“In Paris I started doing arrangements and compositions of African music. World-Music was just beggining. I had never been to Africa, but I was at home with Africans. I liked their way of playing. It’s rare for people to have such a developed sense of rhythm.
After spending so much time around this music, I made a small album for myself in 98. The radios in Africa thought I was black! Radio Africa N°1 called the office of the Francophonie: “He has to come to Libreville!” At the same time in Abidjan, EMI Jat Music is also telling me to come. It was the biggest factory of music tapes in French-speaking Africa. I chose Abidjan, and my African life started.
I produced a crazy amount of stuff over there. But I left Africa with a gun to my head. The parties with swimming pools, alcohol, hookers everywhere, the cops, the army, all the corrupt people hanging around, the French embassy… Everything was muddy, there was a huge scam going on. At some point I started feeling paranoid, I was thinking: this is all going to end badly, it smells like death, I got to leave.
I was at the end of an album, and the day before my departure I’m told in a cow-boy style: “You’re going to finish this album, or else…”. But I’m from Valais, so I don’t want to accept this. On the morning of the day I wanted to leave, the head of security calls me: “It’s Zouzou! Laser! DO-NOT-LEAVE!” He’s telling me this to save my life, he had been given the order to kill me! So I’m completely lost, but I still decide to leave. And without thinking, I jump into a taxi that was waiting in front of the house. At the Cocody intersection I have a premonition and I jump on the guy, pull the driving wheel and run away to hide. I call a friend and he helps me to find a bus to cross into Ghana.
And after that everything went south. I was drinking too much, and my wife wanted to get a divorce and return to Switzerland. I came back to Geneva and went to the Alcoholics Anonymous. I was living off royalties a bit, but in 2003 the situation was really getting dire. And that’s when I had the idea of Komball. BOOM! Saved by the bell!”
(translated from French)