Interview: Ramon Tapia
Interview: Ramon Tapia
El Carlitto ou Ramon Tapia n’est plus vraiment un artiste inconnu à ce jour. Après quelques sorties sur des labels comme Corachi ou Pocket, cet artiste nous fait une première pause carrière avant de revenir plus en forme que jamais. Après quelques productions sur le pseudonyme d’El Carlitto, il retourne à son premier pseudonyme artistique Ramon Tapia pour une release sur Craft Music avant de nous proposer un premier album, Mini Jack, sur Great Stuff Recordings. Un album qui n’est d’ailleurs pas passé inaperçu. A l’approche de son deuxième, cet artiste, au parcours atypique, nous a consacré quelques minutes pour une interview.
Before starting, we wish to thank you for giving us a little of your time for this interview.
It is with pleasure.
So to begin with, can you tell us a few words about you, your background and your career?
I am Ramon Tapia. I was born and raised in a small town in Holland, my dad is South American and My mom dutch. My dad left South America because of Pinochet a dictator of that time in Chile. When I was 16, I moved to Antwerp to study Jewelery and instead of studying good I got hooked on music. In my free time, I was able to get a job in the well-known record shop USA Import in the centre of Antwerp. That is the place where I evolved my musical vision. First, I started with Hardcore but soon I saw that there was much more then only that. I made my first record in 1998 but still with other people helping me out. After a while, I got tired of explaining things and saw that they did not understand what I saw in my mind. I wanted to do it all my self and started to go full force on production skills… and I did. My first solo record was in 2004 on the label Corachi a small label from Belgium and the second one on Pocket a sub label of Music Man and got some huge reactions from big DJ like Sven Vath, Carl Cox and many others. After that, I had a sabbat for like three years to finish my studies and I was on the edge of giving up the music… but after some good thinking, I knew that music is in my blood and goes everywhere. So why give up your biggest passion. In 2007, I created a new name El Carlitto to just express myself in any genre and see if I still had the feeling. However, at the end of 2007, there where so many people asking for a new Ramon Tapia record that I made new record and that was the best thing I could have ever done. It jump-started everything again and I was back on track. Soon I got the attention of the Great Stuff Recordings gang and the rest is history.
What attracted you to djing and then to production?
The Music…, making people happy, and smile on the dancefloors. It gives a big adrenaline rush when you play your own record and people go nuts.
What is the difference between Ramon Tapia and El Carlitto?
Actually El Carlitto was just an experiment and that experiment went better than expected. So in a short period of time it melted together again. If I have to say a big difference… hmmm not really … El Carlitto is at rest for a while now but never know when he can pop up again.
You mixes for over ten years now. Can you tell us how you saw the nightlife and the music evolve?
I think I saw the music evolve together with my own musical style… and I think nowadays we are treated so good. We can get music everywhere on the Internet, Beatport, What People Play, etc. So I think in that way the internet gave us huge perspectives… In the nightlife vision, I think a lot changed… However, at the end a good party stays a good party if it was in the 70’s / 80’s or now.
Last year, Great Stuff Recordings released your album Mini Jack. How did this collaboration begin?
It started with my Sweet Lullaby record on Craft Music, the label of Tomcraft. It worked out so good that they asked me to do a seven tracks mini-album on Great Stuff Recordings and so here we are.
Your next album Colorzz will be available soon, also on Great Stuff. What is the evolution between Colorzz and Mini Jack?
Eheheh to be honest the name changed again ahahhaha the album will be called Sunka Sanka now… My agent thought that this name would be more different then everybody. To talk about the evolution, I think I have grown up a bit more with my music comparing to Mini Jack. It sounds a bit more serious and it became a bit easier in style but still pounding. It is a mixture between techno, tech house and house. So it is a thin line I walk on. You can call it Tapia Style.
You had also produced for label like Get Physical, Yellow Tail, We Play House, etc. Is it an honor for you to see that so many renowned labels like to your work?
Yes it gives me a lot of pride that I really can do something good but it also shows me that I have still a long way to go if you have to compete against big names like Audiofly X, DJ T, Thomas Shumacher, etc.
What are your influences, your favorite artists? Who inspires your production?
My favorite artists hmmm… Actually, these are all non-dance related… I am a huge fan of Quincy Jones, Pharrel Williams, James Brown and all these guys. They have one big thing in common: THEY ARE ALL FUNKY ASS HELL!!! And talking about inspiration. I get inspiration from the simple things in life. Everything that gives me a buzz, I get inspiration from …
If you could choose, which artist would you work with? why?
James Brown or Quincy Jones… They both have and had huge insight of getting people touched with music. Then do not forget these guys are the starters of our dance and hip-hop culture today. Do I have to say more?
In which country or parties/club do you prefer to mix? Where do you dream to mix?
I do not really have a favorite. As long as I have people, a dj booth and lots of fun, you can put me anywhere… hmm… Where would I see myself… at Amnesia in Ibiza or Cocoon Club.
What advice do you give to young people who want to start now?
Go for it and do not give up. That is the most important. It takes a lot of time to learn it and then make share you are different then everybody. That is how you are recognized.
To mix, rather CD, Vinyl or Digital?
I mix with CD but it does not matter as long as there comes sound thru the speakers. People don’t care with what you play as long that the music is good.
And to produce? Hardware, software, or both? Which one?
I use everything… why wouldn’t I… Use what you can.
Have you ever had the urge to create your own label?
Yes. I have but it takes a lot of time and now I do not have a lot of time so maybe next year 😉
The music industry is in crisis today. It questions and must be redefined. How do you see the future of the music industry?
I see most of the music become free… because the illegal downloads are everywhere. So at the end fighting is almost useless.
What is the future of vinyl you think? And physical support in general?
It will stay for the freaks that still want a vinyl to play and not CD or with Traktor.
What do you think also of piracy and file sharing on the Internet? An idea for a solution or a global license?
I think it sucks but yet on the other side it brings you to other people to. So the knife cuts on two sides.
What is your vision on the current music? The music we hear on the radio or videos we see on MCM or MTV. All these small « one-hit-wonders » constantly popping up (and resembling each other) who are famous one second and forgotten the next?
Well that is how it goes artist come and go. And what is on MTV and all that stuff it’s the big companies that rule that… So as long as they don’t bother me I don’t care 😉
If I ask a small playlist of ten timeless titles? Any time and any style confused, what would the selection be?
Hmm it would be head cracker because there is so much good music from now and of course from the past… so better don’t ask or maybe we can do a separate page for all the tunes that I like (laugh)
Before you leave. A final word about your future projects? A small scoop for TheClubbing?
Well the full album is coming on Great Stuff Recordings and some big collaborations with Secret Cinema from Holland , Emmanuel from Be As One Imprint and so much more I could keep talking about it for days but you guys will get bored. So just keep tuned and check my myspace now and then…
Thank you for taking the time to respond and we will see you very soon on the dancefloor.
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