Ripperton: A deeper Shade…
Swiss producer Ripperton has been steadily building himself a strong reputation for high quality electronic music for quite some time now, starting out in the late Nineties and working constantly ever since to become a revered producer and DJ.
His style of music has always been deeper, more musical though often just as powerful on the dance floor as it is in the comfort of one’s own home. On his new album he explores his musical side to greater depths, enlisting the assistance of several vocalist friends to add an emotive element to his music – the overall pace is slower, there are plenty of ‘real’ instruments brought into play and it’s a really great collection of songs. The album, A Little Part Of Shade, was released back in June so I decided to have a quick chat with Ripperton about how it all came together and how its been received so far.
When did you first decide to start work on an album?
Well I didn’t actually start with an album concept. I make music everyday and I always separate the songs I prefer and I put them in a little folder. When the folder starts to get full up I try to make the tracks work together, to make a story.
Who or what inspired you to conceive the project?
The artists and friends who worked with me: Germain Umdenstock, Hemlock Smith, Van Hai, Andi Ernst and Masaya. I like human interaction in my music – I think instruments and vocals give a better depth in electronic music. My family are a great help too, especially my children. They give me better perspectives in life and they give me a lot of energy. I was also inspired by the place where I live – Lausanne.
Did you find it difficult to get started? It must have been a daunting prospect in the beginning?
I’m not the kind of person who thinks it’s hard to make music, I love doing it and I think living the DJ’s lifestyle is way more difficult. I go to the studio like most of people go to the office, I have a very stable producer life. I go there almost every day and work all day. The inspiration can come from anywhere, at anytime or not for months, it’s part of the great and magic mystery of the music making process.
Did you decide on a theme before you started or did that come as you began to create the music?
It comes naturally, I don’t have many ideas outside of the studio as I’m not thinking about it. I have my life, I travel a lot, I visit new countries and cities and meet people all the time. I keep in my heart what I think its interesting and I use it when I go back to work.
Where did the name come from?
When I found a common thread with the songs I was thinking about the general concept to make them work together. So it took me almost six months to find the right idea. It happened when I was walking in the sun with a friend, it was a really hot day. It was so, so hot and we found refuge in a little area of shade… So the shadow protects you from the sun, or if you think about it, protects you in your life in general. Everybody have a secret area of shade and it’s necessary.
How long did it take to complete the project? Did you have any problems during the making of it?
I took my time, the first track on the album was done almost right after I finished Niwa which was four years ago. As I said before, I didn’t know that I was really working on a album so I guess it helps to stay focused on the music. I know that I have exasperated almost everybody on this project because I didn’t know exactly where I was going; I was simply lost in a creative flux.
Was it difficult to juggle producing an album with touring as a DJ and your personal life etc?
Definitely but I won’t complain. There are too many people doing real hard jobs and fighting every day to stay alive and feed their family.
In terms of creativity, what’s the most difficult aspect of producing an album?
To not get bored by your own things! Seriously, maybe finding the right sound and the right balance in it. On top of that, trying new things is really challenging me as producer, getting new gear, learning new ways of mixing etc. It’s the sum of all this that keeps my creativity going.
There are several collaborations on the album, in particular with Hemlock Smith, can you tell me about how you hooked up with the artists, why you chose them and what they bring to the album?
Sure, when I met Michael Frei (aka Hemlock Smith) he was my neighbour, he lived in the building in front of my window. He worked on the same street in his own shop. One day I was there, we started to talk about music. He always heard the kick drum pumping out from my place and he thought I was making boring techno stuff. He gave me some CDs containing his Hemlock Smith recordings that day and after that I approached him to try to make things together. He’s a great songwriter and I love his voice and his versatility. He’s a nice piano player too.
Germain Umdenstock is one of my best friends. He’s a fabulous classic guitar player and I love his sincerity so much. I met him on holiday in Italy with his girlfriend, who was good friend with my sister. Since then we have been in touch almost every week, we run together and he gives so much more to my music.
Van Hai and Masaya have been close friends for years now, so it was inevitable to have them on this new adventure. Van Hai is really amazing with his sensibility of things, I love the way he sings and the way he writes lyrics, especially in French.
The music on the album has been cited as a slight departure for you, in terms of the style. Why did you decide to break away from what people recognise you for?
I never decided that, I simply follow my tastes. I still release so many singles and remixes every year that are still “club” orientated. I started Tamed Music two years ago which is a club label too. So I think I can play on many layers, I don’t feel I need to be attached to one genre or sub genre specifically.
Will you be continuing to produce more music of this kind? Could this be a new chapter in your production career?
I hope so, I just want to continue to grow up as producer and never put any kind of limits in my work or in my head. Let’s see what the future has for me.
Besides your own album, what music have you really enjoyed listening to this year (within electronic music or not)?
There’s so many good things out there! So here are few:
DJ Nature – LWE podcast
Mirrorring – Foreign Body
Rhye – Woman
Nick Cave – Push The Sky Away
Kalabrese – Independent Dancer
Beak – <<
Benoît Pioulard – Hymnal
Jimpster – Porchlight And Rockingchairs
What would your advice to someone who’s considering producing their own album?
Take your time and stay true to your vision.
What else are you working on at the moment?
Doing promotion for this album is taking me a lot of time right now! I’m working on my moniker Headless Ghost l and preparing the next releases and remixes for my label Tamed Musiq before taking a few days off in the south of Spain.
A Little Part Of Shade is out now – pick it up here.A Little Part Of Shade, Ripperton
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