INTERVIEW: PALMER

Actualizado: jun 16



PALMER creates music that works in all environments and transcends genres. His openness to a wide range of sounds is what has made him a widely loved favorite, but also someone who operates in his own parallel musical world. We had a chance to talk to him, so enjoy your reading and check out his latest releases from him.


Who is Palmer?


Hi! My name is Raphael Palmer, I’m a 32-year-old data engineer, designer, DJ,

producer, and labelhead at Tropical Twista Records, I’m currently based in Chapada

dos Veadeiros, a national reserve in the middle of Brazil. Nice to meet you!


How and when have you been interested in music? And electronic music?


I’ve been a guitarist and flutist since an early age, playing at progressive rock/metal

bands with friends. Every different period of my life changed my taste in music in a

way, until one day a friend of mine introduced me to some tracks from artists such

as David August and Kollektive Turmstrasse, which completely changed my

perception of music. A bit later, as luck would have it, I ended up by chance in an

underground party in São Paulo, it was the 4th anniversary of Carlos Capslock, with

Isolee as the headliner. Right there I knew I had found something special. And here

we are now!


Can you tell us a little about your experience? Where are you from / how did

you get into music?


I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, but lived most of my life in Brasilia - Brazil’s capital.

While there I learned how to play guitar and flute, because I liked a wide range of

music, from progressive rock to Celtic and traditional folk, and Brazilian music.

Since early, in my social circles, I’ve always been the person responsible for

curating a playlist for any number of random occasions, this helped me exercise the

ability to match the music to the ambient and the people in it. In my early twenties, I

moved to São Paulo and that’s when I discovered electronic music. Things started

falling into place and that musical harmonizing skill became more present in my

daily routine as I got progressively exposed to the ever-growing music scene, trying

to find my way around and my own musical self through experience. I’ve always had

the impulse to share good music with old and new friends, so in a way, DJing has

always been there in one way or another, as I’ve always strived to make people

around me feel as good listening to music as I did.





How is your sound evolving? What artists and genres do you enjoy mixing right

now?


I feel that my sound has taken a path towards minimalism, I try to combine these

elements with melodies that please me, without being constrained to a specific style

or genre. It’s very hard for me to define the type of sound I make, but I’m very

inspired by artists such as Ninze, Powel, and Stroka (that remixed one of the tracks

from this EP), for example. Right now though, as I’m building Tropical Twista’s 6th 3

anniversary V/A, with only Brazilian artists, I’m focused on more local projects such

as Palma Dulce, Isadoser, Kurup, and Iru wav, to name a few.


How do you feel that your music influences or impacts your listeners?


I think that my music brings something different to my listeners ears, because

they’re not necessarily dance music, nor always tailored to be played at parties, but

I feel they’re always interesting to listen to. I like to challenge people’s perceptions

by balancing different elements to brew the sensation of the unexpected.


What projects are you working on right now?


I’m currently working on a rebranding project for Tropical Twista, which includes a

new design, developing professionally the organizational side, and several other

internal aspects to make the label come together more harmoniously than ever. To

symbolize this new phase, the label will release a 6th anniversary V/A very soon.

This compilation expects to include around 20 Brazilian artists, representing the

experimental side and variety of our national electronic music. 100% of the

Bandcamp’s profits for this V/A will be given back to the artists, as a way to help our

local musicians, which are among those who suffered a huge hit during this

pandemic, especially in Brazil.



Where are you and what have you been doing now?


I’m currently living in a farm in Chapada dos Veadeiros, a national reserve in the

middle of Brazil. Given the current pandemic situation, this came in handy, as living

away from the city allowed not only for the necessary distancing but also for some

introspection, which has changed my views on many things, including, once again

and not surprisingly, music! Right now I’m balancing my time between working,

organizing Tropical Twista, taking care of my cats, swimming at beautiful waterfalls

and enjoying nature.


What was the first idea that you built the Palmer sound on? Has that sound

changed a lot in recent years? What is your musical criteria?


I always try to have a concept behind my music. It doesn’t need to make sense and

it’s not always clear from the start, but it always shows itself somehow. My sound

has changed a lot, but it depends more on my mood and my surroundings, I try not

to follow any specific formulas and let the ideas pop in and out on their own. Once I

feel I have something interesting, I start building on that. I’m a hardcore perfectionist

so one of my base criteria could be defined as “everything has to sound and feel

good”.


What can you tell us about Conjunction?


Conjunction started with Saturnine, which is a mix of many different elements, from

the crickets recorded in a river nearby, to the purring of my cats. It was a challenge

to balance and bring everything together. A bit later I produced Selene, I remember

it was a full moon when I was working on it, and I felt it had influenced the music in

a way. So I worked with a concept to link those two different tracks together, and

Conjunction represents the alignment of Saturn and the Moon, two opposite

energies, logic and emotion, balanced together.

Do you feel safe now to play a more experimental sound?

Yes. In a way I think my sound has always been sort of experimental. Even when I

try to make regular, dance-floor oriented music, my productions always end up

taking a turn for the weird. As a producer, I learned to accept my personal style and

feel more secure with the music I make. We already have so much good music that

fits a specific style, that sometimes maybe it’s more interesting to have something

different and unexpected to listen to.


We all know that the digital revolution has affected sales, but has it affected

creativity?


It definitely has, although we isolate ourselves physically, It’s impossible not to think

about everything and everyone that the current situation affected, and not feel

affected by it at the same time. It is constantly in our minds, so it has an automatic

effect on all outcomes of everything we produce, especially art. For me at least, it

requires a state of surrender and focus that has become harder to achieve. I’m

extremely privileged to be where I am now, but even living in a remote farm can’t lift

the collective burden we’re all carrying right now.


Can you tell us what your present and future projects are?


My main focus right now remains on organizing Tropical Twista and evolving my

own productions. I want the label to grow and increase its reach, broadening the

audience and getting more people to know all this musical diversity we have. I’m

very much looking forward to travelling around a bit as well, playing in different

places and for different people from different cultures. It’s a challenge to stay

focused and concentrated on what’s important to achieve the end goal, that takes a

lot of work, but I’m on it!


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