Ten Questions for Sven Väth

Ahead of his headline show at Glasgow's Electric Frog & Pressure Riverside Festival, the great 'Papa' Sven answers ten questions about his long and remarkable career

Feature by Claire Francis | 12 May 2017

Sven Väth's career in electronic music spans over 35 years, and his contribution to the evolution of techno remains immeasurable. Originally hailing from Frankfurt, the iconic German DJ and producer founded Cocoon Recordings in 2000, an imprint that has since launched the careers of many notable house and techno artists. 

Väth's long-running Monday night parties at Amnesia in Ibiza, which began in 1999 and continue to this day, have also become the stuff of legend, and have helped shape the now-instantly recognisable Ibiza sound. With 'Papa' Sven (as he is affectionately known by his fans) set to return to Scotland this month for Glasgow's Riverside Festival, we asked him ten questions about touring, the changing shape of the industry, and where he sources his inspiration. 

1. This will be the third time you’ve headlined Riverside Festival – what is it about the event that keeps you coming back?

The atmosphere. The last two years were so much fun, such good energy. This year is going to be even better. I had a short rest this winter. I am ready for the Riverside crowd. Music lovers, interested in dancing, party animals! What more do you need to start a party?

2. You're playing a huge number of dates as part of the Sven Väth World Tour 2017 this year; can you tell us about where you'll be playing and what the inspiration is behind this tour?

I have been touring the world for a few years now and this year the list is too long to relate, but I cross a few time zones for sure. It inspires me. Every crowd, every location is different. My record bag's far too big.

3. You've said that it was in Ibiza that you first realised you wanted to be a DJ. What it is about the island that holds such an appeal for you?

It’s a kind of magic. The island’s nature, the people, the vibe, you have to come and feel it. [I'm] still there every Monday night of the season – or I wouldn’t be doing my job.

4. How has the clubbing scene in Ibiza changed over the years?

[It's] ever more competitive. It is a cake and many want a piece, so with all the options it becomes a fight to survive for some. At Cocoon we just keep our foot on the pedal and do what we do.

5. Can you tell us about any major production projects or events you have planned for this year?

The 18th year of Cocoon Ibiza is going to be massive, I will play 14 shows and the rest of the line-up is amazing this season. I really look forward to it. Another Cocoon In The Park Festival in Leeds will happen in July 2017, it’s really a unique concept and vibe and worth visiting. 

6. What are the most noticeable changes to the electronic music industry that you've observed over the course of your career?

This would be a long conversation. Let's say the major change is that our scene has become more and more global and professional, in a good way and also in a bad way (looking at manager egos and the 'I want it all and want it now' [mentality]. And artists that only look for the shorter success not giving back anything to our scene!) But I am more than happy in general, since our scene is still very alive and growing and interesting.

7. You have a strong interest in contemporary art; can you tell us a bit about that?

Yes I have, with friends like Andreas Gursky and Tobias Rehberger you cannot help it and I hope to collaborate with them and others in the future. 

8. Where do you look for inspiration, in order to keep your sets fresh and exciting?

Into my beautiful fat bags of vinyl, which thank god I normally do not have to carry alone these days. I am always listening and watching.

9. This is your 36th year of DJing – do you have any career goals you'd still like to achieve?

The goal was always to make fun and have fun with people. It's a work in progress.

10. Can you describe what a 'normal day' is like for you?

Happily, I cannot. Every day is a new adventure, especially with my little son Tiga. I love to discover new horizons every day.

Sven Väth will appear at Glasgow's Electric Frog & Pressure Riverside Festival on Sat 27 May