Beyond Culture

Interview with Joel Black


The CERVO is not just a hotel, it is a lifestyle. It is a melting pot that embraces traditional values and the culture of the Alps, while at the same time offering leeway for modern and international influences. It is a place where guests, staff and locals can interact with each other. The CERVO thus contributes to shaping the Zermatt community in its culture, tradition and values and contributes to a mindful awareness. This all together is what we call "Beyond Culture" - one of our subclaims that drive our daily business and everything behind it. We have met someone important in this field - have a look at the interview with Joel Black.

Joel Black with Vinyls

Who are you and what is your role at CERVO?

My name is Joel Black and I am active in a world of music-supervision, culture curation, and event realization for some special clients worldwide. I run a small music-talent-production agency, and am often touring as a deejay or live musician myself from my homebase in Berlin, but this unique collaboration is by far the most fascinating and energizing job I have been so lucky to take on. What began as an opportunity for me to contribute to the hotel re-design with background music playlists for all the different areas in the resort, and to play a few DJ sets for special events at CERVO has organically grown into an exciting platform for bringing an ambitious arts program to the hotel throughout all seasons. With the ‘Beyond Culture’ idea from CERVO, I am now looking to mix in the work of guest artists and weave their story and practice into the daily life and entertainment within the hotel. The day-to-day fun part and inherent challenge of this role is scheduling and adapting these performances, parties, workshops, artist-residences to a specific time and place within the normal hotel operations! It is what I would call a ‘confident experiment’ in which I am trusting a gut instinct in my curation when choosing the people to participate in these programs, giving them the best preparation, and then setting them free to practice their art, to do their special thing within the dynamic framework of a bustling luxury hotel environment. 

By design, this work I do for the hotel possesses a rather fluid and flexible nature, but all the tasks in organizing chase this great thrilling potential: There’s a positive transformation of what the CERVO Mountain Resort experience can be. I really hope to make memorable moments to love and cherish for all ages of guests well after they have returned home.

I am sort of working as an ambassador for CERVO, bringing a large network of musicians, artists, and practitioners from all possible disciplines into the extended family of the hotel community, individuals that then take a little bit of magic and inspiration from their time in Zermatt and spread the good word and radiate the story of the special magic we are building up here! Beyond is a powerful word, a challenge for me to push things forward and hopefully reimagine what a special guest experience at a hotel can be!

DJ Hazy Pockets

What are some of the special items, memories, or unique stories you can share from your time at CERVO?

Within my booking and event organizing, I almost exclusively work with friends and trusted collaborators, so when I receive feedback from a musician that they had a psychedelic moment playing a particular song as the sun set behind the Matterhorn, it fuels my imagination, and gives me quite a bit of inspiration. 

I have to mention the incredible nature of the Ritual Room in the Mountain Ashram Spa at CERVO, as this physical space is capable of welcoming such a variety of moods and healing and refreshing moments. We planned an impromptu festival ‘A Love Beyond’ last September which played host to a series of incredible ‘sound-voyage’ experimental concerts from artists that employed a dimensional hi-fi sound system in this room to take visitors to another plane with their sonic traveling. (Input from CERVO: The festival will have its second edition this September, 23 - 25, 2022.) Perhaps not so high-concept, but nonetheless very memorable, was a listening session with some spiritual jazz vinyl records that comprise part of a growing music library I am building in the hotel. We were zoning out, being transported to another time and place with these records, then having a fantastic conversation about the politics of jazz music, civil rights in America, and sharing further music tips with hotel guests that had just stumbled into the room. The potential is endless and I attribute this to the fantastic design and vision of this new era at the CERVO Mountain Resort.

Also, breakfast in the Bazaar, sipping coffee with such a view outside the window with what I hope is a perfect soundtrack, can be a simple, ecstatic experience that is always reflective and meaningful.

A Love Beyond with Joel Black

What does the future hold for the  ‘Beyond Culture’ program?

More live music, interactive workshops, artist-residences, and more transformative spaces in the hotel that really allow guests to experience and learn new crafts, and as always: seeking and traveling beyond, both inwards and outwards!


I have created a short musical journey with a playlist at this link for dreaming your way to the CERVO Mountain Resort and beyond.

Never miss another great event at CERVO: Check out the event calendar!

Beyond Exploring Flag