Sven Vath

In the dystopian future we are quickly rushing towards, let Aldous Huxley's Brave New World elucidate this, electronic music or music in general has become another disposable asset. Genres and artists flourish and then find themselves shunned to the deep recesses of your hard drive faster than your recent internet history. There are of course many anomalies to this and one of them is Sven Vath, a techno demigod, label owner, producer and the list goes on.


When Vath comes onto the phone from Phuket in Thailand, where he has spent the last two months with his wife and six month old son, he's almost bursting with enthusiasm as he recounts how it all started. "Well, when I was 16 I was hitch-hiking to Ibiza and then I stayed for three months in Ibiza. I was sitting on the beach and I was enjoying this kind of island and Balearic life I had never experienced before. It was just such a big inspiration for me. After that when I came back home I was so fascinated by my trip that I told my mum and my mum was asking, if I want, I can become a DJ. My parents had a club, so I started in my parents club as a DJ when I was 16 and the rest is history."


Talking to Vath, it's clear that he's as passionate about DJing now as he was when he first got behind the decks in the 1980s. Though I was rather curious to find out what one could have expected from a set of his back then. "Michael Jackson, Diana Ross..." He momentarily pauses to reflect then continues, "This was exactly 30 years ago, it was in the year of 81 and yeah I was playing big hits of 81. Thriller was just released and Kraftwerk had just released their album and this was the time when I was becoming a big fan of electronic music and Kraftwerk especially."


Juggling family, a record label, world tour and trying to find time to get in the studio is not for the faint of a heart, but Vath alludes it may come down to one key element. "I have so many other projects at the moment going on and especially with my world tour and I'm planning the Ibiza season already for this coming summertime. And yeah there is a lot of things to do and on top of that I just became father again, my son is now 6 months old." But that key element? "Oh well you know it's all about time management it's how you structure your day, how you structure your week, your month, your year. You have to make it very German, organised."


Infamous for his gruelling sets, by the end of one a patron will be noted for their waxy complexion and a pungent odour emanating from them, a mixture of secreted alcohol, sweat and lack of sun. "There was one set maybe... 32 hours," Vath shares animatedly. "That was a very long one, and I think that was during 1994 or 95 at the Love Parade in Berlin. But from time to time every year I have three shows were I play over 24 hours. I'm 46 and I'm still waiting for the best party to come." Vath quickly interjects, "I'm still just playing vinyl though, I'm 99% vinyl. I love my vinyl and I'm happy in my music genre the people still produce and love to produce vinyl."


It appears Berlin is to electronic music what Mecca is to Islam, an almost spiritual reference point for techno. "In Germany we have our freedom to party", he declares exuberantly. No one is telling us when to close the clubs and no one is telling us when to stop drinking, so first of all this is a very solid and good base for clubbing. Especially when you go to Berlin, the only reason you come is because you can party form Monday to Monday. There is a lot of creative output and it is very, very interesting and there is a lot of things going on. A lot of people moving to Germany from different countries and staying there because they love electronic music. And I have to say there is really something going on."


With Vath's world tour about to commence and his eminent arrival in Australia only days away, he contemplates what has made his visits so special. "I'm really looking forward to coming out to Australia and I always have such a good time the last two and three years. The last two future music festivals it was very great. I met nice artists; did you know the special thing about this festival is that you hang out with the artists? Here with this festival tour you have a chance to really talk with them and you fly together, you eat together and you stay at the same hotel together and you have really time to communicate and exchange some ideas about music and this and that. And I really like that; I think I'm really looking forward for this time."


Sven Vath [GER] play Future Music Festival with The Chemical Brothers [UK], MGMT [US], Plastikman [CAN] and more on Sunday March 13 at the Flemington Racecourse and a special extended set for No Nonsense's 1 st birthday with Guido Schneider [GER] and Tom Clark [GER] at Brown Alley on Friday March 4.


Aaron Ralston