Alongside his remarkable contribution to the series, we had a deep and pleasant chat with Tripeo to find out more about his vision on the Techno industry, his residency at Buenos Aires Under Club, and his upcoming projects among other topics.
- Hi Darko, we are glad to host you on Paradox. What have you been up to lately?
Thank you for the invite. The past couple of years I’ve been touring quite a bit, which was absolutely amazing. I met so many great people and new friends and got to see the world. It’s been a bit quiet on the studio front because of this and the fact that I still have my day job as a booker at Doornroosje, a club in my hometown Nijmegen. But that’s changing quickly now I’ve found the right balance again and have been making a lot of new music recently I hope to share with the world soon including some special collabs with various other artists.
- You’ve mentioned in a previous interview that the main obstacle in playing under Tripeo is to limit yourself to one genre, whereas your taste is a lot broader than that. Yet sometimes you have actually played different stuff on a Tripeo dj set. How did the crowd react to that?
I’ve made the split between Darko Esser (for house, disco etc) and Tripeo (techno, electro) so I could diversify myself without it getting too confusing for the crowd. But then again all these genres are so broad and I like so many different flavours of them that all the sets still tend to be quite eclectic. I find that if you bring it in a logical manner, that crowds are usually very up for some sidesteps here and there. I’m always looking for crossing points. A trippy, tooly house track from Mr G for example fits very well in a techno set, just as electro does. It’s about making the right connections and the give and take game in every set. If I play (all night) long sets I tend to play more tracks from other genres like electro or house, because in this context it makes more sense and people seem more receptive for diversions then in shorter sets.
- By the way, how do you feel the crowd “open mindedness” have evolved during the last 10 years in the techno scene?
Maybe I’m very lucky with the places I play, but I have the feeling I play for pretty openminded crowds on average, because I feel get away with quite a lot. So my perception is that there’s a general open mindedness going on in the techno scene. Not everywhere of course (which I don’t consider to be problem honestly), but every country seems to have these hubs where people come to be surprised and dive into what the artists in the booth have to offer. I think that also has to do with the fact that the scene has exploded and there’s a lot of different flavours to try from plus the genre has a 30 year history and discography.
- You seem pretty close to the Dutch London-based artist Cadans, with whom you’ve released the first opus of the Tripcol series. How did this collaboration started and what’s coming up next for it?
I’ve known Cadans for 15 years now, he comes from Nijmegen originally and was a resident at the Drum & Bass nights (Jungle Galaxy) at Doornroosje. When he moved to London to pursue a (very succesful) career in Drum & Bass, we kept in touch. He always made techno tracks which I loved, so it made sense at some point to do a release on BALANS and later on Wolfskuil. The collab grew naturally from there, we made those 3 tracks in 2 days. We are working on new material as we speak, it’s unclear at this point what we will use it for. For the collabs series there’s also a new one coming up from Doka and myself. We are finishing that EP at the moment, it will prob come out early 2018. Doka is one of my best friends and we have a very good connection in the studio.
“For an industry that’s based on emotion it can be artificial sometimes.”
- You lately have played again in one of your favourite techno spots, Buenos aires Under club! This time it was a special gig as it was an only vinyl night. First, what have made your experiences in that club so special? And has that night made you think of playing vinyl sets more often?
I don’t know, it was love at first sight. It’s hard to put into words. There was this instant connection between us. And the owner, Joel, is like a brother to me. Even though my Spanish is not so great and his English isn’t either, we communicate on a different level. One of those examples were music exceeds lingual and cultural barriers I suppose. I’m a resident there now, 3 times a year and I will be doing the first release on their vinyl label around November. I definitely came back with a taste for playing vinyl more often. It was so much fun to do that again. Actually I played a bit of vinyl the next couple of gigs I had after the Under show.
- A new Tripeo release is soon hitting the shops after a 2-year-break. Did you feel that this break was necessary for the Tripeo project to come back with a new energy or inspiration, or was it simply because of a lack of time?
Mostly the latter. I found myself with a lack of time for a long time and then it was kinda hard to get into the groove again. I obsessively prepare every gig I have, so that takes hours and hours every week. Then I have my dayjob of course, a girlfriend, the labels and a social life. I’m very bad at short sessions in the studio. I need time to get into things and tend to work pretty slow. It’s only once I have an idea that I like, that I’m able to finish things quickly. I’ve restructured some things now, so I’m able to have more rest for making music. At the moment I’m making a lot of new tunes. Expect much more releases in 2018, not just on my own label.
- You also run the very qualitative Balans records. You’ve decided to change the label’s logo and graphic signature with the latest release from Italian talented duo 3KZ. Can we say that this new artwork comes along with a new artistic direction in the label? And does it refer to a personal change of state of mind about life in general?
Every once in a while I think it’s good to do an artistic overhaul for the labels. This time it was mainly aimed at the artwork in general. Musically the artistic direction will not change much. I think the next couple of releases are maybe a bit more Detroit orientated then some of the music I released on the label before. But I think that’s more of coincidence then a thought out new artistic direction from my side.
- Talking about balance, what are the key elements for finding the right balance in life?
If I find the answer to that, you are the first to know haha. Because I don’t think I’m quite there yet 😉 I do notice that the older I get, the more relaxed and peaceful I’m becoming. I enjoy what I do more every year and take more time to relax.
- According to your biography, you seem sensitive to the “contradictions, roller coaster rides and paradoxes life can put in front of you”. Can you tell us about few paradoxes you’ve experienced in the electronic music industry?
For an industry that’s based on emotion it can be artificial sometimes. Social media specifically put that more into the foreground. Almost everybody presents himself or herself at their best: all gigs are great, all aftermovies show happy people with closed eyes or hands in the air etc. It’s very hard to be critical in such an environment when you are in the spotlight. I have a love/hate relationship with the medium because of this. I’m trying to play the game in a respectful way and be as honest as I can, without making things bigger than they are or stepping on people’s toes. Another recent thing that’s been coming to light is that for a scene that’s based on inclusiveness and tolerance, we don’t seem to be very tolerant of people with views that are opposite of our own and we consider to be vile. That’s a highly sensitive and difficult subject, but something that should be addressed and requires self-reflection from our side. The mob mentality I’ve seen on several occasions lately worries me quite a bit. Nuance and context get completely lost sometimes in the noise and anger. If we want to get closer to people on the other side of the isle, I don’t think exclusion is the answer. We should keep a dialogue going and not discuss it in a way to win the argument. To talk and listen to someone whose viewpoints differ extremely from your own is very difficult, but essential to bridge gaps imo.
- Running 3 labels, a club artistic management and your own artistic projects must be very dense… What does your typical working day look like?
I don’t really have a typical workday lol. Basically everything I do professionally revolves around my work as a booker at Doornroosje. The labels, DJ-ing is weaved around it. Because most work I can be done over the internet, I don’t necessarily need to be in office to do it. I can do label work simultaneously. Preparation for gigs as well. I listen to new music while doing work for the club. The only thing that’s different is studiowork. I need to be at peace and at home for that.
- Are there any new artists and labels focusing your attention that you want to share with us?
Too any to name here, so I’ll focus on artists from my own labels here. You already mentioned 3KZ earlier on. These guys are extremely talented and make some of the best Detroit orientated music that’s being made at the moment. In September there’s a twelve inch coming out from 2 Israeli producers and an Israeli remixer: Deep’a & Biri and Yotam Avni. Also extremely talented artists that imo deserve more attention for their work. Next year I will release a single, hopefully 2, from a recent discovery of mine: Hemka. She’s a young producer & DJ from Paris, who blew me away with here high tempo scifi techno with an irresistible groove. Her tracks or some of the biggest in my sets in recent months.
- What can we expect from you in the near future?
The Eight Trip is out now and in November I will release the Kilombo EP on Under Club Recordings. I’m working on new material as we speak including remixes for Shlomo and Hemka for my labels Wolfskuil and BALANS. And of course the collabs with Doka and Cadans will hopefully see daylight next year as well.
Thanks a lot Darko, we hope to see you very soon somewhere, keep the balanced vibe on!
Love and respect
Thank you for the opportunity and a big hug from Holland!