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Ripperton - Electronica Melancholia

Author: Cyclone
Monday, 21 January 2008
Swiss electronic artists are invariably eclipsed by the oft-hyped German contingent. However, Raphael Gros, or Ripperton, is creating epic minimal techno worthy of any Berliner, as 3D’s Cyclone notes.

His influences aren’t always the obvious electronic pioneers, but the beauty of Europe’s embattled forests or the melancholia of artists like Radiohead. The Lausanne-based DJ/producer is no newcomer. He emerged internationally as part of Lazy Fat People (FLP) with Mirko Loko. The duo issued music on distinguished labels such as James Holden’s Border Community, but Ripperton, the main producer, has since quit. His focus now is Perspectiv Recordings, which recently presented its first compilation, Family Tree.

How – and when – did you get into electronic music-
The first time was at school with some acid house tapes from Kevin Saunderson’s Reese Project – Rock To The Beat! In ’92 I really discovered DJing with Tony Humphries at a party in Montreux. House music was like love at first sight. After that, I bought my first MK2 for playing at some friends’ party. My first DJ job was in ’93 in Lausanne at the MAD club.

What are your key influences-
Radiohead is what [I am] turning the most on my turntable the last 10 years. I really like these guys because they do what they want. They are part of my life – and kings of the harmony. I adore the songwritting of Thom Yorke – [it’s] a bit depressing but essential. [Then there’s] Bjork for the voice and the craziness, Nina Simone, Nick Drake, Massive Attack, Burial for the melancholy – I’m really melancholic... [I’ve been like that] since my childhood. [I also love] all the soul from Philadelphia and [then] Detroit for the happiness. I like classical music like The Nocturnes of Chopin by Maria Joao Pires – [it’s] simply marvellous.

You were in the successful Lazy Fat People with Mirko Loko. How come you decided to split-

[It’s a] long story. We were really close friends [but] now it’s over and it’s better like this. I think we weren’t watching the same horizon. Mirko was more a DJ than a producer. Anyway, it was a great experience.

Before Lazy Fat People you were in the band Reasons. What can you tell us about them-
Reasons was a house/electro project. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to work with singers and musicians [and] to play live on stage and with a chords section.
Through this experience I found three of my best friends. We made an album that won some great music prizes in Switzerland. The live tour after that was really genius. It was my first step in the music business and [saw me set up] my first label, Lovearth Records. I learned all my sound engineering experience from Greg, who was the engineer for Reasons.

Do you have plans for a Ripperton album-

Yes, I’m working on it. Actually, with my new baby [daughter Leonor], it will take longer than I expected. Maybe it will be a mini-album with some collaborations and remixes...but I have already finished some new songs. It’s [just] always difficult to know where I want to go.

You have a label, Perspectiv, with Sam K. How are you developing it-
We started the label in January 2007. Perspectiv Records has a very distinct and specific vision – to give new producers and musicmakers an alternative opportunity for long-term self-expression. The Perspectiv sound is definitely electronic and atmospheric but, most of all, intelligent and very dancefloor orientated.

Where are you based in Switzerland- And how do you fit into the Swiss scene-
I live in Lausanne, one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland. I really adore it. It’s just in front of the mountains and the lake [Lake Geneva]. It’s really peaceful.
I feel really good about the Swiss scene because, first of all, all the artists from here collaborate together.

What can you tell us about your DJing- How does it compare to your production work-

DJing is an art. Every set is a challenge – and I really love that. That’s what I’m trying to do with my music, too. I hate the simplicity. Most of the DJs are playing too many easy records. For me, being a DJ is like being a filter. I’m not for the globalisation – I’m for the difference and a vision in the music.

We have heard James Holden and Carl Craig are into your music, Carl even releasing FLP on Planet E. How important is it to you to have that kind of support-
Without James, my career would be really different today. This guy is a genius and a lovely person – and, trust me, that’s really rare in this business. I think there was a ‘before Holden’ and an ‘after Holden’. Border Community is one of the most important labels around. And all the artists on it are so interesting. He gives us all a chance. It was really amazing to work with him.

Carl is a god in electronic music. He always produces great music – [it’s] really fresh but with his unique touch. Carl helped us a lot with the Lazy Fat People project, too. I was really honoured to be on Planet E – [it was] one of the best days in my life as a producer because I truly respect him.

What of your first visit to Australia-
I can’t wait to discover the other side of the world – trying your red wine, meeting great people, making new friends and drinking some cold beers in the sun, because it’s fucking winter here!

WHO: Ripperton
WHAT: Plays Lost Baggage at the Cross
WHEN: Sunday 27 January