The Zen component in hip hop is undeniable! If you think about it, the whole movement is rooted in embracing this very moment and expressing it using beats, wordplay, fashion and even the choice of intoxicants. You could say that jazz is to blame for this, for injecting hip hop with its ever-mercurial operational modus. But then again, jazz is just a portal leading back to the Motherland, right?

The Beautiful Now is a new hip hop / nouveau soul, world music infused project based in Zürich, Switzerland. They are: Toni Schiavano and Florian Reichle, both multi-instrumentalists and beat makers, who happen to have a thing for organic sounding music and all types of hand-made instruments. Their new EP entitled Moes (as in moments) will be released this coming Friday. It features a very eclectic and international cast of guests, which includes Jneiro Jarel of JJ DOOM, emcee Stimulus (you might’ve seen him on Berlin’s Colors), singer Brandy Bütler (an Afropunk favourite), BIGYUKI on keys (A Tribe Called Quest, J.Cole etc.) and rapper, the very prolific Yamin Semali. Expect to hear some crackling, warm, analog feel-good music with a touch of that mid 90s old school and nuff soul claps to take you back to church.

Here is a short chat with the fellas behind the project.

Are you guys obsessed with time? I guess I’m asking this because there are so many references to it on your lates EP: moments, the beautiful now, Monday etc.

Toni: Kind of, maybe. We think a lot about having time or the lack of it. Everybody has 24/7, but in modern, Western society nobody really has time. It’s even cool to not have it and use it as a sign of your importance.

Do you think that it’s harder for people to stay in the moment now, more so than it has ever been in the past?

Flo: Definitively. We have too many possibilities. Too many gadgets, too many decisions to make. But it’s an exciting age and the big challenge is to find your balance between the now and tomorrow. Yesterday totally lost it’s meaning.

How do you manage to stay grounded in this beautiful now?

Toni: It’s not the case that we manage this easily and every day. But we’re aware of this and we try to find the moment itself as much as possible. Because that’s where magic happens. It’s also where you can find and accept yourself.

BTW, who came up with the name?

Flo: In a very Beautiful Now, it was Toni

Your work is so rich with influences, from hip hop, through soul and all types of African music – was this a concept from the get-go or did you just find yourselves digressing organically?

Flo: It might sound strange, but those were always our influences, years before we even started The Beautiful Now. Neither one of us ever really regarded ourselves as just “Jazz“ or „Hip Hop“ or “Whatever” musicians, but as all of those at the same time. We love, play and cultivate so many types of music. And because these particular tastes are so congruent, we fit so well together musically. And, luckily, not only because of that – and maybe that’s even more important?

So what’s the best time of the day to really enjoy Moes?

Toni: Now!