In the first English language edition of the Telekom Electronic Beats Podcast series, Richie Hawtin unveils plans for an app he is developing called CLOSER. The app is designed to bring audiences closer to the action behind the decks through the use of interactive features and is set to be released early September 2019. It has been developed by Hawtin with Telekom Electronic Beats and builds on his live audiovisual show CLOSE (which premiered at Coachella in 2017). During the live recorded podcast, the DJ and producer also discusses his entry into Detroit’s techno scene during the 80s, which birthed his path to worldwide success.
CLOSER will give fans the chance to engage directly with the CLOSE live show, to view, but also deconstruct it. In Hawtin’s words, “to give them a feeling of living in that moment of creativity – of chaos.” In the podcast Hawtin describes wanting to bring back the intimate, spontaneous, and “introverted” aspects of DJing that first engaged him with the scene in the 80s. In its current state, the app allows downloads of previous shows – there is an option to change the camera and angles and see the different equipment Hawtin operates, as well as deconstruct specific mixes used within the set. Although the app currently only allows detailed play-backs of previous shows, Hawtin hints at its potential to be developed into a live-streaming interactive version in the future.
In the show Hawtin describes how, as electronic music culture has become more popular, with crowds getting larger and further away from the DJ booth, there is an increasing lack of understanding in what DJs actually do. The app came about due to a feeling of disconnect the Canadian producer experienced between himself and the audience: “I love playing all types and sizes of venues – a festival, a club – but as soon as you go over a certain amount of people – there is only so much connection you can have with a crowd.” The intimate experience of DJing is what Hawtin hopes to convey through CLOSER. “One of the really interesting things about electronic music was that you could do everything yourself, you could be in the corner, and take control of the whole experience,” says the producer, “no one cared who you were. If you did your job right, if you played music at the right time and in the right away, you had so much power. It was so exhilarating.”
Hawtin also discusses his early days as the “the annoying white kid” in the predominately African American electronic scene in 80s Detroit. “When I started going to Detroit in the late 80s the Detroit techno underground scene was very very small, very tight, and predominantly African American, so when two white kids came over, there were some eyebrows raised.” It was this tight-knit community which first provoked Hawtin, as an introverted kid and self-described “outsider” to become immersed in the culture.
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