WMC Preview: Q & A with Richie Hawtin

Richie Hawtin was touring Australia last week. Now he is in Miami for WMC. After Miami? Who knows. He lives for his music. His music has layers and layers of beats that are played over and over until your mind becomes hypnotized.


It has been called "minimal techno," and it is what I am listening to right now. I emailed his publicist some questions while he was in Australia, and a few days later she responded: "Here are Richie's answers for you. They're actually in-depth and great answers! I learned a thing or two about Richie myself! Please read the following email interview, and learn. Richie Hawtin's live shows are legendary. He is playing at Ultra, but we were more concerned about his record label's showcase at Karu & Y tomorrow night, Thursday March 26.
 
 

New Times: Tell us about the Minus Showcase at Karu & Y on Thursday, March 26.
 
Richie Hawtin: Well for us, coming back to Miami each year for WMC is always exciting as it's a time to see old friends, meet new ones and remember and reconnect with how much fun our scene is and can be.  We keep all of this in mind when we make the line up each year for our Minus WMC event, bringing together a nice group of friends who are going to enjoy one another's company, let their hair down, relax, play music and have some fun...   Perhaps this sounds like any normal night, but at this time of the year the whole summer schedule which can be quite intense and tiring has not begun, so everyone is fresh and has full power to take the party to the next level... let's see where we all end up!
 

You are credited with pioneering Detroit's "second wave" of dance music. Where do you live nowadays (we hear Berlin is you current home), and how does each city that you live in affect your work? Also, you always seem to be touring...how would you compare Miami to other major cities in the world ?  
 
Your surroundings always affect your general mind set and feelings while always framing the situation around your studio time.  Berlin and Detroit, and every other city, have different personalities and locations to both inspire and entertain which usually end up filtering their way into your work.   For me both Detroit and Berlin share common ground of both being cities with rich histories but turbulent pasts, shaping the attitudes and architecture that is quite conducive to creating electronic music!  Miami is an interesting city because when you just look at the Beach strip it can be a little bit too flash and commercial, but with the old downtown, it's clubs and warehouse districts, Miami finds a very interesting and distinct balance between bling and roughness unlike most other American cities.
 
You have performed inside a Masonic Temple. Do you know whether or not there were any actual Freemasons at that show? And, what is the most interesting place that you have performed or recorded?
 
The Masonic Temple was indeed an active place for the Freemasons and we had to have special connections to be able to use that venue... as some people say, connections are everything :)  And actually another really interesting place that I performed in the late 90's was another old (decommissioned) Masonic Temple in Pontiac Michigan where we put together a very special event based upon my Plastikman Consumed album with a full 3D surround sound system where we had people running around the dancefloor 'chasing' the sound!
 
Last night, I fell asleep while listening to Richie Hawtin Radio, and I had an interesting dream. In the dream, I was jumping rope in only my tighty-whitey underwear. The jump rope was hitting these drums and I had to jump faster and faster to keep the beats going. Do you think that your music had any influence on my dream?  

Well when you only talk about drums and percussion I would imagine so.  My music is (as you know) stripped down to the bone (perhaps why you were nearly naked), raw and always based upon an underlying rhythm....  sounds and basslines filter in and out but the beat or the 'idea' of beats are always there... hopefully spinning you out of control much like was seeming to happen in your dream!


Right now, its basketball season, and while I wrote the above question, I put the TV on mute and cranked up some Plastikman. With your music in the background, watching basketball is like watching some kind of modern ballet dancing. You composed music for the opening ceremony at the 2006 Winter Olympics, and your music goes well with sports, exercising, dancing, and other physical activities. Do you play any sports? Are you a sports fan? What are your hobbies outside of making music? How do you stay in such good shape, while living a nomadic lifestyle?

A lot of the sports that I enjoy center around water.  Swimming, Scuba Diving and my new favorite, Surfing, all concern finding a way to connect your physical self mentally and physically to water.... gliding, riding and diving.  I find all of these sports interesting because they are both intense for body as well as calming for the mind... hopefully this is somewhat like many of the Plastikman tracks that I've produced in the past.  I hope that the music I create is both appealing to the body and mind allowing you to dance full force on the dance floor, hide in the corner of a club with your eyes close, or while relaxing at home.  Music must work on many levels to be fullfilling and interesting which is in my opinion very much like a good sport.  

With my laptop, I can write these questions and email them to you, while listening to your music on MySpace, taking moving pictures of myself typing on the webcam, chatting with friends on IM, cutting and pasting info to and from various websites, watching the NCAA College basketball tournament, and playing a game of chess with Marc (who lives in France). Can you remember what life was like before cyberspace? How has the internet changed your career as a DJ? And, what do you think is next?
 
The Internet allows us all to multitask in ways that we would have never imagined only a few years ago and in the fast paced world of international DJ'ing it's a must.  I believe that the whole progression of electronic music and electronic communication (fax machines, cellphones, internet etc) are directly linked together.  Without the options that these technologies have offered us I would not be able to travel and stay in touch with my friends and family or even the promoters and crowds throughout the world...  in my line of work, the world would be a much larger and lonelier place without these communication options and I really don't know how long anyone could keep going around and around the planet without some connection to their own reality.



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