Fly BerMuDa Interview mit Richie Hawtin

Englisch only:

In advance of Richie's FLY BerMuDa appearance, he's announced the launch of Plastikman Arkives. You can pre-order here: www.plastikman.com/arkives

What are the advantages of festivals over a club experience?
Clubs are nearly always more specialized, catering for a narrower group of people while festivals generally go for a wider appeal.  As an artist it's always important to find ways to progress your art-form, building your fans and inspiring further development of your genre/scene.  Having a good balance of club gigs vs. festival gigs is one way to do that, allowing moments where you have the freedom to experiment within the smaller clubs and the ability to introduce a wider audience to your ideas at a festival.  Everyone needs an introduction point to something they've never experienced before, a Festival can be that doorway where the audience stumbles into something they weren't expecting, perhaps seeing an artist before or after the artist they were waiting for, checking out another stage in-between. 

How does preparation for a festival vary as that compared to a club gig?
As a DJ who creates an experience out of other people's music, the best preparation is to have enough variety in your material (within your own musical spectrum) to be able to grab a diverse group of people and bring them into the same musical focus.

In 2008 we was visiting a friend who has studio in the same complex as you. He said he heard you working with the volume really loud on several occasions? what were you doing?
Yeah, I actually think I've not only pissed off all the neighbours near my studio complex, but also the other musicians and producers (sorry).  Most of the 'noise' coming out of my studio for the past few months has been me working on the Plastikman Live show and the Plastikman Arkives project.  I attribute my LOUDNESS to the fact that my studio in Canada (where I recorded for 10 years) is a building that I own, with no neighbours, and I always had the luxury of playing as long, as late, and as loud as I possibly wanted.  Add to that the fact that I've been DJ'ing over 20 years now and that my ears aren't what they used to be and it's not really surprising that the Police are frequent visitors to my studio!

Your resurrected Plastikman with a live show that has been getting great reviews since its debut at Time Warp in February of this year. How long did it take you to build it all up?
The original idea of bringing back Plastikman Live was in March 2009.  Once I had my head around what I wanted to do it took another 6 months to test the ideas, technology and build the team and then another 6 months to take it from 'paper' to the stage.  For example, we did a full setup of the LED Cage in August 2009, setting up the whole 'idea' in a warehouse in Mannheim just to see how things might look and feel.  It then wasn't until Dec 2009 after another few months of work and testing that I green lighted the project and confirmed to the promoters who we had already been talking to that the shows would in fact happen.  Plastikman Live is very intricate, with several layers of overlapping technologies stitched together by a group of friends who believed in an idea without really understanding if it was going to fully work until we stood in front of it...  blind faith!   As you can imagine, we are all very happy and extremely proud in what we have accomplished... so far! :)

How much new music have you made for the live show and/or how much of it is old material modernized and/or remixed and reworked?
Although much of the music you hear in the 'current' Plastikman Live show is based upon older material, it has all been created from scratch.  For me, part of bringing Plastikman back was the challenge to go into the archives and not base the show on samples of old songs, but on the ideas or sounds of the older material and rebuild it for 2010, giving everything a fresh new perspective.  

What made you think it was time to bring the name back?
Plastikman always comes back when I feel there is something missing in the electronic music scene.  Plastikman Live fills a gap between small underground Live performances (real Live shows with machines and equipment) and larger scale (mostly pre-programmed) electronic music concerts.  I hope that Plastikman Live brings the most distinct visceral physical concert experience to the widest & largest possible audience, leaving as many people scratching their heads wondering what just hit them.

You are known as one of the DJ's who is known for pushing the developments of software to the limit with your DJ sets. How do you feel about the DJ's who are seemingly - for lack of better term - "lazy" with the software? One of the points of digital djing is so that one can push the boundaries of djing, but many of them are just playing track after track, although they are no longer bound by the constraints of two or three turntables and a mixer.
The original idea of a "Disc Jockey" was someone who played back music to an audience, one track at a time, so perhaps many of these 'lazy' DJ's are throwbacks to that original idea.  I also do not believe that the 'lazy' DJ can only be attributed to the rise of digital DJ'ing as I continue to see seriously boring DJ's with both turntables, CD players and yes, Computers.  DJ'ing and performance should be dynamic and as an artist you should be a master of your game and in full control of the tools that you use to practice your craft.  If you cannot use those tools to create a unique and engaging experience, then perhaps it's not the tools that is the problem, but the person behind them.

DJ's such as your peers Zip, Sven Väth, Ricardo or DJ Koze are routinely highly rated DJ's who still play vinyl. Do you think that as digital djing becomes the standard and newer dj's are routinely able to use the advantages of digital djing to their fullest, that sets from these dj's will leave club goers, "unsatisfied"?
I feel that DJ's who continue to play only vinyl will find it increasingly difficult to get all the music that they may want to play just due to the simple fact that not everything is released on vinyl now-adays (hence why you see Sven & Ricardo both using CD's more often).  The other problem that they are faced with is the continuing trend for clubs/festivals to 'tune' sound systems (speakers, amplifiers) specifically for the dynamics for the digital performer.  This usually means that often the digital DJ's have more 'punch', 'power' and 'pressure' in their sound compared to the Vinyl playing DJ's.  This does not mean that the music is any better or worse between the different types of DJ's, but it can give the audience the perception that the digital DJ's are actually better, just due to the overall better quality of sound or perceived loudness.  The other problem that we are faced with at the moment is that the art-form of blending 2 (or 3 or 4) records together into a seamless mix is sometimes being overshadowed by all the special effects that the digital DJ has in their arsenal.  But in my opinion,  all of these special effects shouldn't cloud the fact that the best sets are ones that build through a fluid tapestry of sound, moving left, right, up and down... building tension, anticipation and taking us all on a journey that we won't soon forget.  Yes, the 'special effect' is part of this, but with todays very powerful DJ technology a beginner could be lost in only a series of special effects and forget that it's the underlying groove or music that makes the journey worth taking, not one moment of sparks and fireworks.  

Playing back to back with another DJ can really spice up any set. Which DJ have you had the best back to back sets with and who would you love to play back to back with?
I have to be completely honest, at the moment I'm not very interested in back to back sets because they work best when performed by those who enjoy and excel at playing one record after another... two DJ's throwing great ideas and grooves back and forth, building upon each other's idea and personality.  Marco Carola & Loco Dice do this perfectly creating something totally unique and quite different than their normal solo sets (which are also quite amazing).   The last time I played back to back I actually got bored waiting for my turn because my sets at the moment are more random, a jumble of information, loops & sounds and more like a stream of conscious that I can barely let go off, let alone, hand it over to someone else.  At the end of the day, the best back to back sets are with two people who find, for a certain moment, a connection between what each of them are doing individually, if you cannot find someone who complements and combines with you, its better to leave it to the professionals (like Marco & Dice).... :)

After over 20 years of DJing, producing and playing live, have you noticed any major damage to your ears? Do you find that as festivals are louder that you have to protect them more than at a traditional club gig?
Festivals are definitely louder but they are usually better on the ears than clubs.  Many clubs have their own pre-installed monitors and are often a few years old and perhaps have seen better days (old, beat up etc)... while with festivals you have the ability to request special conditions for your monitors and work with the promoter to make sure whatever they set up for that one night is the best possible equipment for you and the audience.

Ultimate pre-gig food?
Sushi.  Light, heathy and full of energy and goes extremely well with sake that creates the perfect mood for a great night - unless you drink too much too early which I've been known to do!
Richie Hawtin

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