“Busy, productive and enjoyable,” are the words that techno veteran Richie Hawtin uses to describe his 2014 so far. The Canadian artist continued to throw some of Ibiza’s best parties with his ENTER nights, which featured everyone from Berghain resident Marcel Dettmann to P.Diddy collaborator Guy Gerber and Innervisions boss Dixon. The ENTER events will also take up a lot of his time for the rest of 2014, with parties planned in LA, Manchester and Buenos Aires.
However, the biggest development in Hawtin’s world this year was the re-appearance of his Plastikman project, which released its first album ‘EX’, in over a decade. Hawtin says that its show at one of techno’s spiritual homes, Sonar in Barcelona, was a particular highlight. Unusually for an electronic music album, ‘EX’ came about in response to an invitation to perform at a fashion event.
“I was asked to perform at the Dior event at the Guggenheim and I knew I’d set myself a huge challenge. I locked myself away in a series of intense studio sessions and quickly recorded enough new material for the performance, and realised I might also have enough for a complete new album,” Hawtin explains, but adds that he rose to the challenge, with the venue providing inspiration.
“The music came out of me effortlessly as I was very inspired by the opportunity to play in this beautiful architectural space renowned more for art than music. Performing at The Guggenheim allowed me to step far away from the dancefloor, giving me a huge amount of freedom to explore any sonic ideas that I had. Art, music, architecture, painting, sculpture — these mediums are supposed to live together.”
Given that Hawtin’s previous Plastikman releases were among the most influential in '90s techno, and still loom large in contemporary electronic music, did he feel under pressure when he started to work under this guise again?
“Sometimes I don’t record for nine years or two years, but I’m still listening, being inspired. It’s about getting those ideas and having the tools ready so that when that urge comes it comes out as effortlessly as possible,” he says, explaining that “'EX' is an exploration into what Plastikman should/could/might sound like in 2014. “People have said to me, ‘This isn’t a new album, just a live one’. 'Sheet One' was live, too. It wasn’t live in front of anyone, just me in my studio.
The same principle applies here, but on a grander scale. After 10 years there were so many expectations and it was quite nerve-wracking thinking about all that again... so I'm very happy to keep pushing to see where Plastikman can go in the future. Making music again makes me very happy and that's really the main point!”