I met Rich 8 years ago. I was running Barraca club in Valencia and had booked him to play his first gig there. Since then, our paths have crossed each other every here and there. He’s one of the biggest electronic artists worldwide but, moreover, he’s a great person with many stories to tell and experiences to learn from.
Check here my interview for Amnesia Magazine to find out the human side of Plastikman:
It’s always a pleasure to sit and chat with an artist like Richie Hawtin, who’s first and foremost a great person. We feel so at ease that we could spend hours on end talking to him. He’s undoubtedly one of the most restless and influential people in electronic music. The past, the present and surely the future of music, he arrives in Ibiza to present Plastikman.
We talk with him about his latest experiences, his life and his relationship with Ibiza.
Everyone is talking about your set at La Boqueria market during Sonar. How did the idea of playing in a fruit store come about?
Sonar was amazing as usual. I have a long history there; I’ve been going there for 15 years and it’s been part of my developing success.
In the past few years we’ve wanted to find a way to connect with the weekend in a more special way, through Minus, the beach party, the Minus shop and, this year, the Boqueria market. I always go there with my friend Eva for lunch. Sitting there we thought how amazing it would be to organise a dinner at the Boquería after hours, at midnight when everything is closed and you have to go through all the closed stores to find a beautiful table. This progressed into taking the Minus shop out of Miscelanea and into a fish store, selling t-shirts all week… but this was too complicated. It finally developed into dj-ing in a fruit store… it took us 6 months to sort out all the permits and the right people.
It’s like taking electronic music out of its natural environment.
Yes, I see all the parties around Sonar, and they’re ok, but doing this during the day, where you have a different connection with the people, is something special. We had parents with their kids, workers from the Boquería market, friends who brought their parents down… this is the lifestyle for me. The music isn’t for everyone but it’s nice to offer them a glimpse of the very positive energy that can happen in our scene. You said that everybody is talking about the Boquería, but it’s not just the people from the scene.
And we heard your parents were also there.
Yes, they have been coming to Sonar for the last 15 years. My mum and dad also help us at the Minus store.
And did you take them to the after hours at Row14?
Yes, of course. They met all the Arnau family, even the grandparents… it was amazing to bring three different generations together.
The Florida/Row/Monegros success is based upon a family business. And I have a similar experience; my mum used to sell tickets at my warehouse parties in Detroit and my father always helped me to develop my equipment. My brother helped with design. You need a good backup and good people around you that you trust and who understand your history as a person.
No matter how big or popular you get, it’s not only the good music or great ideas, it’s also the continued support of your family and friends. You all rise together, otherwise, what is it you want to do? Be at the top alone, by yourself? It doesn’t sound like fun. I’d rather prefer being unknown with my friends and family.
This keeps you down to earth, right?
My mother always brings me down to earth, that’s her main job.
Minus looks like a family too.
Minus is always the mix of new and old, so you always have the fresh energy from new people and also the people who know the past and where everything comes from. It’s important to have that connection with your roots.
Anyone who stays longer than 2 months in the company or with me becomes a friend.
You have a pretty hectic schedule, but you always seem to enjoy travelling.
Life on the road is an incredible journey. I spend maybe 80% of my life on the move just to get to the next place. For every hour I dj, I spend 8 getting there. This can easily be a boring, lonely and hard time; but if you let that happen, it’s going to take all your energy away for the moment you’re supposed to play. So it’s good to travel with good people or to invite friends to certain places.
Have you thought about throwing your own parties in Ibiza?
I had some bad times in the early years in Ibiza… really bad experiences. Sven really put his arm around me and told me, “Come to Ibiza , be part of Cocoon at Amnesia”. I fell in love with the island, the club and the Cocoon family and it’s been an incredible journey; so, right now, it seems there’s no big reason to change. For me, the best club on the island is Amnesia. I’ve been in many clubs here but I think there’s something magical about both rooms in Amnesia. I know there’s some hype regarding the terrace right now, but the main room is also very special.
Amnesia is such a perfect name for a club in 2011. It was so ahead of its time and this idea of going somewhere and experiencing something and waking up a few days later, not remembering exactly what’s happened, if it was a dream or reality, that’s what Amnesia means to me. All experiences there were too great to have happened.
You were presenting new green initiatives at the IMS. Tell us a bit more about this.
Other musical forms like rock, jazz or theatre are all being really proactive and trying to cut their emissions. They’re looking at how they’re travelling, thinking about CD packaging and just trying to be forward-thinking with the way they run their business. The reason why I got into this is that all of us sit down to talk about the future of music but I didn’t really feel that anybody was really thinking on the future. We have been offsetting our flights, using a bus for touring the US to cut down on emissions, stopped using plastic in our packaging… and that’s what we want other labels to do.
But right now, everyone is more worried about frequent flyer miles than green initiatives. That’s the truth of the matter.
How were your first experiences in Ibiza?
My first experiences on the island were just playing 2 hours, here’s your fee, go home.
If you can’t celebrate and have fun, how can you make people have fun? That’s what Sven brought to the island. The success of Cocoon is all about that, about the energy of the team.
We all start in this because we like to play records and dance, and this is the best place in the world to reconnect that feeling. Cocoon reconnected that feeling with everybody on the dancefloor.
From Detroit to Ibiza. Who would have said back in Detroit that
Plastikman would become one of the highlights of the summer season in Ibiza? What can we expect?
Plastikman is a huge show of lights, video and music. A cerebral, trippy musical experience. Plastikman came out of the days in Detroit, where me and all my friends were experimenting with music, and early after hours in dark warehouses and really pushing ourselves and opening our minds.
The idea of the show is exactly the same we used to do in Detroit, the people go home and they won’t be able to remember what happened exactly. It’s about that dream, about the experience, and that started the whole myth of Plastikman.
Ibiza–Amnesia, those experiences are the ones that people take with them. So Plastikman at Amnesia is a perfect combination.
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