Winter Music Conference

Cocoon Out

Ten years ago Sven Väth was trying to conquer America. He had a contract with Warner Bros. and a Los Angeles outpost for his acclaimed Frankfurt-based record labels Harthouse and Eye Q.

But America wasn't ready for the techno and trance sounds of Germany. Väth's Warner Bros. contract fizzled after his three albums for the label sold poorly, and he shuttered Harthouse/Eye Q soon after. "I changed my ambitions of breaking into the American market because for me it all was a little overcommercialized," he says now. The truth is, Väth's efforts were both lost in translation and perhaps a bit too ahead of their time.

Leaving his American ambitions behind, Väth went into a cocoon, both figuratively and literally. He built the Cocoon Club, a state-of-the art facility with a lounge, late-night restaurant, and an unusual 360-degree visual environment meant to look like a breathing organism; and a new label, Cocoon Recordings. This year Cocoon will celebrate its sixth summer of hosting parties on Ibiza, seasons he annually documents via his mix CD series The Sound of the Season.

When he takes to the turntables in Miami, expect to get a taste of Cocoon: a skillful blending of disco, electro, techno, and what Väth calls "wave," meaning an updated form of New Wave (which isn't new anymore). Marathon sets of up to eight hours are something he's well versed in, so you can believe he'll keep the few hours he has to play filled with nontop action.

Even though he's on the veteran end of the game, Väth dances with his crowd like an excited little kid full of boundless energy. And if his work ethic of the past two decades is any indication, he's not giving up until people everywhere feel the groove. "I see more potential in other countries to get things working for the music we do," he says. "However we will keep on trying to convince the Americans of the quality of German electronic music."

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Tamara Palmer

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