No other European country encourages music quite like Switzerland. It’s embedded in their educational infrastructure. Every student is obliged to take up a musical instrument early in their education and their tuition is accommodated at every level from novice to classically trained musician. “You can skip sports if you make music,” says Cyril Pulver over a telephone call and that echoes through the entire musical landscape in the small central European country. “Switzerland is the country that has the most musical festivals per capita,” says Koris (real name: Vu Vuong Dinh). “That is a fact,” he says by way of emphasising his point in only the slightest hint of a French accent.
Koris and Cyril are collectively known as Kūn. For the past 4 years they’ve played together as part of the Attitude Nocturn crew with a residency at the renowned Lausanne club, Folklor. Koris and Cyril are of asian descent, but grew up in the western region of Switzerland where they’ve enjoyed a “rave and clubbing scene that was one of the highlights in Europe” throughout the nineties, at least from Koris’ perspective. Even though the “music changed and the people changed, clubbing is still strong” and it’s from this legacy that Kūn came to be. “We’re blessed,” continues Koris because for “the amount of people living here and the lineup we get, Switzerland has a strong scene.”
It’s from this scene that Kūn came to be, but their creation is an unlikely story, with the two halves of the duo coming from two very different generations. “I think it’s a vast mistake, we should not be hanging together at all,” says Cyril. “I think Koris should be spending his Friday nights drinking prosecco with his friends, and I should be spending my friday nights partying with my university friends.”
Koris is Cyril’s senior by a whole generation, but the pair have bridged an unlikely gap through music. Cyril had been “doing music” with his brother, before the the latter had “abandoned” the former for Japan. “He felt bad and he hooked me up with Koris to make music together,” explains Cyril of the unlikely pairing. “We hooked up and decided to give it a go and here we are four years later” continues Koris, finishing the other’s sentence like they do when they occupy the booth together. The reason the pair seem to understand each other is that from Cyril’s perspective he is something of a “classist”, an old soul and the pair find a unique bond exactly through their dissimilarities where Koris believes they compliment each other.
“We come from different musical backgrounds,” explains Koris. Cyril, a classically trained musician had “made music his entire life” and Koris can barely decipher sheet music, but brings an intuition that only experience can bring. Koris has had quite a luminous career as a DJ. Coming of age in the nineties through that thriving Swiss scene, Koris “started djing in 1996” and took it up professionally between 2000-2007 “as a trance DJ.” At the height of his career he was playing 150 gigs a year and there are videos dotted around the Internet of Koris entertaining large audiences from his DJ pulpit in places like San Francisco.
“I have an extensive career as a DJ,” he reiterates and believes “the combination of the classically trained musician” in Cyril “and the more instinctive side of how to approach DJing and make music” from his perspective” make for “very complimentary” attributes in Kūn. “It elevates both of us.”
Koris the sager of the two describes it as such: “If we put ourselves in the shoes of the dancers, they want to discover music, they don’t want instant gratification… That’s what we crave too.” He feels they are “very blessed” with their residency at Folklor, playing for a crowd on a regular basis that they have this symbiotic bond with through music. “It’s what we are” he says about the Lausanne club that currently stands at the centre of the French-speaking region’s nightlife. In a country where people “spend a lot of money on music” according to Cyril, there’s a healthy scene at Folklor that allows the local residents to play alongside visiting international dignitaries on a weekly basis.
For the moment Cyril and Koris are quite content in being DJs in the scene, but there is long-term plan to add producer to their credits. Their approach in this regard is “a bit more conservative” according to Cyril. Instead of rushing into something, they are biding their time in an attempt to “develop” their “own thing”. It’s “something that takes a long time,” says Cyril and even though his musical training has plied the group with all the tools necessary to make music, Cyril believes they are “still learning.” While they’ve road tested their tracks in sets according to Koris they “don’t feel ready to publish them just yet.” They don’t want to get in a situation where they “spam the market with tracks.”
Their individual musical traits and experiences echo through their music. Through their first residency at D! Club they favoured a “more straightforward or immediate sound,” says Cyril. It was a result of the sets they played in the vacuous space of the club where they would naturally “make music for big rooms.” Today he believes that they honed their craft more in-line with the sounds of Folklor, where Cyril’s penchant for “classical harmonies” find a more intuitive bond with the purpose of the club floor. ”There is always some kind of harmony that’s a bit more pop, rather than abstract Techno sounds,” he explains of their latent sound.
For the moment Kūn will remain a DJ duo, a multi-generational, intercontinental, multi-skilled DJ duo, who presents the best of what all these words can offer through their selections. They’ll be arriving in Oslo later this week to showcase their proclivity , sharing the booth with their Norwegian affiliates Det Gode Selskab, which Koris says is “a natural relationship and friendship between people who like music.” It’s their second visit to Norway in as many years and Koris and Cyril are keen to return to propagate that nuanced partnership they have through music.