DJ Sven Väth on the turntables

The Party Gods 

Photo (above): Kidkutsmedia

Partying is the great cultural form of our age. It’s an end in itself: letting go and dancing the night away are a way of life. In this world, superstar DJs are cultural icons. They influence trends on a global scale, fill stadiums and earn Hollywood-scale salaries. So who are they? What motivates them? And what can we learn from them?
Sven Väth
Sven Väth

Social Media: Almost 1.1 million likes on Facebook
Worth: An estimated $14m 
Performances: 106 in 2015 

The Godfather: SVEN VÄTH

When Väth began his career in 1982, it was still part of the DJ’s job to clear up the club at the end of the night. His breakthrough came in 1986 with the track Electrica Salsa (credited to OFF), and two years later he opened Omen, Germany’s first techno club. An inspiration to superstar DJs such as Tiësto, Väth, 51, still plays the world’s top clubs every weekend, for up to 30 hours at a time.

His trademark:

Väth got where he is today – and remains relevant – because of his sincere passion for dance music. While other veteran DJs are content to merely manage their legacy, he’s still discovering, promoting and working with new talents.

What can we learn from him?

It doesn’t matter what other people say: if it feels right, do it, and you’ll be successful.  

Cool:
The catchphrases he shoots out from behind the decks, such as, “The message is gude Laune, Alda [a good mood, man]!” You’ll find a selection on Väth’s fan page.

Uncool:

Papa Sven is not a nickname to be proud of.

“Stay true to yourself. And don’t forget to party!” 
Sven Väth
Richie Hawtin

© Carlo Cruz

Richie Hawtin
Richie Hawtin

Social Media: 1.2 million likes on Facebook
Worth: An estimated $9m
Performances: 82 in 2015

The Visionary: Richie Hawtin

In 1990, at 19, the Canadian started a techno revolution with his debut track, released under the name FUSE. Then, 14 years ago, he played a part in the development of software that allowed DJs to mix MP3s. At first people laughed, now it’s standard. 

His trademark:

Hawtin is viewed as the co-founder of minimal techno, which strips the genre down to its bare bones, to hypnotic effect. On the technical side, he has helped develop new DJ controls and the first DJ Twitter app.

What can we learn from him?

Never settle for the status quo.

Cool:

In 2015, the University of Huddersfield granted him an honorary doctorate – the first time an electronic music DJ had earned such an award.

Uncool:

Although many DJs now have lighter loads to carry thanks to Hawtin’s technological input, he’s seen as sounding the death knell of good old vinyl culture.

“When I started making music, there was no rule book; we had to make it up. That’s how I still work”
Richie Hawtin
Diplo springt

© Romina Rosales

Diplo
Diplo

Social media: Almost 2.3 million likes on Facebook 
Worth: An estimated $15m 
Performances: 72 in 2015, plus gigs with Major Lazer

The Explorer: DIPLO

The Christopher Columbus of the DJ scene travels the world, discovering musical subcultures – such as baile funk in Brazil – and helping break them globally. Diplo, now 37, made his name in 2008 with rapper M.I.A. and the track Paper Planes, which sold more than four million copies in the US alone and featured in the film Slumdog Millionaire. Since then, he has produced hits for his band, Major Lazer, and for pop stars including Beyoncé, Justin Bieber and Madonna.

His trademark:

He doesn’t merely follow trends, he creates them. 

What can we learn from him?

You won’t find inspiration on your doorstep. Travel the world and get yourself a new perspective.  

Cool:

He even managed to make Justin Bieber appear credible.

Uncool:

Critics accuse him of cultural appropriation, profiting by sniffing out exotic subcultures and exploiting their commercial value.

“One of the reasons I’m successful is that I can see things before other people do”
DIplo
Skrillex

© Housetribeca.com

Skrillex
Skrillex

Social Media: 19 Mio. Fans auf Facebook
Besitzt: 36 Mio. Dollar (geschätzt)
Auftritte: 81 (2015; 2011 waren es unglaubliche 322)

The Boy Wonder: SKRILLEX

Before 2010, many rock fans weren’t interested in club music. Skrillex went a long way to changing that with his EP Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites. Recorded in his bedroom and publicised by the 22-at-the-time DJ himself via social media, the EP went on to sell two million copies and win two Grammys. Skrillex now has six of the awards in his trophy cabinet – more than any other DJ – and has worked with artists as varied as Justin Bieber, Bob Marley’s son Damian, and former members of The Doors.

His trademark:

He couldn’t care less about the rules of the business; he releases his songs spontaneously with no ad campaign and publicises his music via smartphone apps.

What can we learn from him?

Waiting for help is a waste of time. Do your own thing, even if it looks like you have no chance of success. “See obstacles as an opportunity to create something new.”

Cool:

Skrillex was considered the most hated person in club music because of his signature sound. How did he react to that? “Sorry, I don’t have much time for those haters on the internet.”

Uncool:

His style: long hair with an undercut, and horn-rimmed glasses. For a wonderful pastiche, go to the photo-blog Girls That Look Like Skrillex.

“If I can win Grammys, then that means all of you yet-to-be-seen bedroom geniuses will one day take over the world”
Skrillex
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02 2016 The Red Bulletin

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