Richie Hawtin on his origins… and overpaid DJs [September 1994]

Richie Hawtin has been at the forefront of techno for more than 25 years, and in September 1994, when recording his Musik album (under his Plastikman guise), he gave the following interview to The Guardian‘s Ben Turner, on being inspired by Derrick May, his all-time favourite record, and, interestingly, the fees paid to DJs in the mid 90s…

How did you break into DJ-ing?
I started spinning at small clubs in Windsor, Canada, when I was only 17 and then slowly worked my way into a small club in Detroit called The Shelter.

Who/what was the inspiration?
Living so close to Detroit and being able to go to the clubs and see this new music happening in 1987 and 1988. People like Derrick May were spinning and making music on my doorstep, and being able to speak to him and others was a great inspiration. I guess he was the one person who inspired me.

What do you think of the extortionate prices certain DJs are commanding for two-hour sets in the UK?
I think they’re taking the piss. People like me who make music on the underground circuit rely on DJ-ing as a large part of our income. However, there is a threshold you should meet. If you are playing a party in front of 30,000 people, you deserve to earn larger amounts of money because you are bringing in the people, but there are certain DJs who expect this money from every date they play. Once in a while, I’ll do something big, the rest of the time I’ll play smaller places, which is also where you have the most fun.

What are your favourite clubs?
Hard (Detroit), Lost (London), Pure (Edinburgh), Das Boot (Nuremberg), Voodoo (Liverpool).

What is your all-time club classic?
Bobby Konders: Nervous Acid.

Which record would you most like to remix?
Katana: Erotmania. For the simple reason that I think the recent remixes failed to do the job properly. I would love to work with Klaus Schulze, an early member of Tangerine Dream.

What projects are you working on now?
I’m recording a new FUSE album and a Plastikman album called Musik. I am spinning at my next two parties in Detroit, called Jak 1 and Jak 2, and am planning another called Return To The Lodge. I am also looking for a venue to host the first ever Plastikman live performance in the UK.

How do you relax?
I don’t.

Where do you buy your records?
Mostly from Fat Cat (London) and Record Time (Detroit).

Where do you see yourself going musically?
Weirder and crazier.

[Copyright Guardian Newspapers, Limited Sep 30, 1994]

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