Ray Wilko

Ray Wilko is a well-reputated composer, singer and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist from Bern, Switzerland. His career started in 1996 with the release of the debut album «Subzero» and his first indie hit in his home country with the opening song «What's The Deal, Kim?». Since then, Ray Wilko released four more well acclaimed albums, all of them with at least one radio hit, and he quickly became a critics darling («Elvis Costello of Switzerland») to those who cared about alternative rock in Switzerland. 


Wilkos songwriting basically stands in the tradition of the three-minute pop song. But he usually disrupts this format with either a mixture of additional styles (from garage, alternative or indie to punk or even folk and country) or at least with arrangement feints that make most of his songs unpredictable and therefore surprising.   


On most of his albums, multi-instrumentalist Ray Wilko played the majority of what you can hear by himself, besides producing or co-producing the albums. He plays the drums, guitars, bass guitar and keyboards or piano. And even though this sounds very much like Lenny Kravitz, Wilko was and still is mainly influenced by bands like Pixies, Pavement and Weezer besides his all time favorites David Bowie, Frank Black and Beck.   


After the release of Wilkos second album «Your Own Private» in 1999 (with another indie hit called «Wherever I Go» on Switzerlands most important Radio SRF3) and touring in Switzerland, Ray Wilko embarked on a three-week tour in the year 2000 to the US of America highlighted by the appearance at «South by Southwest» Festival in Austin/Texas.


In 2002 Ray Wilko released «Daktari» which scored another hit («New Dimension») on Switzerlands most inspired radio station Couleur3. After a successful tour, Ray went back to the studio to record his fourth album «Pinball» (2004) that, again, scored a hit: «Just Can't Cope» made it to the «Top 50 Airplay Charts» in early summer 2004.


In December 2006 Ray Wilko and his longtime band played a sold-out show in their hometown Bern/Switzerland to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Ray Wilkos debut «Subzero». 


After a recording break of four years, Ray Wilko released «You And Me» in early 2008. It is the first album that is entirely produced and performed by Ray Wilko with his band, consisting of lead guitarist Stuwi Aebersold, bassist Regula Frei, drummer Pit Hertig and trumpet/keyboard player Thomas Knuchel. The «You And Me»-Tour went on until 2010. 


From 2010 on, Ray Wilko performed some rare solo shows, worked on side projects like TACO (The Alternative Country Organization) and he released two songs out of the blue: In 2012 it was «This Is The End» under the name of a fake band called «Katchaturian». In 2014 Ray Wilko produced and recorded a cover version of the song «Robinson» by the dutch band «Nits». The song appeared on the triple-cd-compilation «ISNT NITS» with more than 50 cover versions of Nits-Songs mostly by Swiss musicians and bands.  


In 2019 Ray Wilko signed to Mouthwatering Records to re-release his back catalogue and to get ready for future releases.