When you ask any of today’s techno up-and-comers who they look to for inspiration, there’s a good chance they’ll say Richie Hawtin.
Hawtin, who has produced his signature minimalist techno under a variety of aliases, —including, perhaps most notably, Plastikman—is a pioneer of the genre, pushing fans and the wider industry to embrace and appreciate his nuanced, haunting, and sometimes delicate take on techno.
Born in 1970 in the UK, Hawtin was raised in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, just a stone’s throw from Detroit, where the techno scene was booming in the 1980’s. The Detroit River, which runs between the two cities, was enough of a barrier, allowing a young Hawtin to carve out his own path and artistic vision, listening to the work of artists like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. By age 17, Hawtin had adopted his first onstage moniker, DJ Richie Rich, and was playing clubs across the Detroit area.
In 1990, Hawtin established Plus 8 Records with John Acquaviva, and with the label’s first release (“Elements of Tone,” attributed to States of Mind) the two artists quickly began to generate buzz in the techno world. Soon, the label became a home for others, like Kenny Larkin, Speedy J, and Vapourspace, who shared a similar pared-down yet razor-sharp techno vision and sound.
In 1993, Hawtin debuted Plastikman, which has become his most successful and well-known project to date. As Plastikman, he released albums, tracks, and mixes prolifically, even teaming up with fashion designers and labels like Raf Simons and Prada for runway shows and events. Despite a variety of additional ventures and projects over the years, Hawtin returns to Platikman consistently (his most recent release was in 2022) and continues to surprise and intrigue techno fans across the world.