From The Mind Of Richie Hawtin

From The Mind Of Richie Hawtin

Few DJs or dance music producers have taken as much interest in the historical narrative and ongoing narrative of techno music as Richie Hawtin. Certainly, his legacy is tied to this story. Hawty's production and rendition of the same songs, along with live entertainment and performances, gave him pride of place in the dome. For many, his most lasting legacy is his event performance - artists who traveled to Detroit's infamous Hawtin parties in the mid-90s and covered entire rooms in black plastic (which can be a fire hazard and should never). Today) with panel discussions ranging from the history of techno to the new artists who toured CNTRL ten years ago.

His CV is impeccable: Hawtin's work as a Plastic Man, in addition to running the Plus 8 and M_nus labels, was at the forefront of techno in the 90s and 2000s. He has always been dynamic on the decks: the Hawtin's SoundCloud page is packed with jaw-dropping DJ sets from every vintage, including official CD releases like Classic Turntables, EFX & 909 (1999) and DE9: Close to the Edit (2001). in the form of several live tapes, from Power 96, Detroit, November 1989, to Flavor, Denver, April 1994, to two live sets starting in 2021.

As a father of two – one 15, the other 18 months – Hawtin has also turned his broad and truly varied interests into a side hustle. He has invested in companies, created music for Prada and recently co-designed the Model 1, a professional DJ mixer produced in a more compact and affordable model for a wider market. Hawtin rewards "long discussions about the creative process" with people from all walks of life: "I'm curious and I like to explore," he told a Metro Times reporter on the phone from his home in Madrid. "All these projects come from a creative field and not from a commercial or economic field."

METRO TIMES: 2019 was the last time you were really on the road in the United States. Did the result of the quarantine play a role in your decision to do this tour?

RICHIE HAWTIN: Yes and no. I think jamming helped accelerate the exposure of a lot of new techno artists, or maybe just artists, because there was a lot of flow. In fact, the stream has allowed some young artists to make new connections, work in the studio, and perfect their craft. They've come out of COVID with new speed — and that's part of it.

But honestly, this tour goes back about 10 years after EDM exploded in America and 2010, '11, '12, '13. I've played places like [Electric Daisy Carnival] and really big commercial electronic music festivals. I did this in hopes that we would reach new kids: maybe an EDM fan would stumble across techno and hear something different.

We were also touring CNTRL at the time and trying to reach the next American generation a bit more. There's a 10-year gap and then COVID. It really looks like something is going to change now. There is a new generation that has infiltrated over the past decade that is ready to take this music in a new direction or just develop it or show off their talent. It was really the beginning of the idea of ​​doing this kind of tour.

I remember seeing you in 2015 - a daytime lecture tour with panels, an introduction for children. It's not that kind of tour, but I'm curious what similarities you see between this tour and this one.

We have developed events in this tournament. But you're right: there have been a lot of panels and discussions. He tried to get in touch with young people who had heard of techno and were interested. The signs gave an outlet for kids, maybe in school, who didn't want to party late at night and made it a bigger market. One of the women on that tour, Lindsey Herbert, was at one of those talks at the time and is still on tour. So I clearly see connections and links to what we were trying to do then and what is happening now.

Simply put, one of the most exciting things for me in my 30 year career has always been finding a good, strong connection with new DJs and producers who can learn from me and inspire me, but also vice presidents. on the contrary – inspires me and gives me new energy. It happened in the early days of Plus 8, when we had a whole collection of young producers – we were all young producers. Then it happened again in the 2000s with Magda and Troy Pierce in the M_nus era. And then we did it on the CNTRL tour to keep in touch. This is another point where you feel, or at least I feel, that there are new people coming onto the scene every week – but there's a big generational shift happening now.

More than 30 years have passed since I started a new phase in my career. It's just important for me to share and encourage this energy between children who are learning, understanding and hearing techno for the first time in a very pure way and this solidarity, this love for electronic music.

I hear a lot that techno is getting more commercial these days. Maybe it's because I live in St. Paul and not in a big city: I go to a lot of parties here, but I don't often come across techno outside when I watch it. Where do you think this happens the most?

When you use the word techno, it covers a wide range of music; so we use the word techno loosely. It is very earthy, or at least recognized by people all over the world. In Europe, even in the Instagram generation, there is a great interest in techno with hooks and melodic phrases, with catchy hooks, samples of old records, with trance, like in the trance of the 90s.

I think over the past 30 years - as a collective - we've made music that has slowly seeped into mainstream culture. Everyone in the studio is using technology now, so the records you hear on the radio sound more techno. So it's not necessarily that techno is generally more commercial - it's more often the accessible sound and the path behind it. These futuristic electronic sounds are closer to ordinary people's ears.

Outside of your work, where do you currently see the techno genre?

The techno genre - it's an interesting topic because it's the first time I can remember that there was such a buzz in the early days of techno. There's a whole techno genre that pretty much repeats what happened in the 90s, only occasionally re-recording some of those great records and finally reaching new audiences. It's scary sometimes, because if you start making records that sound like the past, techno with its futuristic ethos starts falling apart.

But I think that's part of it. Techno was very new and fresh back then. I don't know if it can stay this young and fresh forever because it's an art form now. Now there are articles, stories and even academic courses to learn how to make techno beats. But we are in a different place. Sometimes I stand on the floor and scratch my head and say, “Oh, they made this record 40 years ago. And then, on the other hand, I'm like, 'Wow, that's exciting. It's a brand new record." That's who we are. Some people like to look back and reinvent, while others look forward and try to find a way to make techno fresh and exciting. . Like the people who my ken [ken] Me, I've always been very minimal, rhythmic, drum and bass based, very rhythmic, very, very little vocals, really hypnotic - that's probably the word I'm looking for. ..

It is in this tournament that the commercial part takes place. As this 90s revival unfolds, this tour takes inspiration from that era as we return to the warehouse, really raw, really dark. But it brings artists together and brings together what I'm a part of, or what I think Jeff Mills is a part of, Robert Hood is a part of, and that's forward with the minimal, hypnotic style that they've put together. . What's important to me is that I'm from the North American area and they are connected to Detroit and bring North American artists together to see their acts progress.

Yes, you have always been historically informed and have always tried to make your audience at least historically aware. Although what you are describing sounds like a double edged sword. Does this ever happen?

It's because he doesn't want to preach to anyone about "the day" and all that. When I say the word "so", I start rolling my eyes. But it's important to let people know that this music has a bigger history today than it did two, five or even ten years ago. There's 30 years of modern techno, and if you go back to the previous records, the breakthrough records of Juan [Atkins], there's another 10 years. If you go back to Kraftwerk and people like that, 40 or 50 years.

How do you put it all together when you're always impatient and trying to make new music? One of the ways I do that is through a tour like this, and by connecting with the younger generation and hearing them perform, hear their conversations, talk, exchange ideas, share the story, share the efforts and I hope that kind of energy shared between us is transcended. all of us and are torn on the dance floor and these young artists are torn as they pursue their careers.

The talks you're talking about now, is there anything going on behind the scenes on this tour? As viewers, will we experience it?

There is no public debate in this cycle. Whether at the airport, at the restaurant, at the hotel or during soundchecks, we hang out, chat and spend time together. But I think those discussions and that kind of time will be heard and felt in the sets that we all play together, on tour and I think after the tour.

You talk about camps. Of course, you can't get away with covering everything in black plastic like before.

[ laughs ] Yeah.

I don't know if you want to donate, but what can you do now?

I think most people are used to going to clubs or festivals or watching festivals like Tomorrowland or something live on YouTube. Everything is overproduced. So much eye candy. Indeed, today's festivities are sometimes more for the eyes than for the ears. To counter this and get back to camp, we really need to bring everything back to basics: a big dark camp, some simple lights and a great sound system and good performers. I think it's the best recipe for a good evening of pure techno music.

I have always been full of contrasts. Of course, I like high class events. I'm one of those guys born in the 2010s with all the stage presence from Plastikman to live, visual and underground techno. I think there is a need and a place for it. But because we've been cheating more visually over the last 10 or 15 years, I think it's really important to remind people that you have to cheat with your voice first.

I still remember the wonderful times at the Detroit Institute of Music or the Packard [Factory]. At some point you forgot if your eyes were open or closed because it was so dark. And you are simply mesmerized by the wonderful music. Maybe that's the essence of what we're trying to achieve in this tournament.

"What we need is to bring everything back to basics: a big dark warehouse, some simple lights and a great sound system and good performers."

My next question was literally about the Institute of Music. It seems to me that the black box, minimal lighting, loud music might not be the only pattern - maybe not the only one. But I know it was a very important club for you.

You can also start talking about the Chicago Power Plant and other places I can't really go. But I was at the institute. I loved going to heaven with Ken Collier. They were just black boxes that recorded music.

I think we're in a very scary place where the eye is what's sonically good. This is the case for many industries, especially the music industry, where we have our main communication channels on sites like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. It's really important to try to use those channels and use the way we communicate to connect with people, but then bring them back to where they're forced to just focus on the music.

From your experience, do you think that will be a big step for many young people? Does this fully correspond to your experience?

The tour is small and the capacity is small, so we won't have many people. But I think we have a great opportunity to offer visitors to our show a truly unique and new experience.

You mentioned that these are low capacity pages. What size are we talking about in Detroit?

I'm thinking Detroit...let's say on tour...You know, it's good to have some secrets. The capacity for the whole tour is 400 shows, and at the peak it's around 1000, so usually 600-800. And that's it.

We've been talking about socks since we got involved with the CNTRL. After that we really want to go around the CNTRL camp. We never got along. We couldn't find the camps. We have not found the organizers. The scene in North America did not seem ready yet. And I will say there were things, but [they] probably weren't organized enough for us to shoot. They were too short.

Last year I got to play in a warehouse in Houston in front of about 300 people with the band I'm touring with now. It really took me back to that time – and the contrast between looking back to the 90s and [also] looking forward. It was like a warehouse party in the 90s, but all the kids there were the same age as us in the 90s. And they weren't all there for techno. They were there because they were suspended. They did not enter the usual concert that evening. They didn't want to go to the local bar to pick someone up and take them home. They were in this filthy warehouse and listening to incredibly loud music. And I was like, "Wow, it's happening again."

This is the most interesting part of this 30 year cycle. These guys were just excited to do something different. It was really a mystery: OK, I think it's time to do it . We actually started talking to the gang who helped us arrange the tours. They have a network of like-minded young promoters and other DJs across North America; together they bring everything together to bring the next generation to old and mainstream techno music.

Paxahau presents: From Our Minds - To Be Announced 2023 Barbosa b2b Tour with Jay York, Decoder, Huey Mnemonic, Lindsey Herbert and Richie Hawtin on Friday, March 10 from 9 p.m. at an undisclosed warehouse.

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Wicked Games (Edited by Richie Hawtin) Chris Isaak


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