Hello dear music lovers and party animals,
I want to thank all of you for being around at all the festivals and in the clubs for my 30th anniversary as a DJ, and I especially thank you for the joy that you have greeted me with:
I can always rely on you when searching for the magic moments! In order to create these moments, we need love and the dedication to become a collective on the dancefloor. Closeness is a source for peace and happiness.
This year, my world tour has taken me to all continents (except the Antarctica), and I can say that I was welcomed everywhere with generous hospitality and great respect. There were really exceptional days and nights with extremely positive energy and many sweating dancefloors.
After some Asian gigs in Singapore, Kyoto, Seoul and Taipeh at the beginning of the year, I was invited to a panel session with my long-time friend Toby Izui by the German Goethe Institute in Tokyo in February. The subject was "150 Years of German-Japanese friendship" and there were 300 guests from arts, music and economy invited. The discussion was referring to my essay on 30 years of work as a DJ and the relation between Japan and Germany with regards to Techno and club culture.
The whole thing was terribly exciting for me, as I'm not really a speaker and have never spoken in front of so many people. The whole discussion was translated via headphones in Germen resp. Japanese, and at the end a young Japanese Techno producer came on stage and performed the most awesome human beatbox that I have ever heard and seen. On this occasion, we also had initiated a producer contest in Japan and have invited the winner to the Cocoonclub Frankfurt for a personal meeting. The winner was determined already in July and comes from Tokyo, and his song is featured on the compilation "Dots and Pearls", which has just been released on Cocoon Recordings.
In the following two weeks, I was touring Australia with the 'Future Music Festival', where I have played the farthermost gig of the tour in Perth, at the end of the world, so to speak! But please don't get that wrong – there are many fantastic people there who promote our music with great passion and lots of love!
When I then heard the news at the beginning of March while touring, I couldn't believe what I was seeing there. I was deeply shocked by the catastrophic events in Japan.
I had just been there a few days ago and immediately called my friends there, luckily everybody was safe. I was on stage in Sydney and Leftfield played live, I was scheduled after them. I think there was somehow a suppression mechanism starting, regarding the events in Japan. We had about 6000 people in the tent and the atmosphere was really great. So I started my set, being in a good mood and a positive tension, as always. But while I was playing, a creeping sadness grew on me and that was new to me - I felt that something was wrong with me. Fortunately, my playtime was only two hours long. After I played my last record, I left the stage and jumped into the shuttle. In the car I started crying my eyes out, the compassion and the grief just poured out of me.
This was without doubt the most extreme DJ experience this year, as I didn't know anymore if it was right or wrong to play there.
I have often asked myself, how do we all cope with the awful things that happen day by day in our world, in order to then perform again with high motivation. Honestly, I don't know.
But what really counts is the moment, the here and now!
With my music, I have the privilege to contribute to this "here and now", no matter where on this world. Many people regain their strength when they let themselves go in the music, and they need this strength for their daily life.
Dance makes us authentic. The body doesn't lie. Within motion, we experience the here and now, and what joy and happiness can effect.
For me, it is important to take up an attitude of joy, respect and love, of greatfulness, integrity and awareness in life.
Back to my end-of-year review: as massive the moments on the big festival stages may be, as intensive are the memories of my countless all-night-long sets: from the smallest club in Ascona with only 150 people up to the established clubs, it has rocked: Womb / Tokyo, Haoman 17 / Tel Aviv, State / Buenos Aires, D.Edge / Sao Paolo, Cromie / Bari, Lux / Lisbon, Fabric / London, Watergate / Berlin, Calypso / Hammamet, Muretto / Jesolo, Cocorico / Riccione, Cavo Paradiso / Mykonos, and of course at Cocoon in Ibiza and in my living room, the Cocoonclub Frankfurt... just to name a few.
Oh, there were a few after hours, too:
The longest set I have played was seven hours at the Cocoon Closing Party at Amnesia, and after that, we went on for fourteen hours at the after party on the beach. What a trip! My record cases were full of sand... scrunch & scratch...!
Ibiza 2011 – all I can say is: You are the heroes!
Thank you, it was simply incredible!!!
The most gigs I played were in good old Germany, of course. The German clubs were real fun, and despite the rainy summer, also the festivals have really rocked it: e.g. the TH!NK? in Leipzig, Love Family Park in Hanau (with probably the biggest dancefloor I have played in 2011), Green & Blue in Obertshausen, Neverland in Bottrop, Greenfields in Munich, but also the indoor festivals like Time Warp in Mannheim, Fly Bermuda in Berlin, Mayday and of course our first festival in the Alps, Cocoon in the Mountains in Obertauern, just to name a few.
The international festivals to mention are, among others, the Movement Festival in Detroit, Coachella in the U.S., Bunk-Tek in Belgium, Audioriver in Poland, Vision in Switzerland, Superbock in Portugal, Inox in France, Space Of Sound and Klubber's Day in Spain, Time-Warp Italy and Holland, the Creamfields festivals in South America and the UK, as well as the SWU in Brazil and the two Cocoon events in Mamaia and Bucharest. Furthermore, I was overwhelmed by the success of the third edition of 'Cocoon in the Park', which is meanwhile said to be the best mini festival in England, and of the second edition of 'Cocoon Ibiza' in Rome, which was again sold out.
Apropos Italy: again this year, my gigs in Bella Italia were charged with emotion. The Clorophilla Club in Bari is one of the most exceptional clubs in the world: the former estate of Sophia Loren is surrounded by nature, with trees and fountains on the dancefloor. The whole thing paired with the passion of the people from Southern Italy is a special experience each time, just as the beautiful event 'Sven Väth in the Park' at Tini Club in Livorno, well organised with much love by Leo, Cincia und Denni, thank you for that!
By the way: on the occasion of my 30th DJ anniversary, I have made myself a present at the beginning of the season. As an act of necessity – the record cases that I used before are not produced anymore – I have three fine handmade record cases made for me here in my Hessian home, they have a lifetime guarantee! Despite the fact that playing with vinyl nowadays can be hard, especially at festivals, there were only a few technical problems occurring at my performances this year, except that a few times the wind almost blew off the records from the turntables, my bags including the contents had to be cleaned from the sand after the beach after hour parties and once I had a monitor speaker hitting my head from behind at an after party in Ibiza. Ouch!
This year, I have received about 400 promo vinyls and have bought about 800 records myself, some of them twice. It was noticeable that many record labels have made event greater efforts in the selection of music and in the design of artworks than they did over the last years. Thank you to all who still take the efforts to produce vinyl, to distribute and sell it: pressing plants, mastering and cutting studios, distributors and record shops, and, of course, all the artists who still want to be released on vinyl.
Many thanks also for your support at this year's Groove reader's poll!
I want to say thank you to my whole team for the good work, as such a year has to be well-planned and organised. Thank you Maurizio and Johannes and the whole Cocoon team!
We carry on...
And of course I want to thank my wife and family for always supporting me within all this madness and backing me up!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays with your family and beloved ones and a magic 2012 – "The Year of the Dragon"!