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Richie Hawtin

Richie Hawtin: “I’m interested in man and machine”

December 12, 2018
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Richie, a 2008 article about you noted that a producer as renowned as “Hawtin doesn’t need to try new things — but he does.” Does that still resonate with you 10 years later?

(Laughs) Definitely. I’ve always had a fascination with challenging myself and even when I was a kid, I wanted to be different, I loved to experiment. My dad was a tinkerer, he worked in robotics and he was building computers and taking things apart. There was also a lot of music in my household, records playing, reel-to-reels… So that wrapped around my curiosity, too. I’ve always gotten a lot of enjoyment when I’m in a challenging situation and I have to learn something else, and I still do. I think it is innately inside me.

And what would you say is your biggest motivation for trying new things where electronic music is concerned?

When I first heard electronic music, specifically techno music, early Detroit records around 1987, 1988, it just sounded like music from the future. And when I heard or met some of those producers, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Blake Baxter, everyone just had this optimistic view of the impossible. And that really, for me, became the fabric of what techno and electronic music is: this push forward, this search into the unknown. I think that’s changed for people over time, but for me it’s still about that intention of taking a step forward.

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Last week’s Interview
Lubomyr Melnyk

Lubomyr Melnyk: “It has to be lived”

December 5, 2018
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Mr. Melnyk, is it true that every piano on earth has a unique voice?

Yes, every piano has a very, very different voice, especially in the rapid, sustained playing technique I pioneered called continuous music. People will not notice it so much in regular music — but continuous music enhances the sound of the piano completely. It’s like a megaphone for the voice of the piano, and so those changes and those differences come through.

What does your piano’s unique voice sound like?

Oh, nothing special whatsoever! It’s just the piano. In continuous music, the piano has an important part in the tones that come through but it’s the way it’s played that makes the difference. You see, my music cannot be heard on the page, the notes will not tell the person how the sound will be. That’s why I find it very valuable to play on different pianos because you can experiment with different note positions and things like that.

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