We love a bit of Ripperton here at Deep House London, so when we got the chance to talk to him about his new release with DFTD we jumped straight on to the phone! Ripperton is based in Lausanne, a small town in Switzerland where he toils away in the studio every day, making superb house and techno, which has been signed to a variety of top flight labels over the years including Cocoon, Music Man, Poker Flat and his own Tamed Musiq. He also works under the alias Headless Ghost, with a stunning remix package of ‘Let’s Fall’ released just recently… so we knew he’d be a great candidate for a chat.
Have you started 2015 with a fixed plan or are you taking it as it comes?
Yes, well I’m always going to ‘work’, which means I go to the studio every day and when I get something I put it in my folder. But I’m never stressed about whether it needs to be released or not – I don’t have plans really, I just make music every day and I’m not in a hurry. I see some producers these days stressing about their next releases and I’m the complete opposite. Sometimes I might do something and someone likes it and they want to release it right away but, if not, I have my own label so I can put stuff out when I feel like it. There’s no pressure in that respect at least.
I guess it can be good for your creative process to be relaxed?
Because I live in Switzerland and there’s not really a scene here you can be more chilled but at the same time it’s expensive like London .You have to make money, so you have to be creative. It’s a double edged sword because, on one hand, we don’t have much of a scene so I feel very free in making what I want but then there is the money pressure; I have kids, a family… so there is that.
Do you give yourself typical ‘working hours’?
I stay here until I’m sick of it. For example, yesterday I started making stuff I liked at around 6pm, which was funny as I spent the whole day in the studio and hadn’t made anything worth continuing with until that last 20 minutes! When you’re making music you have to be in the studio for anything to come to fruition… you never know when it might happen, so you have to be there, working. Sometimes it comes right away, sometimes it comes at the end, sometimes it comes the day after but you have to be there because if you’re in the cinema or anywhere else, it won’t come.
I’ve been reading a book called ‘The War Of Art’ and one of the tips the author gives is to get up every morning and make yourself sit at your desk and write, whether it’s crap or not, because inspiration will come if you put yourself in the right environment to conduct it.
That’s true – the more you work, the more your brain is making connections and the ideas that come in get better. You’re also more familiar with your space and your equipment, so you can get ideas down immediately. You work a lot faster and smoother, I mean of course there’s also some magic involved – everyone I speak to always says the best tracks they’ve made have come from mistakes.
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Totally, a lot of artists (audio and visual) say that they’re just a vessel or a conduit for creativity and that it actually comes from a mystical force outside of them.
Exactly, I feel exactly the same way. Sometimes you experience stuff, or you meet people or you go somewhere and you go back to the studio and something strange happens – you’re exactly like a messenger.
Talking about inspiration, tell me about ‘Searchin’ 4 You’?
That came really quickly actually. I’m really into Jai Paul, I was inspired by him, that album blew my mind – the really cool singing and compression and a lot of Turkish percussion in his music. I was trying to do something similar but I’m really bad at copying people so it came out like that! Sometimes I really feel something someone else has done so I try to do a track that sounds similar – it gives you tips on how to do things, how to create sounds. You can never stop learning and this is a great way to boost your production skills. Yeah so it was quite rapid this one, sometimes you’re on a roll – in two weeks you’re just making tracks, tracks, tracks it’s really incredible how this happens. So anyway, I gave the track to Deetron for his fabric mix and then Defected guys heard it and contacted me to ask if it was released, so I said no and they took it, which was really nice. It was great actually because it helps to get my name out to people who may not know me, it’s always interesting to be presented to a new audience – I was pleasantly surprised that they wanted it.
Is that you singing on the track as well then?
Yeah I write hooks and sing them, then spend a few hours making it sound ‘normal’! I like to put my own sounds into my music, so I record a lot of my own percussion for example with plastic bottles, or I make shakers and so on… It gives it a really personal sound, if you use plug-ins it just sounds like everyone else. Then, when you add field recordings and so on it gives it a more personal sound. Right now it’s the perfect moment to be different because everybody is doing the same thing, it’s the right time to shine – people are ready for it.
For sure, there’s such an abundance of music as well.
Yes, I’d rather release two nice tracks in a year than 20 ok ones. Everything is so saturated and over-promoted at the moment. On one side you have the guys who are making super nice stuff and only releasing it on limited edition vinyl so everyone’s fighting to grab it on Discogs for 50Euros or more, which I don’t understand. Then, on the other, you have people giving out music for free – it’s such a mess!
It is a bit and I wanted to ask – the career path you’ve taken isn’t exactly a ‘safe’ one. Having a family and living somewhere expensive, do you ever worry about when your next pay day is coming or consider getting an office job on the side?
I really don’t know how to do anything but this. I’ve tried all the rest, so many different jobs. This is really my job; DJing and producing is the only thing I can do properly. Of course I worry, but at the same time the interesting thing about this scene is that you get out of it what you put in; you surround yourself with good people, you do the hard work and the results should be good. I’m very lucky to be in this position, but I also work really hard to maintain it. Right now it’s going ok but a few years ago when my kids were born I was working less because I wanted to spend time with them, so it was a bit tough for a time. But it’s not that bad, I don’t have a car or a big flat, I live a modest life – that way it’s easier. You save your cash during a good year because you never know if the next year will be a bad one, or the one after. I keep my life understated – I have this chance to do what I do and I feel very fortunate. Doing a job I love, having kids… these things are so precious. I’m spreading my music around the world and I’m from Switzerland, Lausanne! Jesus Christ, it’s just a small village! I feel blessed every day to have this life.
Ripperton’s track ‘Searchin 4 You’ is out now on DFTD – pick it up by clicking here.