MFF Pod 154 Ramon Tapia Banner(1)

Labels : Say What?, Agile, Bedrock




What do you get if you take the offspring 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 rather unique combination of circumstances, a producer whose eclectic past and upbringing combined to create one of the freshest sounds in techno music of recent years.

Ramon was born and raised in Holland, and followed in his father’s footsteps in his teenage years when he began producing. His mother met his father some years after he escaped from Pinochet’s Chile, where his own music had incensed the military government and made him a cultural dissident. Ramon’s youth was thankfully not as turbulent nor dangerous, with the young talent brought up on a musical diet that was incendiary in its own way: Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Kraftwerk, Front 242, and the early pioneers of Detroit techno. His two older sisters played a key part in his musical formation, sparking his imagination with tales of dance floor epiphanies upon their return from clubs of the country’s heyday.

Once bitten by the techno bug, Ramon moved to Belgium’s scene capital, Antwerp, to study as a jeweler and diamond cutter. It was a part-time job in a record shop that helped to decide his destiny, however. He began producing tracks with a colleague, and slowly learned to produce solo. After a fruitful period producing much tougher techno, a resurgent Ramon Tapia began to find fame under his new moniker in the late 2000s on labels like Herzblut, Craft and Yellow Tail, forging a new school techno sound that blended the slower, sexier sounds of the contemporary vibe with his schooling in the genre from the past few decades. In 2010 he mixed a compilation for New York’s legendary Strictly Rhythm, plundering their back catalogue for a full mix of new interpretations by him and various collaborators. This marked the biggest turning point in his career, catapulting him onto the world stage. “It was a great opportunity and made me grow in a lot of aspects.” he says.

The cream of Holland’s techno scene soon followed suit, with his worked snapped up by 2000 And One’s Remote Area and 100% Pure, Shinedoe’s Intacto and Secret Cinema’s Gem Records and further afield by Germany’s Great Stuff and Tiga’s Turbo. Remixes for Paul Weller, Armand van Helden, Nic Fanciulli, Marc Romboy, Monika Kruse, Mauro Picotto, DJ Sneak and Umek and many others came. Eventually in 2012 he set up his own labels, Say What? Recordings and collaboration label Aella Music (which he runs together with Hermanez) to proliferate his sound further. With tinges of his Latin background lacing his percussion sections and his Dutch/Belgian heritage providing the basis for his hard-grooving techno template, his sound is one that mixes organic, tribal rhythm and syncopation and electronic machinations to potent effect.

Ramon Tapia is a humble man enjoying his dream job. He just wants to carry on doing what he does best with no hyperbole, egomania or bullshit: rocking dancefloors and releasing infallible grooves. “I want to take Say What? Recordings to the next level, do some big collabs, just enjoy my work and let the music I make and DJ speak.”


Hello Ramon! How Are You? What do you have scheduled for today?
i am in Cusco Peru at the moment … chilling and playing 1 gig here 2 morrow

You are label owner (SAY WHAT?), producer and touring every weekend. How do you manage this massive schedule?
to be honest i don’t know myself … i just do whats has to be done 😀

Please tell us a bit about your latest releases!
i just had a great release on toolroom and incorrect … and i am now waiting on my release on MFF which is going to be a biggie

Which release was the one who gave you the most attention so far?
i had a lot of releases but the last one on toolroom gave me a total different audience which is good so i get know in all areas

As you are touring a lot, please tell us something about your experience around the globe. What is your favourite city or country and why?
its hard to say which is my favourite place , every country has something special but if i really need to choose i would say all countries in south america everything here in the scene is still soo pure ….we cant imagine that anymore in europe

What was your funniest or craziest experience while touring?
its always funny hahaha 😀

What were your TOP 5 gigs so far?
fabrik Madrid
revolution with carl cox in athens
my residency in sankeys ibiza
All the Festivals in Holland
and the MFF shows

What are your top 5 tracks that are really working the dance floor in your sets at the moment?
Ramon Tapia – Split Second
Hunter/ Game – Adaptation
Zigg Gonzalezz – The Kind ( Storm Dub )
Martyn – U1 – U8

Thank you for your time and this interesting interview!
Interview by Lars

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Dj T – Shine on – Dj T wtisted rework
Basti Grub, Natch! & Dothen – Oh baby dance
Ben Remember – They Answered back – Jhonsson remix
Ray Okpara – Terry Road – Larry Cadge Remix
Deepgroove – The Clock
Caytaz & Patz – Just Sayin
Marcelo Cura – onenone –Arado Remix
Huxley – Still Love
Kevin Over – Sat Rush
Sabb & Boyan – Not Feeling That Fine – Kevin Over Remix
Ramon Tapia –Second Split
Ramon Tapia – Yellow Submarine