MAKIN' NOISE: RAMON TAPIA | DJMag.com Skip to main content

MAKIN' NOISE: RAMON TAPIA

Machine body rhythms

Ramon's father, a musician, fled the fascist Pinochet regime in Chile in the 1970s. 
“My dad and his friends were always playing around and making music just for fun, but when the Pinochet regime came they started making music against this regime — or, at least, with an anti-Pinochet political taint,” Ramon tells DJ Mag.

When other musician friends started disappearing, and his dad heard that they were all on a government blacklist, they decided to flee Chile. “They got to know a captain of a big oil ship from the Onassis family and left the country,” Ramon explains. “This was a hard choice, but being sure of survival and life was stronger than all the other reasons.”

Ramon certainly ended up in a good spot for house and techno. With his mother and father eventually settling in Holland, he was soon surrounded with the Belgian new beat and house tapes that his older sisters would bring home from clubs. He quickly started DJing himself at the age of 15, playing hardcore and rave. He gravitated to techno — “from Kevin Saunderson’s KMS Records, to Jeff Mills, Frankie Bones, and so on” — and lost himself in the wonderful world of machine body rhythms. “They just make your body move without you knowing it,” Ramon says, “techno has this power to go deep in people's souls, even though it's a machine producing these sounds you are listening to. It’s an uncontrollable force.”

Starting to produce at 22, he released a couple of low-key things on the Music Man sub-label Pocket and Gayle San's Equator stamp before his 'Sweet Lullaby EP' on Craft put him on the map. It led to him being asked to do an album for Great Stuff, 'Mini Jack', and he's released on a string of labels since — most recently Skint, who released his 'Trolley EP' last year and are now putting out 'I Call It Bass'.

With its warm analogue bassline, old hardcore synth washes and crisp tech beats, 'I Call It Bass' is foregrounded by a deep Tiga-esque vox that turns out to be by Ramon himself. “I tried to write something cool, took the microphone, closed the door and went for it,” he smirks. “It wasn’t directly spot on — I’m not a singer, and it's always a bit weird to hear yourself — but after some tweaking around I got the vibe that I wanted.”

Ramon says he's particularly loving Loco Dice and Sneak's sets at the moment, and launches into an explanation of his new Say What? label that'll be releasing everything from deep house to tech house

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