’s concept of ‘Musica Universalis’, or harmony of the spheres, which sees the equilibrium of celestial bodies and their movements as driven by a form of music. In a way, we can say that sound, in turn, produces movement…

We believe it’s unnatural to create things as ends in themselves, not being part of the whole and disconnected from the rest. That’s why we believe in creating something that serves as a messenger of an aesthetic deeply intertwined with music and culture.

Music is perhaps the first medium through which we perceive the arrival of a new culture, a new aesthetic, a new way of being. We prefer music that is contaminated, that is never strictly linked to a genre, just as everything we do is contaminated by our lives, by the people we hang out with, the places we visit, and the music we listen to.

KALTBLUT: Your headquarters in Berlin serves as a studio, showroom, and gallery. How has being based in such a vibrant cultural hotspot influenced your approach to music and fashion?

When we first arrived in Berlin, we loved the fact that it was an anti-fashion city where people would just wear what they wanted, expressing themselves freely and without compromise. ‘People on Sundays’, a collection from one of our former projects inspired by an old movie in black and white filmed in Berlin, was an ode to the Berlin community.

Inside our masks is written ‘Dreamed in Berlin Handmade in Italy’ since the first model was produced. Somehow it was natural for us to incorporate culture into what we do because inspiration comes from everyday life, from what we read, from music, from art, and from culture rather than from fashion; we have always refused to follow any type of trend.

In a way, our masks follow the idea we had back then of an anti-fashion city, being designed to highlight the character of a person who also feels part of our community based on shared values, aesthetics, and culture.

Being one of the first international brands in Berlin, we feel a bit like Berlin ambassadors, especially because the values that define this city are the true DNA of our manifesto and identity.

KALTBLUT: From showcases hosted by Regis’ Downwards to being featured at the Venice Biennale, how has Kuboraum’s approach to integrating music and fashion evolved over the years?

We are people of our time, but time by time our background and experience get deeper and deeper, and we love everything that’s authentic, timeless, and full of contamination, like Regis and, at the same time, our masks.

KALTBLUT: Following the Kuboraum Editions, what are the next steps for Kuboraum in the music world? Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you can tell us about?

In the last two years we have been working on a Kuboraum documentary movie, ‘10 Years Of Travelling’, marking our 10th anniversary. It’s roughly a half-hour-long journey throughout our multi-faceted narrative, with as protagonists our favourite artists, friends, and family that have supported us from the very beginning. We premiered the documentary already in Venice during our We Travel To Know Our Own Geography festival, but we are planning to launch it in a few cities in the upcoming year!

With Kuboraum Editions, we will continue to evolve with the goal of providing a platform for projects at the intersection of performative arts and music, which cannot easily find space because they don’t fall in a specific category or genre. We will also continue to release albums as artist editions, alongside bringing forward our narrative through the Kuboraum Sound Residency collaborating with artists from the experimental music panorama free from genre constraints.

Starting with multidisciplinary artist Rainy Miller, the next Digital Sound Residencies will see contributions by Kenyan singer, songwriter and producer Lord Spikeheart, Catalan composer, singer, and pianist Marina Herlop, and Emma DJ. As for albums, we are looking forward to the debut release of ‘Canzonieri’, who also performed in Venice for We Travel To Know Our Own Geography this year.

KALTBLUT: With such a varied compilation, do each of you have a personal favourite track? If so, which one and why does it stand out to you?

We have a favourite one for every different situation and time, or let’s play it from the beginning to the end.

KALTBLUT: Each artist was invited to create music inspired by the philosophical and aesthetic principles of Kuboraum. Can you elaborate on these principles and how they were communicated to the artists?

Freedom of expression, infinite languages, diversity, authenticity, syncretism & contamination are some of the most important principles of Kuboraum’s DNA. Usually before every collaboration there is a meeting or coming together; with some artists there is a long-time relationship or friendship; others know Kuboraum, what we do, and what we have done in the scene really well.

In general, we choose the artists for what they do, for their sound ‘aesthetic’, and sometimes, especially when an artist has a huge spectrum, we show them some of the aspects of their work that interest us more for the project and for the concept we have in mind.


Kuboraum Sound Residency – RAUM003 is out now: