Although he might be Canada's most famous DJ, Richie Hawtin was born in Oxfordshire, England. At the age of nine, he relocated along with his family to a suburb of Windsor, Ontario. Windsor was just across the river from Detroit, and like many in that city, Hawtin's father worked for General Motors, as a robotics technician. Hawtin became involved in the nascent techno scene at the same time it was springing up in Detroit, and, across the ocean, in Europe.
Producing music under the name FUSE, he eventually formed the Plus8 label with fellow DJ and producer John Acquaviva. Hawtin early records straddled the line between pure Detroit techno and the harsher sound that was coming out of Europe.
Armed with a custom built 303, he went on to produce the best known music of his career under the Plastikman alias, releasing the LP Sheet One. Packaging in a cover dummied up, perforations and all, to look like a sheet of acid, Sheet One defined the Hawtin sound - clinically precise neck-snapping 808 percussion backed by the ubiquitous 303.
Packaging in a cover dummied up, perforations and all, to look like a sheet of acid, Sheet One defined the Hawtin sound - clinically precise neck-snapping 808 percussion backed by the ubiquitous 303.
Unlike many other practitioners of the acid sound, Hawtin preferred to mess with his listeners' heads rather than pummel them into submission. His tracks unfolded slowly, with 303 lines gradually modulating their way into view and creating a deeply narcotic tension.
Post Sheet One, Hawtin went on to release a handful of other Plastikman LPs, and also became one of the most in-demand techno DJs. With a resurgence of interest in minimal sounds over the past couple years, he's proven the ability to stay as relevant as ever even as he can lay claim to being one of techno's true pioneers.