Here is a man who needs no introduction – just maybe a how are you? “I’m really good,” chimes the German from his summer – or actually winter – holiday. “I’m in Thailand at the moment, enjoying the sunshine with my family! My boy is now one and a half years old so I have to teach him to swim!” shares the legendary veteran.
Yet despite the relaxation and sunshine, Väth’s life remains virtually anything but, for he continues to tour incessantly, seemingly never letting up. “Well I’m just continuing on my world tour right now. It’s the year of the dragon, I am a dragon so it’s an exciting period right now. I am promoting a few of my releases at the moment as well as a few releases from November last year. I’m really looking forward to coming to Australia to play again this time; the lineup is fantastic. Aphex Twin, Dubfire – these are some great names. I think we’re going to have a proper stage so I’m looking forward to coming and playing as well as doing some side shows!”
And he continues with his club and label nights as well as his release schedule as if he were still in his twenties. “On my label, Cocoon Recordings, I have just released my latest compilation. There is also a new album coming out on the label from Metric, which is a recording of his live show from Ibiza – that’s going to be released next week. There is also a mix CD being released by one of my favourite artists from Hamburg and it’s titled Timeless. It’s a collection of techno and house mixed up from a long period. Extrawelt also have their new album coming out so there are plenty of things going on!”
Likewise, there is a formula for Cocoon – which they’re sticking to – and it resolves around a black piece of storage media. “Basically, we are still releasing a lot of 10 and 12 inch vinyl on the label. We are pro vinyl and I am still playing only vinyl believe it or not! This is our area and it is what has worked for us. I have to say, there are so many labels at the moment putting so much effort and love and quality into their productions, whether it’s digital or not. For us, when it comes to designing artwork, covers, designs and packaging, this is something really special. It is something we want to do really well and we want to make sure that we are doing it with good taste.”
Indeed, talking of formulas – and those that work – Väth has just celebrated his 30-year anniversary as a DJ, and this year, in his 31st year, he continues to see what he calls “a lot of things changing!”
“I think dance music in terms of genres like house and techno are now so established worldwide in the clubs and things that we’ve really worked out a good structure for it. Musicians and DJs and producers and labels are all being connected whether it’s via festivals and clubs or whatever. We are still all about promoting good music; I’m playing my music all over the world now and that’s the main thing. There is a great vibe right now and it feels like the real deal.
“Of course, a lot of young people are liking a different style to what is out there at the moment. A lot of pre-mixed CDs and that sort of thing of course is not so nice to see, but it’s part of the evolution and development of the scene. I can say the scene is really strong so that is the main thing. I’m really one of the few people still playing only vinyl so I want to keep building it up like that, following the music. I might end up being the only one left playing it soon!”
Style wise, he remains committed to the dance floor, ensuring that his extensive record collection goes to good use. Moreover, one can virtually guarantee that there won’t be a punter standing still when Väth is carrying on and playing behind the decks – it’s always a sight to behold. Legendary.
“I just follow my personal instincts and tastes,” he says. “When I’m buying my records every week, I spend time to listen to them. There are also a lot of labels sending me their white labels and promos and when I’m doing my listening sessions, I think right in that moment and I decide what I like and don’t like. It’s a feeling around what people are releasing as well. I’m very curious of new sounds and arrangements and new vibe. You know, you cannot reinvent things again; there are only new impulses and waves. So creating house music or interpreting house music comes in many different forms.”
Finally, a few words about the new world: “when it comes to the future, hopefully it will go down the path of real dance music. This electro ring tone music that people are listening to, for me, is not real music. I mean house and techno has a different vibe. We like to go deeper and follow a beat and I can see that people that come to the parties want to have the full experience and go through the journey. That’s what I’m up for and that’s what I want to continue doing.” And the people will continue to come.
Sven Väth [GER] plays Future Music Festival alongside Fatboy Slim [USA], Aphex Twin [UK], The Wombats [UK] and more at the Flemington Racecourse on Sunday March 11.