House and techno producer Raphael Ripperton burst onto the international dance music scene as part of the mighty Border Community label, linking up with the seminal UK imprint as it was enjoying its most formidable years in the mid-aughts. Born in Switzerland, Ripperton started his career as one-half of Lazy Fat People with Mirko Loko (an artist who himself had appeared on the Wagon Repair and Planet E labels). When Ripperton decided to go solo around 2007, the style that marked those early collaborative releases stayed with him, and he became know for deep, melodic, and moody productions with a penchant for the dancefloor.
Since the beginning, Ripperton has let loose with a prolific string of consistently high-quality releases and remixes, making his reputation as a purveyor of tasteful house, techno, and minimal undoubtedly deserved. Beatport News caught up with him recently, after this year’s Decibel Festival in Seattle, where he kindly took a moment to talk of his time at Border Community and to tip his hat to America’s underground music scene.
How did your initial connection with Border Community develop and lead to the 2006 release of the Big City EP as Lazy Fat People?
James Holden came to play in Lausanne once. We [Mirko and I] were playing with him and were already huge fans. That was just before the rise of Border Community, and we had a really nice feeling about the connection, so a couple of months later we sent him a few of our songs and James loved them. About one month later we were signed and my life as a DJ/producer changed radically.
You have always kept a distinct sound that manages to stay melodic, yet still driving. Were there any influences or aims that led you to this sound?
I think music only exists through the melodies. Do you wake up with a percussion loop or a white noise filter-sweep in your head? For me it’s all about the feelings you get from melodies.
Do you have a residency in Switzerland or any other cities at the moment?
No, I unfortunately do not.
Seeing as you just played Decibel Festival, what is your opinion of the US underground? Were there any tracks that went over exceptionally well?
A good soundsystem is definitely the most important thing. Open-minded dancers with smiles come right after; you guys have both here. I was also really impressed by the whole lineup and the underground stream through all of Decibel. I mean, Europe should have more lineups like that as a festival, but it is almost never the case. If I’m not wrong, you had a lot of people traveling in from the whole country for this event and that shows the love that many of your citizens have for underground music.
And you want to know what is the track that rocked the most? Damn, I need to be honest on this, JohNick’s “Play The World.” The best broth is always made in the oldest pot, isn’t it?
What is your opinion of the current “EDM” craze in the US?
I think that the United States has such a nice, rich heritage in dance music, but now it is turning sour, sadly. But, like I said with the name of my latest EP, Let’s Hope.