Ramon Tapia may have come from a very musically driven family, but that’s not why he’s found the success he has as a DJ and producer.
To put it in his own words he’s “not the type to give up.”
Even for the thousands of people who listen to his music but have never met him, this is painstakingly clear. His touring schedule is dense and nearly endless, and his release schedule is no different. Although, concrete details like those aren’t the only indicators.
Loyal listeners will note an almost uncanny ability to rework his sound. Whether it’s under his real Ramon Tapia or his side project, Amari, Ramon never gives up on innovation and this translates to his original tracks, DJ-sets, and his work curating his label Say What?
We caught up with Ramon ahead of his debut at Clinic to discuss everything from his introduction to dance music, his thoughts on the album format and more.
HL: Over the last few years, your stops in Los Angeles have been relatively sparse. How does it feel to be returning to this city? Do you have any fond memories of playing here?
RT: One of my biggest memories was playing close to the city in San Bernardino for the Escape from Wonderland Festival. Great party with some great people, of course, the city has more to offer than parties but I never have more than 1 or 2 days so I never make it to all the places I want to go.
HL: This will be your first time playing Clinic Wednesdays. How do you feel about playing a midweek party compared to a weekend party?
RT: I don’t do so many midweek parties to be honest, as I’m mostly in the studio in the week. I’m really curious though as it will break my week for sure.
HL: I read that a huge boost to your career was releasing an album back in 2008. Today the album format is being cycled out for playlists and singles. What do you think of this change and what role do you think albums play in the modern music scene?
RT: I think the album format is still good as you can showcase what you have and can do musically. When you just release singles things will get confusing when you have multiple genres or styles on one release. An album can still have a big impact on your career so as far as I think they still play a big role in the scene.
HL: What is your goal with Say What? You’ve always bolstered a very diverse style of producing and DJing, do you look for artists who share that quality when signing them to the label?
RT: Not really. I just see and feel what I think is good and we release that. So that can be with a big name or a newcomer. What’s good is good. And to be honest some newcomers still surprise me on a monthly basis.
HL: You will be spinning at Clinic as Ramon Tapia, but you have another project called Amari under which you release your more melodic sounds. What’s next in the works for the Amari project?
RT: Next release with Amari will be on All Day I Dream with my longtime collaborator Lost Desert. He’s one of my long-time friends and once in a while we jam around and this new one is a result of that ( but we also laugh a lot and don’t make music at all). Amari is not my main project but I love to jam with my friends so if this is techno, house, deep, down, green, yellow whatever you wanna call it. I’m in.
HL: You have a very rich background both musically and ethnically. How do you think your father’s history as a Chilean musician has affected your music? What about your mother’s roots in the Netherlands where techno and house are very important to the culture?
RT: To put things straight I never saw my dad as a musician. He was just playing around, so I got that from him. My electronic roots came mostly from my sisters as they came home with tapes from the big clubs which I had to listen to 24/7. As the youngest in the house, I had nothing to say but to listen and I’m happy it all happened like that. It sculpted me musically to what I am now.
HL: Another way your family influenced your music was your sisters introducing you to dance music with tapes back in the early days of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Where do you think you would have ended up if they hadn’t shown you those tapes? Still as a DJ and producer or something completely different?
RT: Probably not to be honest.
HL: You just had your first track out on Drumcode via their A-side’s compilation. It’s titled “Sonic Therapy” Tell me a bit about the track. How does it feel to be on such a legendary label?
RT: It’s a great feeling of course. It was one of my goals for 2019 to get on there, and it came true. So you see hard work and a hard focus on what you want can make anything happen. But some people forget that things really don’t come easy so if things don’t happen the first time not giving up is the message and that can be tough for the mind as setbacks always hurt. But I’m not really the giving up type. I gave the track to Adam a year ago so I was more than happy when he told me like let’s do this! But more will for sure come.
HL: 2019 is coming to close. How do you feel looking back on this year? What are you looking forward to in 2020
RT: 2019 was a great transition year moving from the more tech-house vibes to techno and releasing tracks on Truesoul, Terminal M, Drumcode, and Suara so the year was not bad at all. 2020 will bring more releases of course with a new one on Suara , Say What? , and also working on finalizing a Filth on Acid Release so I’m off to a good start again.
Ramon Tapia is playing Clinic on November 13, 2019. Get tickets HERE