Are You Afraid Of The Darko?

In Blog, Interviews by JasperLeave a Comment


Ireland’s longest running techno night, Bastardo Electrico, is turning 14 this Saturday. To celebrate they’ve booked Wolfskuil bossman Tripeo/Darko Esser for Saturday the 24th in Cyprus Avenue. In anticipation of the event Jasper Mathews caught up with Tripeo for a bit of a chinwag.


Firstly, can you give us an overview as to what your current activities are?

My current activities are basically the same as they have been for years. Everything revolves around my day-job which is being the in-house promoter for Doornroosje in Nijmegen (where I live). I have been working there since 2000 and is pretty much the thing that keeps me grounded. I like working with other people on something that is bigger than me. It’s very humbling and keeps me sane lol. I couldn’t be an artist full-time I think.

It’s a pretty uncertain existence and you have to be able to deal with solitude very well, especially if you live in a smaller city with a small scene like I do. They give me a lot of freedom at the club, to travel around the world DJ-ing, running labels and producing. At the same time I don’t mind saying ‘no’ to gigs if my presence is required at the club or that my studio time is always limited because of office hours.

It’s a small price to pay for all the privileges I get back from it. It’s all connected the way I see it and they feed each other. This approach gives me a lot of freedom as an artist and label owner, because I don’t rely on these activities to pay the bills. That freedom is very important to me.

Smaller scenes can often drive creativity given that one has to be more competitive to draw from less potential attendees, how do you find living and working in a smaller city effects your drive and direction as a promoter and an artist?

I was and still am quite happy with my (relative) isolation. I’m a slow worker and like my peace and quiet during the week after hectic weekends. The balance between them keeps me sane. I think I would have a harder time being productive in a big city with all it’s distractions. Being a promoter in a smaller city gives you a lot of direct connection with the punters.

It’s a small and very social community that has it’s physical limits of what one can book, but at the same time will also reward you when you discover an artist they feel a connection with. It’s pretty amazing what I get away with in Nijmegen.

From an artist perspective I’m happy to have been underexposed to influences from the outside when I started. It allowed me to develop my own particular sound and workflow. Although I probably could have used some more help as I struggled big time the first couple of years. I probably had more links to the outside world than other producers from my community, because of my work as a promoter. I got in touch with artists from all over the globe relatively early that way.

Nowadays isolation is quite relative as we have so many means of communicating with each other and we can listen to so much more music then when a city was reliant on the local record-store. I can follow developments through the internet without being in the middle of them. I enjoy to look in from the outside so to speak.

Have you got a particular creative process that you would adhere to when producing a track, if so can you talk us through that process?

I start with a clean slate for every track. I purposely work without templates, to keep my mind as free as possible. Humans are creatures of habit, so the use of certain techniques and a certain workflow is inevitable. I usually start with a groove with drum-machines or plugins and take it from there. I run through several ideas on average before I find the ‘click’ moment. That moment when I know a jam can be turned into an actual track.

What is your preferred studio set-up, or does that change depending on which moniker you are producing under and style you are going for?

I use the same machines for all of my projects, the sounds produced with them are different though. The stuff under my own name is more melodic, sometimes not even meant for the dancefloor. Tripeo is more abstract, groove driven and 100% mean for the floor. I use hardware as much as the computer with all it’s plugins and digital advantages for mixdowns and storage. Hardware gives me hands on approach and the mistakes that happen make for the best ideas sometimes.

But I wouldn’t be able to finish a track on just hardware, I need the computer for that. Plus there are so many amazing plugins with particular sounds you can’t reproduce on hardware. Or it least I can’t. I use the best of both worlds, what ever will work for me for the particular track or project I’m working on.

Have to say I’m a big fan of your Juilce release on a.r.t.less, the title track is phenomenal, not enough producers are putting out good electro these days, do you have anymore electro releases in the works, of your own or through Wolfskuil?

Thank you for your kind words. I’m a huuuuuge sucker for electro, I follow that scene to the date and buy a whole bunch of records which I (unfortunately) hardly get the chance to play. I’ve been talking to Thomas (from a.r.t.less) about maybe doing an album with him. I have a bunch of electro tracks ready, but I haven’t quite had the time to properly go into the whole album idea.. Maybe 2017?

There’s been a lot of talk over the past two years of how the vinyl resurgence is having drastic effects on labels, with pressing times going through the roof in some places, as a label owner, what has been your experience of the resurgence in vinyl in recent times?

I’m happy vinyl is having a resurgence, that’s great and it’s my favourite medium to listen to music to. But it’s mainly outside of dance music. The quantities for electronic music are basically the same as they were 5, 6 years ago. I heard pressing-plants volumes for dance music are about 10% of their total and 90% pop, hiphop etc, whereas 10 years ago it was the other way around.

The waiting times are quite a pain in the ass to be honest. I have to work at least 4 months ahead, twice as long as before this peak. It’s a bit bittersweet. Dance music kept vinyl alive, but is now on the end of the waiting line because of major labels pressing up in larger volumes. It’s all business in the end of the day.

Have you any upcoming releases that you would like to give a mention to?

There’s a couple of remixes coming out in fall/winter on Suburban Avenue and Technorama. I’m currently working on fresh new material and several collabs which hopefully will see the light of day in 2017.

On the labels I have releases coming up from Shlomo, DJ Red, Cadans, Rumah and 3KZ wich I’m excited about to say the least. They have been making the rounds in my DJ sets for months and now I can finally share them with the world.

Anything else you’d like to say before we finish?

I’m very stoked to make my Irish debut this weekend. I heard nothing but good stories about the Irish electronic music culture and clubs, counting down the days!

Get down to Cyprus Avenue from 11pm tomorrow night to join the celebrations. Details here.

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