July 29, 2021

Interview with Techno Star Richie Hawtin

Richie Hawtin alias Plastikman

NUMBER: How would you describe the two titles, Spektre et Narcosis, that you designed for the Prada Fall / Winter 2021 show?

RICHIE HAWTIN : Spectra is mysterious, floating like a presence lurking in the shadows and ready to come into the light. He catches you. It corresponds to the spirit that Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons wanted to infuse into this collection: an apparition, of the order of magic, which materializes through the clothes and the architecture imagined in collaboration with Rem Koolhaas. A potentiality arises. There is something mystical about this experience. Narcosis corresponds, as for him, to the feelings which cross us all at the present time. An expectation. A form of wandering. Our minds are like drug addicts. How can we clearly imagine the future with everything we are experiencing at the moment? And yet the hope and the magic remain.

Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada described the entire show as a celebration of the individual, the body and its need for freedom, and the need for each being to reconnect with others. Isn’t that also a definition of your music?

Fashion, like music, is all about that: self-expression and freedom. The show formed a temple dedicated to their manifestation, a place in which models could dance if they wanted. I wanted to offer the public who was going to watch the parade on video uncertain musical landscapes in which they would have all the freedom to travel. I refuse to define everything and I prefer to offer sound particles that each individual can explore at will. This is probably why my music is so stripped down and minimal. You need space to let the sound breathe. This breathing is a freedom.

Rem Koolhaas defines the architecture imagined for the parade as a “no space”, Which can be understood as a place which really exists but which remains undefined, without precise assignment, and therefore a space of freedom.

Sound and architecture create spaces. But the clothes of Miuccia and Raf, this architecture of Rem Koolhaas and my music have in common the desire to create a place in which a space remains so that you can be yourself. Nothing is highlighted or “over-explained”. It’s the beauty of working artistically in such a reductive way. You are just setting up a structure so that people can flourish and develop in it.

Richie Hawtin alias Plastikman

Your pieces require several listening to perceive all their complexity, the hypnotic and psychoactive power …

This idea of ​​exploration is central. When I create, I dream of spaces and frequencies that transport you. I do not necessarily want them to be difficult to access, but rather pleasant and welcoming, and above all that they allow everyone to experience time and space, and to discover, with each listening, new things. In my music, everything is played out in the small interactions, the silences, the details. It’s all the beauty of the art and the music that I do, and that I love. When I walk around a work by Anish Kapoor, Richard Serra or a light installation by Dan Flavin, everything changes depending on the time of day and the angle of view.

Why did you sign the music for the Prada show under the name Plastikman, an alias that you have used sparingly in recent years?

Plastikman has always represented my studio character, more cerebral, plunging deep into me. Richie Hawtin has acquired, over the years, a very strong identity within the clubs. He’s a personality more related to my work as a DJ, more outgoing, while Plastikman is more introverted. By working under this name, I give myself more creative freedom and I feel less constrained by the expectations of the public who follow me under the name of Richie Hawtin.

Raf Simons says he listens to your music like others listen to classical music. We more often compare your productions to certain forms of jazz (the spontaneous notes of Miles Davis for example) or to the ambient music of Brian Eno. What relationship do you have with the classic?

I am not very well versed in classical music, although I really enjoy listening to the Berlin orchestra. The space around the instruments is what fascinates me the most. The dynamics, frequencies, flows… Besides, I find a form of beauty in composers like Erik Satie. This is of course classical music, but it is nonetheless extremely minimalist. And that ties in with my own production. I am perhaps the closest to classical music when I work not on a single track, but on an album – which happens to me very rarely. Each piece must then share common values ​​and participate in the creation of a more global movement, a story and a narration.

Prada Spring / Summer 2021 show