Tom Flynn takes the wheel with a refreshing guest mix and answers the BIRDHOUSE questionnaire
What do you get if you take the son of a Dutch woman and a (literally) revolutionary Chilean musician and steep him in the musical climate of Belgian techno in his formative years? Ramon Tapia was the result of this interesting combination of circumstances. A producer whose eclectic past and upbringing combined to create one of the freshest sounds in techno.
With releases on Strictly Rhythm, Great Stuff and Tiga's Turbo Recordings, as well as the creation of his own label, Say What, to further proliferate his sound, Ramon has established himself as a major player in the techno game. I am very excited to welcome Ramon Tapia to The Birdhouse.
Read on for Ramon’s BH Questionnaire.
How did your music career get started in earnest?
It all took off in 2008, after I released my first album on the German label, Greatstuff. This really brought me to the next level, alongside Butch and many other artists. They were really pushing things forward at that time. I'm not sure if this label is still keep on going these days, but I'm always very grateful they had signed me back then.
Where are you from and does it have an influence on your music?
I was born in the South of Holland and moved afterwards to Antwerp in Belgium. I grew up with a mixture of Belgian electronic music with it's industrial shade and Dutch house when it was in its prime '89 till roughly '97 - the sound that so many artists try to make right now. So I think both places influenced me in many ways and helped mold my sound.
How many times did you want to quit trying to make this your career?
Many times, I just never gave up. Once you get “there,” the work is never done. There will always be moments when you’ll think of dropping everything. I think this is a burden many artists carry.
What was one piece of equipment that helped define your sound early on?
I would say Propellerheads Reason. It really was the boss of my main operation back in those days, as I didn’t have a good studio. I had to do everything on a laptop, then, after a while, I got myself a small MacBook and Cubase. I think also the swing from Reason did a lot for my sound at that time. I actually still use Reason now and then.
When you were getting started, which artists did you try to emulate (both musically and careerwise)?
Back at time there were many, but I would say it was Stephan Bodzin and his label Rekorder that really made me go nuts, everything that they did at that time was gold. Another big inspiration, was Jesper Dahlback and John Dahlback together as Hugg & Pepp on Kompakt, those guys rocked my world.
When you have a tough week or a rough tour, how do you get yourself back on track?
Mostly by going to the gym and getting back into the same routine. Such as waking up same time daily, preferably between 7-8am to start the day. Getting yourself into a certain regime is always the key so jet lags don’t last as long. it’s also good for your mind and body. I also practice meditation. It helps me a lot, even if it’s only for like 10 to 15 min a day
Where and when are you at your most content/happiest?
Happiness for me is really seeing my loved ones happy!
Do you have any secret hobbies or hidden talents?
I love retro video games, mostly old Nintendo, Sega Megadrive, Neogeo, you name it!!! But I think my biggest hidden talent is sleeping, I mean who doesn’t like sleeping right?
Favorite and least favorite colors?
Favorite is black, as its the most calm color. I don’t have a least favorite, because the world without colour would be boring .
Favorite and least favorite words?
Favorite word is everything
Least favorite would be - Never
I’m a Cat person so yeah, cats are just my thing hahaha. But either way having animals (any kind) around is a must in any household. I will probably end up owning a zoo at a certain point in my life. Animals just bring me so much joy in life, it's crazy.
Favorite board game?
Scrabble, just so I can kick your ass.
Favorite guilty pleasure food?
Chicken wings. A good old bucket always does the trick!!!
Favorite guilty pleasure song?
German or Detroit techno?
Detroit. Those vibes are timeless!
Festival, club or illegal warehouse?
All 3, because music should be played loud anywhere.
Biggie or Tupac?
This is one is hard to choose, they both had an exceptional talent. But I go for Biggie, his rhymes are just incredible.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars, never been into Star Trek at all. There is only one Chewy. Also, I think Star Wars just looks way more badass.
Exercise or Netflix?
Always exercise, keeps me fit after lots of the traveling.