Interview: Ripperton

Swiss artist and veteran producer Ripperton talks about boundless creativity, turning views and observations into musical components and having coffee with Swiss painter and illustrator Pietro Satro, as he appears on ESP Institute with the Sight Seeing LP.

It’s always endlessly refreshing seeing an artist operate outside of the boundaries created by set expectations. On “Sight Seeing”, Ripperton explores well beyond those boundaries and shares the outcome of pure musical expression without any agenda outside of representing the self. Inspired greatly by expansive landscapes and views from airplane windows, the fifteen-track travelogue is simply a bi-product of introspective exploration.

With the double LP being released via ESP Institute, we caught up with Ripperton and talked about boundless creativity, turning views and observations into musical components, having coffee with Swiss painter and illustrator Pietro Satro and other things to come this year. “Sight Seeing” is scheduled for release February 9th. Grab your copy via Bandcamp.


Welcome Ripperton, first off the usual icebreaker. How have you been and what did your day look like today?

Hello, I’m gonna answer few interviews this morning while having a cup of coffee. Then will be studio time and I’ll finish my day going to see Opuswerk’s residency at The folklor, a club near my place.

With 2018 well on the way now, how are the New Year’s resolution holding up – if there where any? And are there any guidelines you wish to uphold this year?

I try to not wait on this to make nice things you know! Every day is the time to bring positive changes in your life and routine. To be more benevolent to each others.

You starting your musical year with an album on ESP Institute, titled ‘Sight Seeing’. Tell us a little about the idea and thought process leading up to its creation.

Well, all started few years ago when I moved into a new studio. It was a busy period in terms of bookings and I was pretty exhausted of club things honestly, so while I was setting it up I wanted to go somewhere else. So I bought a guitar, some pedals and a looper and started to explore new textural territories. I visited a lot of time the second hand stores around my place to find k7 tapes and decks. It was a really cool  process now I’m thinking about it.


As the press release states, the album is inspired greatly by expansive landscapes and views from airplane windows. Can you tell us about how you spend your time during those flights and how they inspire you.

Did you ever notice that almost no one in a plane take a look at the windows? How strange is that?  Seriously I can spend 3 hours watching by the windows. It shows you the world we live in. By night… by day.… It’s one of the thing that makes traveling worth. When you fly over Rio De Janeiro or Washington you can realize how much  people live on this small planet and the difference of « way of living ». It freaks me out sometimes what you can see out of a plane window. It’s not only a positive thing it’s also bloody oppressing!

Tell us a little about the process of turning those views and observations into musical components – must be difficult.

Not at all, it’s easier than you think. It’s a feeling, a way of thinking, an impression.  I just have to find the same feelings in sounds. It only takes time and layers. That’s what I do, that’s my job, I translate and express emotions and feelings in music. Club things or ambient  sketches, for me I’ve to work on it the same way. I has to be perfect to my ears.

Although your musical output has been quite diverse over the years, ‘Sight Seeing’ is easily your most divergent material to date. Does this diverse output reflect your broad musical interest when growing up, or did that interest expand over the years?

This may be true for what I’ve released so far. But what I do with my artistic life, what I do everyday at the atelier, I’m the only one who knows. I’ve made the choice to not start another moniker because I sincerely believe that an artist must do whatever (s)he wants without any borders or limits. You can be a painter and a sculptor or a poet. It’s the society we live in that puts us into little boxes and it’s not something new. Fuck that. I want to surprise myself, I want to go where I haven’t been yet. I’m surrounded by friends that share with me beautiful music all the time, and that inspire me so much you know, it can be country music or jazz, I just want to feel the message behind. I like what the music does to me.


Usually the most unexpected and divergent creations, come closest from heart. Is that the case with ‘Sight Seeing’?

Absolutely. When you turn yourself into who you are and what you want to say it is for the better. This is my more personal work to date. Done in a really intense period in my life, I was at the turn of 40, in the scene for more than 23 years now. I’ve accomplished many things but it’s never enough!

It takes time to mature as a producer and DJ, to focus more on only one thing instead of doing 10 things at the same times. Again this world we live in is crazy. I feel that people are out of their life… They walk on the streets watching youtube, they are in the subway and dive into what Facebook throw out for them. It makes me sad to witness this.

We’ve to say, initially we were pretty surprised seeing your album land on ESP Institute. After listening to it, it’s easy to understand why. What was the reason you selected ESP Institute as a good fit for the album?

It’s great that you were surprised, I love that! It’s great because of all I said before. It’s also fantastic that you took the time to listen to this project as did Andrew at  first. ESP institute is a label I think every producer wants to be on. Why? Because it’s a labour of love and you can feel it on every release they’ve released so far.  That’s where I want my music to be released on. Behind every great label there is an artist hidden. It’s the common point between Versatile, Planet E, Border community or ESP.

As Andrew and you have been longtime contributors to the scene, your paths must have crossed over the years. Tell us a little about your connection to the record label and its owner prior to the release.

The funny thing is that we actually never met. I’ve follow him and his label for years now, and I really like the low profile he keeps despite the amount of wonderful things he has achieved. That’s a really Swiss spirit if you ask me!


The album has a real sort of storyline feel to it, was it put together with the intention of people listening to it beginning to end? If so, was that the reason you send it to ESP Institute in a mix format, rather than as separate tracks?

Yes, this album should be listened in one go, absolutely. The mixtape was my choice to present the album differently. As all the tracks were made during the same period with the same spirit, they all work together in a mix or not. There are also tracks that were on this mixtape but not on the album. The main reason is the time, and it was already long for a double LP.

‘Sight Seeing’ is accompanied by a beautiful cover from Swiss painter and illustrator Pietro Satro, born 1930. What’s the story there?

One night walking back from my mother’s place, I saw a painting in a showcase. It was something I was familiar with but can’t remember why. I took a picture of it. Andrew and myself we were really enthusiast about it for the LP.  The day after I went to the shop to buy it and ask if I can use it for a cover but the price was really more than I could afford. I went back home made some research and found the website of Pietro Sarto. I called the number and guess who answered me? Pietro himself. He told me to come over the next day for coffee at 9 sharp. All summer I went in is atelier and he was telling me stories about so many interesting things and he made this amazing engraving for the album. Meeting someone like him really changes your mind and your perceptions of what is the art life. Back then he needed almost two weeks of work to make this engraving plate. He built himself all the machines to press all those engraving on paper in one go! Even the paper is a piece of art. A life devoted to his art: to teaching, to painting and engraving. He’s a true master and a gentleman.

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Is there something you would like listeners to take away from the album?

I’m just hoping this album will follow them in their own garden of thoughts.

Whats on the horizon for Ripperton?

I’m gonna release an amazing album from Iron Curtis on Tamed musiq before the summer. I’ve also finished a new EP with a wonderful remix by Vessels that should arrives soon. Some remixes I’m really happy with from Romanthony and Jimi Jules.


Sight Seeing is scheduled for release February 9th. Grab your copy here.

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