House and techno producer Ripperton mixes the new with the old
- Credit: Archant
My interview with Swiss house and techno producer Raphael Ripperton is running dangerously late.
His set at London club Oval Space is due to begin and he’s nowhere to be found.
Frantically checking the time and with moments to spare, I’m ushered into the green room where he stands to greet me, wide eyes and a wider smile, not a care in the world.
Jokingly, I ask him where he has been. “I was having a nice conversation with DJ Sprinkles (a transgender electro-producer) he’s really deep, really interesting. We talked about sexuality,” he answers.
Within seconds I clock the 37-year old is one of life’s good guys. No diva DJ qualities here.
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Building a name for himself in the early 90s, with partnership Fat Lazy People, Ripperton has experienced significant solo success, remixing for the likes of Steve Lawler, Radiohead and Laurent Garnier, cementing his place in the underground dance music canon.
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Known to those ‘‘in the know’’, his self-deprecation is steadfast throughout our meeting. “I’m not innovative and breaking borders. I like to be a voice and I don’t want to be different, I just want to be myself.”
There’s a definite, live-and-let-live vibe to his outlook but when the subject of EDM raises its ugly head – a movement big in the US that has brought dance music to the mainstream – Ripperton’s easy breezy nature is suddenly soured. “EDM is really wrong. It’s everything outside of what it was. It is for the mass and I don’t DJ for the mass.
I think they have a really rich heritage in US but the new generation don’t know what the old generation did and this is a f**king mess because I know what the old generation did.”
David Guetta, once an underground club DJ is now famously associated with EDM, for better, or worse, but when Ripperton reveals he too was approached to take his music in a more ‘‘commercial’’ direction, his answer was defiant. “I said no because I’m staying true to my roots and respecting the people I like. Money is not my priority, I just want enough money to live, feed my family, not have three cars. I would rather have a normal job than pervert myself.”
Within a matter of seconds, the Lausanne-born producer is back to his smiley, placid self. “I’m not here to judge, it’s not for me but if they’re having a good time and they find an audience for it then its good,” he concedes.
A creative, Ripperton finds inspiration through ‘‘feelings, meetings and experiences’’. His music attracts a more learned listener, appreciative of his minimal, atmospheric leanings, encapsulated perfectly in his latest album A Little Part of Shade.
You get the feeling that Ripperton has got the balance right between maintaining a happy family life and handling the excesses a DJ’s lifestyle brings with it.
His success is no doubt down to his talent, first and foremost but his scruples and strong sense of what he is about are surely a close second.