Spotlight: Tripitaka


30 Aug 17

Boxpark Croydon's BoxBar has become synonymous with weekend celebrations. Whether it's shaking off the hard-working week on a Friday or getting together with friends on a Saturday night; one thing is for certain, you can count on our resident DJs to see you through the night with the biggest hits and best loved tracks of all time. This week, we caught up with Adam - that's DJ Tripitaka to you and me - to find out what encouraged him to get behind the decks and what you can expect from him at Boxpark Croydon.

Tell us who you are and what you do.

My name is DJ Tripitaka and I'm a resident at Boxpark Croydon. I'm also part of the So Future collective and I record guest routines for a number of shows on BBC1 Xtra

When did you first realise that you wanted to be a DJ?

I first realised I wanted to be a DJ when I was about 16 and my school got an absolute don to come in and teach us once a week - shouts to DJ Krooks!.

The mad thing is, I used to bunk that class at first, can you believe that?! Once I started going along properly and built up a healthy bit of competition, going with my mates, that it really pushed me. I'm not sure if they even felt like it was competitive but I REALLY wanted to be better than them, so I'd easily spend up to 8 hours straight practicing with no rest, most days, which served me well later on when it came to working on mash-up routines, as they take a lot of work.

Since then I've never really stopped. I've done irreversible damage to my neck but who really needs to be able to tilt their head up anyway?

Who are some of your biggest influences in music?

My all time DJ idol is DJ Craze. He manages to make his routines so technical without losing anything from the rhythm. A lot of the DMC guys now are so technical that you can appreciate the difficulty in what they're doing, but I feel like it's losing sight of the point of Djing when it starts to become difficult to listen to.

When I was first trying to teach myself to scratch, I made a loop of an 8 second clip from Craze's set with Adam F at Global Gathering in 2002. I practiced along to that same 8 seconds every night for at least a week until I could work out what he was doing and recreate it. He once picked up and shared one of my routines online and it was the most pathetic fan-boy moment of my life!

Besides Craze, some of the UK DJs I'm really feeling at the moment are DJ Cable, Jamz Supernova and K2rah. VRSYJNS and Damshaq always bring mad energy to their sets. In terms of producers, I think Metro Boomin is probably the best around right now and when it comes to remixes and edits, Jarreau Vandal has got it cornered

I'm not just saying this for the sake of it but all of the residents at Boxpark are heavy! They're such a pleasure to work with and such an inspiration too. 

You've DJ'd at a number of radio stations and events - what have been some of your biggest highlights so far?

Yeah, I first got my name out there recording routines for Mistajam and Charlie Sloth on BBC1 Xtra and have been really fortunate to play alongside some of my idols.

I promise you I'm not just saying this, and no matter who asks me I tell them the same thing - hands down, the most pumped I've ever been for a set was when Stormzy came and did his secret gig at Boxpark this year, when he dropped Gang Signs and Prayer.

Not only was it an insane privilege to even witness him launch an album that went on to become a milestone in Grime, and to see how much the homecoming meant to him after the success he'd already had by that point, but the way that night panned out was crazy! Everyone was so tight-lipped about what Boxpark were up to that night that I didnt even know it was happening until Stormzy tweeted about it at about 7pm. I was just at home casually sorting out some tunes to play that night when I saw the tweet and I have never thrown my gear in my bag so quickly! I must have made it to Boxpark within half an hour of that tweet going out and, by the time I was there, the queue was already down the road and round the corner.

The atmosphere that night was so sick I've never felt that anywhere, and when you DJ after something like that it's the easiest set you'll ever play because when people are that pumped you can do no wrong. I'll never forget it.  

Your sets in the BoxBar always deliver but, for those who don't know, what can people expect from you at Boxpark Croydon?

Probably the best thing about DJing at Boxpark is that anything goes, so we can switch things up as much as we like. I love to play Hip Hop, RnB, Garage, Grime, Trap, UK Funky and Dancehall; so it really depends on what's working on the night.

I like to do quick mixes with some tricks like word play and tone play to keep people on their toes. The crowd in the BoxBar are always spot on, the energy is madness and I'm a small guy, so you can also expect to see me get thrown around quite a bit when I'm doing something right. If that's not happening then you know it's time to change things and we're given completely free reign to do that as long as the crowd is responding.

A lot of promoters elsewhere can be paranoid about some of the negative press around certain styles of music but its a testament to how Boxpark is run, and everyone who works there, that we can do what we like and there's never been a single bit of trouble at any event.

If you see me DJing then I'm happy to take requests so please feel free to ask. I'd rather see the place hyped than just work through a list of songs that I want to play. If I've got it and I think it won't clear the floor, I'll play it.

What track should everyone be listening to right now?

It's not really something that I'd play at Boxpark but the one tune I cannot stop listening to right now, and can't get out of my head, is Mina - Only

What does the rest of 2017 have in store for you?

I'm lucky enough to still have a couple of festivals left to play, Eklectica on the Isle of Wight and The Masked ball in Cornwall. Besides those, I've just joined forces with the So Future collective who have some big plans to watch out for in the near future.

I've only recently finished recording a new routine that I did for Carnival but I'm sure I'll get to work on another couple of those before the end of the year too.

Above all though, Boxpark is family and comes first. The sound system in the BoxBar is perfect, the crowd are always spot on and everyone that works there plays their part in making it the success that it is. All of the DJs, bar staff and security are made to feel so valued and we're all in it together. It's so rare to find that in a venue and I'm sure it plays a big part in the atmosphere around the place at every event.