Richie Hawtin on the popularity of electronic music: “It doesn’t satisfy my need to feel that I’m part of something which is alternative”

“We felt like we were the weirdos. I guess I don’t feel as weird as I used to be — maybe I’m pretty normal now — but that was a big part of the attraction, that it wasn’t what everybody else was listening to,” Hawtin explains.

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Image: Pablo Gallardo Sanchez/Redferns

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Richie Hawtin has shared his concern about the prevalence of techno in the United States. While he is “satisfied” that it has become mainstream, it doesn’t satisfy his need to be “part of something which is alternative.”

Speaking to Billboard, the electronic music pioneer explains that those who originally got into techno music did so because they “didn’t really fit in.”

“We felt like we were the weirdos. I guess I don’t feel as weird as I used to be — maybe I’m pretty normal now — but that was a big part of the attraction, that it wasn’t what everybody else was listening to,” he explains.

“So although part of my psyche can accept some satisfaction, part of my inner being was very excited and satiated and inspired to go back on tour with other like-minded weirdos playing stripped down, minimalistic music, and playing to crowds that when you looked out, felt like they were a bit of the outcasts and had found themselves on another dirty dance floor.”

“That satisfies the kid who always wanted to see more people come into the door of techno,
but it doesn’t satisfy my need to feel that I’m part of something which is alternative,” Hawtin says.

“I don’t think all the music that is played on the bigger stages now is actually made, created or enjoyed by people who feel a little bit different than the masses”.

He explains that you’ve got to be careful what you wish for, stating that he always wanted it to be something bigger than it was:

“I remember certain decisions [I made]; I even I reread a couple of old interviews back from 20, 25 years ago, and things I said or did to actually welcome people into this world. I never wanted it to be just so insular and insider that it became hierarchical.”

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