TuneAttic: find music, know music
TuneAttic: find music, know music
TuneAttic: find music, know music
TuneAttic: find music, know music
TuneAttic: find music, know music
TuneAttic: find music, know music
Richie Hawtin Richie Hawtin is an Anglo-Canadian techno DJ and producer currently based in Berlin.  Part of the second wave of techno DJs and producers Hawtin has since the late nineties been a leading exponent of minimal techno.  Hawtin runs a number of influential labels, including Plus 8 and the minimal techno label M_nus.
Richie Hawtin scales of success
Richie Hawtin timeline

Richie Hawtin Playlist

Press play to listen
Add a playlist to your page using iLike
'Plastikman 'Spastik'
(NovaMute 1993)
'Decks, EFX & 909'
(M_nus 1999)

Early Years: 1990 to 2000

Richie Hawtin is an Anglo-Canadian techno DJ and producer currently based in Berlin. Born in Oxfordshire in the UK in 1970 Richie Hawtin was one of the first of the ‘second wave’ of Detroit techno producers.  He followed the mid-eighties footsteps of the Detroit founding fathers Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, and Derrick May.  Hawtin was a techno producer from the word ‘go’.  Whilst Adam Beyer was releasing hard trance in the early nineties Hawtin was already releasing fully blown techno. 

Even before releasing his first tracks Hawtin, with Canadian DJ John Acquaviva, had already set up and had been successfully running the techno record label Plus 8.  The imprint would go on to acquire legendary status in the techno arena.  All of his Hawtin’s early tracks were released on the label.  Right from the start Hawtin showed a prolific level of output that he would maintain throughout his career.  He issued over 30 releases between 1990 and 1993 alone. 

His 1990 tracks, such as ‘Approach and Identify’ and ‘Technarchy’ had echoes of rave but their pounding percussive beats were unmistakably techno.  Other tracks were also clearly products of their age, such as ‘Substance Abuse’ in 1991 which featured squawking acid lines heavily reminiscent of acid house.  Others though, such as ‘Thrash’ – released under the alias Cybersonik in 1991 – which consisted solely of an incessant high tempo drum track were 100% techno.

‘Thrash’ showed a willingness to push the boundaries that Hawtin would come back to repeatedly throughout his career, such as with ‘Trac-X’, released in 1992 under the alias Circuit Breaker. ‘Trac-X’ consists solely of an incessant overly compressed, distorted kick and hi hat pattern, pounding along at high tempo.  Though there is great variation in the track it only comes from changing the pattern of the kick and hat with the occasional distorted FX hit. 

The release of ‘Krakpot’ in 1993 saw the arrival of what would become Richie Hawtin’s definitive production alias: Plastikman. ‘Krakpot’ pulls together squeaking acid, a driving kick and a running bass line to create peaking dance floor smash.  The first Plastikman track that really got prominence though was ‘Spastik’, also released in 1993.  As with ‘Thrash’ it consists only of a drum track (in this case with a constantly rolling snare drum).  ‘Spastik’ sat at the minimal end of techno at the time but was often used as a DJ tool for playing alongside other tracks rather than on its own.  This technique became increasingly popular among techno DJs and drove the use of three separate record decks simultaneously (as made famous by Carl Cox).  Hawtin also released the first Platikmann album – ‘Sheet One’ – in 1993, followed by ‘Recycled Plastik’ a year later.

Throughout his career Hawtin has used multiple production aliases enabling him to simultaneously release across a range of styles.  In 1996 he issued 12 releases as ‘Concept 1’ on the imprint of the same name.  The ‘Concept 1’ releases saw Hawtin pursue a stripped down, lower tempo and highly minimal techno sound.

'The Tunnel'
(M_nus 2005)
'DE9 | Transitions'
(NovaMute 2005)
Later Years: 2000 to present

In 1998 Hawtin put Plus 8 Records on hold and launched a new imprint M_nus to focus on minimal techno releases from himself and other artists. By the end of the decade M_nus had a roster of over 20 artists including Troy Pierce, Loco Dice, Barem and of course Hawtin himself.

In 2001 Hawtin released the album ‘DE9 | Closer To The Edit’.  Featuring elements of close to a hundred different tracks the album captured the dynamic live mixing style Hawtin was becoming famous for in which tracks and edits of tracks would often only appear for a moment before being mixed into another track.  He also repeatedly layered tracks to create new soundscapes.  Unsurprisingly Hawtin was an early pioneer of MP3 mixing, utilizing computer mixing technology to create even more complex and dynamic mixes.

From the late nineties Hawtin’s productions increasingly focused on minimal techno, though occasional releases such as ‘Minus Orange’ in 1999 saw him revisit the more driving, high energy sound he was better known for earlier.  Tracks such as ‘Low Blow’ (as Bug vs Hawtin, 2002) and ‘Disconnect’ (as Plastikman, 2003) saw Hawtin exploring a low key minimal sound that had its routes in his Concept 1 releases.  Hawtin hadn’t left the more driving side of his sound entirely behind though, returning to it with Plastikman releases such as ‘PK’ (2002) and ‘Kontakt’ (2003).

In 2005 Hawtin released three ‘From Within’ albums with Pete Namlook which combined chill out ambient with minimal techno.

Up to the mid noughties Hawtin continued to deliver a strong flow of minimal techno on his M_nus, both from his growing roster of artists and his own releases, such as the leftfield but dancefloor friendly ‘The Tunnel’ in 2005. In the late noughties Hawtin’s production output lessened as he focused more on nurturing and supporting his M_nus artists and label.  Since 2005 Hawtin has issued just two releases, ‘Nostalgik.3’ in 2007 and ‘Slinky’ in 2010.  Over the same period though he issued six albums, including ‘Dimension Intrusion’ as F.U.S.E. in 2009.

Richie Hawtin has been hugely influential in the techno scene for two decades and continues to be a key figure.  Always at the forefront of music technology and a truly creative artist Richie Hawtin is one of the most important figures in the history of techno.  Also through his labels Plus 8 and M_nus he has brought new generations of techno artists to the fore.

Richie Hawtin was born in the UK and moved to Canada when he was aged 9.  He moved to Detroit in the 1990’s, lived in New York in 2002 and 2003 and then moved to Berlin where he is based today.