It's 2011, and after working his way up from Detroit's techno underground, Richie Hawtin is a world-class dance music institution. Of course, there are his seminal labels Plus 8 and Minus, his acclaimed Plastikman alter ego, and his hard-earned rep as a game-changing innovator in the arenas of production and music technology. But mainly, there's his relentless creative energy and drive to keep pushing the possibilities of sound.
"Electronic music moves extremely fast, changing, updating itself, and forever challenging its artists, DJs, and producers to stay fresh and inspired," he says. "I wake up every day to that challenge myself, pushing myself to continue to evolve and come up with new ideas that will refine my path and my belief in music and technology. It's not just the single projects that I'm proud of; it's about how these projects — like Plus 8, Minus, Plastikman Live, [conceptual stage show] Contakt, the events back in [the] early '90s in Detroit, the songs and tracks I've produced, and the DJ sets I've played — all come together to form a career that continues to grow in strength and hopefully dimension!"
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In 2010, Hawtin dug deep into his formidable body of work to compile Plastikman Arkives, a comprehensive, limited-edition box set including rarities, remasters, and re-edits chronicling his decades-long career. And as a performer, he shows no signs of slowing down. "Two thousand eleven will have me continuing both my hectic DJ schedule and the Plastikman Live project. We're just finishing the last dates of last year's tour right now in Australia. And after that, we will shut down the show until the fall, hopefully giving me and my team the time necessary to update and refine the show for its next steps," he explains. "In between, I hope to have some alone time, locked in my studio in Canada, working on various sonic ideas that will find their way onto the dance floor."
Richie Hawtin: As part of Pete Tong's Pool Party, with Luciano, Sharam, and others. 11 a.m. Friday, March 25. Surfcomber Hotel, 1717 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-532-7715; surfcomber.com. Tickets cost $55 to $75 via wantickets.com. As part of Sunday School: The Lost Weekend. Friday, March 25, to Sunday, March 27. Ice Palace, 59 NW 14th St., Miami. Doors open March 25 at 10 p.m. and close March 27 at 10 p.m., with a 12-hour intermission from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. A full 36-hour wristband costs $90 via ticketweb.com. Ages 21 and up; madeevent.com.
In the meantime, catch the live Richie Hawtin experience when his Minus label showcase invades the first day of Sunday School at the Ice Palace. But how does his dark techno sound, originating from Detroit's inner-city warehouse scene, translate to the subtropical setting of Miami's Ultra week? "Well, a dark warehouse party in Detroit would be really boring if you didn't accentuate that darkness by adding a little bit of light into the mix," Hawtin says. "And a great sunny beach party can always benefit from a little bit of darkness!"