We had the chance to talk to Sven Vath in Toronto before his set at the first Electric Island party of the summer. In case you missed it, you can now find the interview here with additional content exclusive to bookedupbeats and never before published on the internet.
The vinyl- only techno spinning DJ and Cocoon label owner, spoke to us about the differences between the electronic dance music landscape of now to the dynamic it carried before the digital takeover. Sven Vath also talks about his hired crate digger who works year round to keep his vinyl selection fresh, and his hopes to show son Tiga part of the Analogue world where he came from. It was a true honour to talk to such a knowledgable man in the music industry, and although sometimes criticized for his unbudging vinyl only beliefs, our music industry needs ‘extremists’ like this to keep the honest compassion derived from the roots of electronic music, alive.
When was the last time you were in Toronto?
Ah, that’s a good question… I think 10 years ago, probably. I played at Guvernment 10 or 11 years ago. Happy to be back here! I had a very good time in Montreal at Stereo, yesterday – played a long set from 4:30 in the morning until 1:00 in the afternoon, raving with the party people on the dancefloor! They were carrying me and screaming at me…. we had a good time.
You’re heading out to Ibiza tomorrow, to embark on another massive summer for yourself and Cocoon. In past years, Cocoon stages and parties in Ibiza have had different themes, what can we expect this year?
This year our theme is our 15th year anniversary of Cocoon at Amnesia. I already had the idea last year that on our 15th anniversary the theme is the dancefloor, it’s the party people, it is our marketing campaign- 15th love. Cocoon. Amnesia. With our beloved crowd.
Obviously dancing means so much to you that’s where you started off with the people on the dancefloor by dancing to electric boogie, what was it… breakdancing?
Yes, it is the reason why I am DJing. Because I like to dance and I like to pioneer in dance music. I was always and still now only play vinyls, for 34 years now. I still go record shopping… it is always so fun to find new music, to search and go for it. It is the most exciting part to discover new music and then to play it, and you are curious about the reaction.
Do you think it is something that you grow into? Let’s say with “EDM DJs” like Avicii and David Guetta, maybe they are a gateway into perhaps something bigger and better, that can be learned?Well I think good things in life need time to develop and also to develop your taste of music to understand. I think young people who are now jumping into the EDM, for them it is the introduction, the new way to step into the dance music world. It’s education, they have to hear other things and other music. The scene is growing, I know in the States it is getting bigger and bigger – it’s a lot of plastic… but if 5% are discovering the real house and techno vibe – and the content and also the message of our music – bringing people together. Celebrating a ritual together, sharing love and forgetting their realty for some hours.
When you are embarking on a world tour where you are away from home for a really long time, what is the process of selecting your vinyl records and preparing for something like that?
I have a guy working for me, Ingo is his name. He’s constantly checking records in records stores he’s buying records in my name. For instance, when I am two months in Thailand I am getting every 10 days a package, he is sending me records everywhere in the world where I am longer than 2-3 weeks. So that’s my little system and how I work. I have my records in my case and I am constantly changing them.
You’ve been DJing and Producing for over 30 years, obviously we’ve touched on how a lot has changed in the industry since then. What is it like now for you, playing around the world carrying the respected celebrity status that you do? And now that you have a family, how are you able to balance that life with DJing and touring around all the time?
I have always believed that our music is so strong and has the potential to move the world… this is exactly what happened. 20 years later and dance music is the music in every little club in the world… in Peru, in Argentina, in Ecuador, in Korea, in Japan everywhere I go people freak out. It keeps me outgoing I am turning 50 this year in October. I have two kids, my daughter is 25 and my son, Tiga is almost 4. It is so cool, when I am playing, to have my daughter dancing with her friends and raving with me. We love each other I am more a friend than a daddy for her. I hope that I can show my son Tiga also this Analogue world a little bit, where I come from.
Because it is not always that everything that is new is hot. Sometimes I have the feeling that people jump much too early on new things. They don’t ask what is behind it, or is there a meaning, or is it good for us, is it good for the world? They think it must be new new new new.For me what is most important is the music and what comes across in the message and the love that is involved. Not being a producer in the DJ booth with all the effects and gadgets they have today and forget completely about the music, just driven by the technical support. This makes the music very cold, it’s not music anymore it’s just patterns and loops and breaks and effects.