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
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
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
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!