Sven Vath on…

How does he do it? It’s a question pondered time and time again about the inexhaustible Sven Vath, who has spent over 30 of his 47 years consumed by music. While others slow down or fade away, Vath only gets more industrious with each passing year.

2012 has begun with the first phase of a new world tour that takes him solidly through till June. Then, of course, there’s the Northern summer and everything that entails: his Cocoon blowouts at Amnesia in Ibiza and the inevitable after-parties (his longest kick-on set in 2011 was 14 hours), the blur of festival tents and airport lounges, the weekly running of his Frankfurt club and label family. As he puts it to inthemix: “It’s not easy to reach me in the summer time.”

I’ve interviewed Sven Vath three times over the course of his relationship with Future Music Festival, and each time has seen his business smarts sharpen. While the eccentric techno evangelist shtick is still alive and well, it’s tempered by concerted talk of Cocoon releases, parties and success stories. “We are wanting to spread our music worldwide,” he says emphatically this time. That said, this is still the guy who turns up to a backyard in Perth with a bag full of vinyl: not the kind of behaviour you’d expect from his more media-managed peers.

The ‘Sven Vath sound’ has always been a fluid thing. From early trance through to muscular big-room techno, a great many records have hit his slipmats over the years. In 2000, Vath mixed Sound of The First Season as a snapshot of his summer in Ibiza, and there’s been a new edition every year since. 2011’s entry Sound of The Eleventh Season saw the Cocoon boss drop the tempo with a distinctly house-led selection, but already he’s predicting techno as the sound of 2012.

“When I played with Sven on New Year’s Day, I noticed that he was really championing techno,” Dubfire told inthemix on the phone this week. “Everyone these days is sort of playing a weird hybrid of house and tech-house, but Sven was playing this hands-in-the-air, pumping fists, nosebleed techno at that sexy sort of tempo that he’s known for.”

With an all-to-brief window to pick the DJ’s brains this time around, we’ve pulled together some of the key lessons from the school of Sven Vath.


I’m in Thailand with my family. We’re always here in January and February. I’m flying in and out from Phuket, and the weather is much better than in Europe at the moment.

I started my world tour on Chinese New Year in Singapore. I had a four week break, which was very important for me. Last year was tough, and I always need my time to come down and relax with my family. It’s also a kind of retreat here; I’m doing a lot of sport and giving myself time for other things: reading a book or having good therapy sessions here and there. Basically I’m recharging my batteries.


Last year for me was definitely interesting for the house vibes going on: from Steffi to Osunlade to Maceo Plex to Crosstown Rebels. There were some good house tunes with a trippy feel. I can already feel it, though: this is the year of techno.

I just feel the output is strong again, and I’ve been to some good techno parties in the last six months and people are screaming for techno again. People are bored of the boring house music that’s also around. There’s not such a big difference when it comes to the BPM; from 122 to 128 seems to be the average at the moment. There were so many wannabe house sounds and labels copying a sound, and only a few felt like strong releases. With techno, I have a feeling there’s good things going on again.

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