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Ryan Papa Talks To Tranzfusion

Author: Terry Goldfain
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Despite Canberra being last on the list of Australian cities you would consider to be influential, politics aside, it is in fact the first place that many international DJs and labels look for new music and talent. Over the last few years Canberra has produced more then its fair share of world renowned artists, and just as Jono Fernandez and Matt Hoffman did before him, label owner, producer and DJ, Ryan Papa found the idea of moving to Melbourne irresistible.

"It's something I'd wanted to do for quite some time," reveals Papa. "I needed to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself or I'd go crazy. The move was a life style choice as much as it was about music and djing. In terms of music, Melbourne artists have had such a positive influence on me, and to be surrounded by people that inspire, challenge and motivate me to learn was a huge reason for the move. The quality of stuff being done by the likes of Nubreed, Andy Page and Dan Mangan, to name but a small few, is insane."

While its music scene may not be Canberra's main claim to fame, Papa, previously a resident at Friction, Canberra's most respected club, can testify that it is indeed alive. "The scene is very healthy and DJ's that visit seem to have a really good time with responsive crowds," he remarks. "The Friction guys have done a great job with their parties over the last four years. In regards to production, there are a number of really talented guys there. Karton, Nash T, Vance Musgrove and Chris Fraser are perhaps the best known, but there are a huge number of talented young producers starting to come through including Ross McGrath, Mikah Freeman and Fourthstate. I'm not entirely sure why such a small city has produced so much talent. Perhaps it's due to de-criminalised weed and not much to do there during the week," he adds with a laugh.

This weekend Melbournians have the opportunity to hear Papa, as he follows on from Chris Fortier as the next of Private Function's special guests. Yet while his bio leaves no stone unturned, referring to his DJing style as "an assortment of deep, percussive, underground house, bass driven progressive, melodic emotional breaks, twisted tech house and bone shaking techno", I wanted the spiel straight from the horses mouth. "I really am into a wide variety of music, and my idea of djing is simply to play my favourite music at the right time to the right people," Papa explains. "What I play this weekend will depend a lot on the dynamic of the night, but I think you can expect to hear some funk and melody. I'm really looking forward to the gig as the combination of great crowd, great sound and a cool venue has made the PF's I've attended quite special. The amount of time Dean Millson spends on preparation really stands out on the night. It will be my first appearance at PF, and my first on a big sound system in Melbourne, so it should be a lot of fun."

While Papa's reputation as a DJ has been built over five years, he's also made a name for himself more recently in the realm of production with the well received release of Lost in Vegas, and an upcoming album. "The idea behind the album has taken lots of different turns, but I finally feel like I've got my head around it and a direction. I listen to and am inspired by such a wide variety of music, and I really want this to be reflected on the album. I haven't given myself any deadlines or thought too much about what I want to do with the album when it's finished, as it's more for my own development and quite personal to me."

Papa is just as passionate about his and Chris Hastings label, Stigma Recordings. "For me the most rewarding part of running a label is helping artists whose music I like to see the light of day internationally. I have good friendships with all the people we've signed which makes this even more rewarding. Currently we have a couple of digital releases out thru EDM digital, and a number of projects signed and waiting for release either dig