A Year Of Catharsis With Techno Icon Sven Väth
The process of letting go and thus letting go of strong or repressed emotions.
It's also the title of Sven Vaz's first studio album in over 20 years and his 50th album, released earlier this year on the legendary Cocoon label.
Sven Vaz is an educator at heart, but also a multifaceted artist, DJ, producer, company president, club pioneer and world-renowned electronica legend. His ability to connect with everyone on the dance floor during every show is a rare gift. Part of that goes to his mother, he told me.
"Mom was my best teacher."
I met him before Christmas at his last performance in London after a year of dancing his Coco whistle at several concerts in Europe. In 2020, I wanted to know how the forced shutdown caused by the pandemic in early 2020 started a process that led to a non-stop touring schedule that ultimately led to catharsis.
The title of the album sums up his journey after he was forced to do what he loved. He says:
"I was shocked. I have never had such a difficult end to a career in my life. But it allowed me to look back at the images and musical archives of my life. I thought about it in 1981 and 1982 because I was playing it.' And it passed in the first round. Then I had an idea of what band to play in. I just sit and listen to music that I play from 81 to 90 for about 3 months.'
Always looking to the future, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for nostalgic reflection kicked off something special, culminating in not only Sven's first studio album in two decades, but also an impressive array of personal origins.
This is a 12" x 12" vinyl box set that I played with in my first 10 years of DJing and in the early days of electronic music. He says:
"The difference he's always looked forward to and suddenly having time to think and reflect on where it all started. It brought back so many memories and made me fall in love with all this music again."
I played with six themed playlists, starting with Balearic sounds from the early 80's to the late 80's, for a total of 120 tracks, forays into Afrobeat, European New Wave, EBM and some old American techno/house tracks in between. A 12x12 vinyl collage was created from these playlists.
In the early 1980s, German clubs such as Vogue and Dorian Gray danced to what we now call "dance classics" - mainly disco, funk, soul and chart pop. A new generation of DJs, including Sven Fath, who at the time was the youngest artist in the German Rhine-Main region, had to create club mixes. Looking for and finding good new leads and potential land fillers was rare. Sven says of that time:
"The 80s were a great time and we had so many different genres and different looks that went with it! After those listening sessions, I also started writing a book, so I'm hoping to publish that next year as well. It's going to be full stories, interviews and lots of photos from my life.
After this nostalgic reflection on his remarkable life and career, he finally took a well-deserved rest in early 2021 at his spiritual home in Ibiza. At that time, the creation of the album Catharsis accelerated. He said to me:
After not doing what I love for a year, I was in Ibiza with my girlfriend and I started writing songs, brainstorming ideas and started thinking about making my first album in 20 years. , My company Cocoon, structure, events, booking, management, etc.!
Before the pandemic, Sven finished his last season with Cocoon in Ibiza, celebrating 20 years of pure fun and great electronic music on the Isle of Wight. Cocoon has been an integral part of the evolution of electronic dance music on the island since 1999.
The countless Cocoon parties in Ibiza this summer have been amazing. Kraftwerk, Underworld, Richie Hawtin, Solomun and Bicep, Charlotte de Witte, Dubfire and Tale Of Us are just some of the great bands that have performed not only at the famous club but also at many amazing venues. Autumn shows in Ushuaia and Benimoza Park. 2019 was Koko's last year in Ibiza, and after a stunning two-decade legacy he has become part of an electronic music legend, but as Sven told me:
"There is nothing to do."
So, in early 2021, Sven calls his friend Gregor Thrasher and returns to his hometown of Frankfurt to work on what turns out to be catharsis. He says:
Gregor knows music so well. I called him and he was like Sven, I've been waiting for this for ages! So I went to his studio, we opened a bottle of wine and I went over all my ideas for him and told him how I was listening to all this old music and was inspired by it. Then we did the track One by one The album was completed in 3 months.
Catharsis is slated for spring 2022, following the release of lead single Fire. The track became an instant classic and was accompanied by a stunning online video featuring archive footage from Sven's impressive career. This was indeed his call for next year as the festivities returned to what he loves most.
The Sven album and subsequent world tour catalyzed a year of musical catharsis for me and my friends. In 2019, after reminiscing with Sven in Ibiza and in Berlin at the Watergate for Cocoon's 20th anniversary, we decided to pick up where we left off before the outbreak as we were allowed to dance again. Unforgettable experiences on the dance floors of London, Berlin, Edinburgh and Ibiza provided the therapy we needed after those difficult years.
I had the chance to thank Sven before he took to the stage in London for his last gig of the year at Koko. He said to me:
"I really feel your love, we really enjoy the moment and the music, and it's great to know that you brought your family and friends to participate."
EDM and the Sven 2022 dance floor proved to be an absolutely cathartic experience for me.
Looking ahead now, I think 2023 will be another vintage for Sven. According to him:
"We are what our thoughts create."
Sven Väth - Catharsis is now available on Cocoon. Click here to stream.
Sven Väth - What I Used To Play is available for pre-order at Cocoon.
Thanks to Sven, the Cocoon team and Robin from Time Warp for the wonderful photos of Sven at this year's homecoming event in Germany and Brazil.
Below, listen to the playlist Sven listened to during this year's Catharsis world tour, including the Catharsis tracks mentioned earlier in the interview.
Sven Watts - to be afraid
Claude von Struck, Walker and Royce - Enthusiasm
Sven Fat is us
Harvey McKay - Black Spider
Excluded - autumn
BDB - Rhythm Boss
Sven Watts Mysterious sounds
Metal Master - Spectrum (Bart Skiles and the Whisca Reinterpretation)
Planetary attack systems are reflective
Rhythm Odyssey and Dr. Thank you - Mr