Since crossing the bridge from Windsor to Detroit as a bespectacled, self-described nerd, Richie Hawtin has become a barometer for the development of techno and DJing itself. Like so many since, he was initially inspired by the Detroit sound and DIY approach, leading him and John Acquaviva to found Plus 8 Records in 1990. The label and Hawtin’s own productions and parties quickly sent ripples throughout the developing techno community, both at home and abroad. But it wasn’t until 1993 that he truly found his voice as a producer with the emergence of the Plastikman alias, which quickly became one of the defining projects in techno history.
By this time an unlikely star, Hawtin was also innovating DJing by incorporating effects and extra machines into his sets. His input helped shape the Xone DJ mixer and the Traktor performance software, both of which became industry standard tools for DJs worldwide. As the years progressed, he also spearheaded the shift toward so-called minimal techno with the M_nus label and later explored projects outside the typical techno DJ remit, launching everything from sake lines to high-end DJ mixers. But as he says in this interview with Christine Kakaire, even as a thoroughly canonised artist with three decades of experience, he’s still the same nerd who wants nothing more than to push the envelope.