Dutch-Chilean producer Ramon Tapia followed in his father’s footsteps when he began producing during his teenage years and hasn’t looked back since. His family history is rich and colorful. His father escaped from Pinochet’s Chile, where his own music had incensed the military government making a threat to the government. His two older sisters influenced him greatly and played a key part in his musical formation. On the heels of his release “Last Step” via his imprint Say What?, Ramon embraces his eclectic past and family history to create rich electronic dance music.
Hi Ramon, thank you so much for chatting with us today? Recovered from your U.S. tour yet?
Yes, I am. It wasn’t a big tour, so I recovered quite fast. Thank God because some tours can be tough on the body, that’s for sure.
Jia from 6AM opened up for the LA gig and I heard you guys got to have a chat, so it’s cool that we now get to interview! How were the gigs by the way?
Yeah, we had a short chat. The gig was great, always fun to play in the States.
Did you get to do anything else here in LA while you were in the city? And what did you think of it?
Hmm, I didn’t really have time for that, it was more like a come and go… I wanted to check Hollywood Boulevard but really didn’t have time sadly. Life of a DJ I guess haha.
I saw you also played SF and Las Vegas. Let’s talk about Vegas first… did you gamble?
I’m not much of a gambler to be honest, even though I can enjoy watching other people play.
And if I play myself it’s just playing some slots and grabbing a drink meanwhile, which can be tricky before I have a gig though. I love the liveliness of the casinos, as there is always something going on.
What happened in Vegas to you that will not stay in Vegas?
I have nothing to hide so everything that happened in Vegas will leave Vegas, but I’m sure there are many stories from people that will never leave Vegas at all. Crazy city!
I had the feeling I was stuck and didn’t know what to do to get out of it. My girlfriend really pushed me to do something else, and techno really appealed to me.
producer Ramon Tapia on his transition over to techno from tech house
I saw you were quite happy to check out SF and the Golden Gate bridge! Did you also get to eat any of the delicious food SF has to offer?
Yeah, it was on my bucket list so I really need to get that checked off my list and after that went for some food. But next time I really need some more time to check more San Fran cuisine and the city. Love it, it’s so vibrant.
Alright, enough U.S. tour talk… do you feel more Chilean or Dutch?
To be honest more Dutch, as I grew up in Holland, but I love my heritage and will never ever hide it and I will always say it out loud and with pride.
Did both nationalities/backgrounds influence your upbringing?
It did but I really never stood still by this thought, as for me this was the most normal thing ever, even though sometimes I wished that my dad had indulged me a bit more into Chilean culture.
Can you speak both languages?
Not as good as I want to, but yeah. Dutch is really my mother tongue. My Spanish is ok but understanding better than speaking.
As for other languages– my German is quite ok, my English is fluent and my French is OK but not spectacular.
Let’s talk about your music, and in particular “Last Step” coming out on your label Say What? Why did you call it Last Step?
As I made the change from more tech-house vibes to techno this was my last step of a year of transitioning from one side to the other. It’s the last release of the year, and it’s been a very productive year so “Last Step” really was a good name to use for the release.
What has been inspiring you in the studio this year?
Back to more freedom, as I changed to more techno vibes (even though my tech house was already quite hard). I really had the feeling I had more freedom again and just do whatever came up to me. I had the feeling I was stuck and didn’t know what to do to get out of it. My girlfriend really pushed me to do something else and techno really appealed to me. So the choice was quite natural, but I needed a nudge, that’s for sure. I’m super happy I made the change because I really was stuck and started to see the world darker and darker.
What other releases (from you and others) can we expect on your label?
A new duo from Glasgow, 2nd Phase, who I delivered a remix for, is the next release which will be out in January 2020. After that a big release from Brazilian Marcal and German Simon Berger. So these are the next three releases, but of course much more to follow.
Drumcode has been an important platform for you. How did you first get on the label?
I did two releases on Drumcode’s sub-label Truesoul at the start of my transition and Adam asked me to keep sending more music. So when I made “Sonic Therapy,” I wasn’t sure if he was going to like it. After sending it a couple of days prior to Awakenings I never expected him to play it out, but he did and soon after that he told me he really wanted to have it for Drumcode. So here we are. I’m really happy I got this opportunity, as this was really something on my list for 2019.
Are there further Drumcode releases on the pipeline?
Not yet. I’ve been sitting on quite a lot of music that I still need to send to Adam, so I never know how things will go. Fingers crossed!
What are you planning for 2020?
There will be a new Suara release at the end of January 2020 with remixes from Moteka and Gary Beck. At the end of February, there will be a release on Spartaque’s label Codex. I’m working on some stuff for Reinier Zonneveld’s label Filth on Acid and so much more.
And how about a vacation… any planned to close out or start the year?
Sadly nothing planned yet, but for sure I need one for at least a week or two before the summer madness begins, so probably just after the start of 2020.