‘Its Been A Huge, JumbledUp, Confusing Development: Richie Hawtin On The Current State Of Techno
In the fall of 2012, Richie Houghton toured the United States for the CNTRL Tour, which aims to introduce young people to the history of dance music. The run included lectures during the day and, of course, dancing after dark.
This moment was not chosen by chance. It was the beginning of the EDM era, when the sound of big halls lit up the main stages of new festivals and megaclubs in the United States, sending a new generation of dance music fans like moths to a pyrotechnic flame.
Sensing the wind blowing, Khotin created CNTRL to bring electronic sounds beyond EDM to emerging dance music fans. Khotin has been a staple of techno and minimalist techno since the Canadian producer first got into it in the late 1980s. (After all, his hometown of Windsor, Ontario was a short drive from Detroit, the birthplace of techno.)
Over the past decade, Khoti's vision has successfully drawn audiences into techno, and it may be too good to be true. In the last half century, the underground sound has gone mainstream, and one of its variants, that is, tech house, has become the hottest and most exciting dance music genre that is currently replacing mainstream music in the United States. electronic dance. . .
"It seems like the techno sound was really influenced by the rise of EDM," says Hawtin at Zoom. “What's happening on stage is really a mix of 90s techno, big drops of EDM and solo music. The development in the last four or five years has been very confusing and even confusing.
After re-reading the room, Khotin decided it was time for another tour designed to enlighten the audience through the dance floor. Our Minds, which ended earlier this month, played eight shows in cities across the U.S. and Canada and featured a lineup of up-and-coming techno producers (“other like-minded people,” as Howty puts it). His techno-creative skills are 'faster, crazier and stronger', but less than that." (One of the featured artists, Lindsay Herbert, discovered techno while attending a CNTRL concert in 2012.)
Hawtin is backed by this team - Herbert, Barboza, Declan James, Decoder, Henry Brooks, Guy York, Michelle Sparks, Deep Paddy, Huey Mnemonic and Jia - as part of a network of underground producers caught up in the pandemic. He calls this time "a great incubator for new talent" because it's kind of a level playing field. Anyone who can turn on a computer and play a stream or shoot well has a better chance of appealing to fans at home than at home. go to clubs and expect international tours. I think that's about it. Helping the next generation of artists, especially in North America, is driving more than it has in the last two years."
The post-pandemic moment reminded The Wife of her early days on stage, just another full-circle moment rooted in our Thoughts. Here, Hottie touches on touring and technology in general.
Given the dominance of techno in the US right now, do you have a good idea of where things are at? Are you satisfied with the sound?
Yes, that's a good question. "Agreement" is a good word. I think part of it is the belief that electronic music and even some forms of techno are really popular right now. it is big. Where before on big stages you could tell it was some kind of trance or house, now it's definitely techno. And yes, it always satisfies the guy who wants to see more people come through the techno door.
But it doesn't satisfy my need to feel part of something alternative. Because I don't think that all the music that gets played on the big stage is actually made or created or liked by people who feel a little bit different from the crowd.
What do you mean?
I talked to everyone on tour and we all got into this music because we didn't really fit together. We feel strange. I guess I don't feel as weird as I used to, maybe I'm totally normal now, but that was a big part of the attraction that no one ever heard of. So, while part of me was feeling a little overzealous, part of me was very excited, funny, inspired to go on tour again with other like-minded people, playing staccato, mellow music and performing in front of audiences. to look; outside, you feel a little uncomfortable and end up on another dirty dance floor.
It's almost exactly what you're trying to do with CNTRL in terms of educating a mainstream audience about the roots of dance music, which has worked really well, e.g. ".
Yes! Be careful what you wish for. I've thought a lot about how the brute force of techno has grown so much. I remember some decisions [I made]; I even re-read some interviews from 20-25 years ago and what you said or did to welcome people into this world. I never wanted it to be so isolated and so internalized that it became a hierarchy.
Electronic music, art music, and the music that started my career and attracted me in the late 80s was very different from what was happening [at the time]. People I wouldn't otherwise meet. I hope these ideals can still be found on the dance floors I play on. I think that as the music, the theater and the reception grows for all people, the bigger it is, the less there is and the more consistent the dance floor.
Why do you think size and length cause homogeneity?
Got an answer? Can I, for example, do without talking to anyone? I believe that an open, eclectic and free dance floor should be run and/or populated by very extroverted people. And in fact, I think the internet and social media have spread the idea of 'let's all be different' and also 'let's all be the same'. When social networks and these platforms are for promotion, marketing and letting people know what's going on;
Globalization facilitated by social media elevates everything to the point where everything looks the same regardless of region.
When you think about music and places like Spotify and this long queue that they're talking about, it's all weird things at the end [of that queue]. Mainstream isn't just big pop, it's a lot of things that sound the same. The same artists over and over again. I was talking to a friend about a great electronic musician who has a new album. I thought. "It's like they invited a bunch of other people to work together like other pop albums." Very similar.
You've mentioned that big tech is coming home, but how do you make the transition to the more exotic locations you love?
Actually, what I decided to do on the tour was music that I always liked. It's based on what's happening now and definitely other types of electronic music that I like, which are definitely faster tempo and power driven, but simpler. Most of the typical vocals and other references are absent and just cute.
I was recently talking to another artist who was performing in New York. It was a big warehouse party, but they were playing more of this [hypnotic] style of music and people weren't sure what the reaction would be because they weren't raising their hands. And it makes no sense to throw your arms in the air outdoors or at a big festival. But in a dark and noisy warehouse, I think the best thing you can do is let people immerse themselves in the music and maybe not interact, maybe not look at you. Maybe you don't need to be on stage. In all our events, everyone was on the ground or maybe high so that people could see their heads .
Installation degrades the artist.
Yes, it is. I don't know if we want or need to go back to the faceless DJ in the corner, he hasn't gotten any real attention or respect, maybe that's too much. As part of the tour, we brought in Aslice, which allows [artists] to upload their [set list] after the event, and [people] can donate money to those songs, which is a cue to bring more. The money is intended for producers who create music and don't earn enough through various mediums, especially streaming.
I am part of [the company] and I take such initiatives very seriously. Because firstly, artists and producers need that money, and secondly, it reminds us that no matter how good a superstar DJ is on the dance floor, they won't make good music. Everywhere.
correct. It also humbles the artist on stage and reminds us that it took a lot of artists to put this band together.
This tour should also remember and celebrate that we are all consumers of [man-made] music that doesn't really exist. It's a really special situation when someone else's music comes on and someone is in control and people get lost in the music that they hear or don't hear. 99% of concertgoers don't expect to hear and sing their favorite song.
This tour seems to have allowed you to represent your favorite artists in a format you actually believe in.
The look of the dance floor, the dark warehouse, the minimalism of it all is the foundation on which this whole scene is born. As we said before, we can well feel that it actually turns into very different things. But if the institution does not work, if the institution is not respected, if the invisible artists and producers are not respected, everything starts to fall apart. If I've played a small part in helping things grow over the past 30 years, I want to be a part of keeping the foundation strong for the next 30 years.