If you haven’t heard directly of John Acquaviva’s works, the chances are – whatever your involvement with electronic music is – that you will be aware of his work and influence within the electronic music community. The Italian-Canadian artist may be best known for his involvement with the techno titan Richie Hawtin, and the forming of the highly influential labels Plus 8 Recordings and DEFINITIVE recordings, however his influence and reach extends in swathes beyond these considered pillars of dance music culture.
We had the chance to talk with Johan Acquaviva ahead of his summer season.
Electronic Groove: Hi John, it’s a real pleasure to chat with you. Where are you right now?
John Acquaviva: Thanks for inviting me. I am finally home but delayed in the interview, as May I was around the world and here and there, having covered Sunwaves festival in Romania as a fan for the first time, a debut party for Erotika in Sofia as well as my dear friends Rich and Laura getting married in Japan, and Ibiza for IMS and opening week.
And now I am completing this in an airport on my way to Spain for shows, then Sónar followed by the Tech Open Air conference in Berlin.
EG: Summer is around the corner. What plans do you have for the season?
John Acquaviva: I love summer! But no lounging by the poolside for me.
I have some key gigs: Music on with Marco, Playaskool at Burning Man, Heart Ibiza, Secret Solstice, The BPM Festival in Portugal, and conferences: IMS, SONAR, TOA and travels in between.
EG: What would be your perfect summer vacation?
John Acquaviva: My perfect summer vacation is when I go to South America in December, January and/or February of the year. So basically one that is all year round 😉
EG: Talking about the music industry, what is your view on its current state? Are you happy with its evolution when you compare it to your youngster days?
John Acquaviva: Things have never been bigger and better, but also for the underground scene, there is more of whatever you want. Younger days are easy to get romantic about, but to be honest the quality and choice are simply unparalleled.
“My Plus 8 is the technology and business side, where we explore, discover,
inspire, motivate and invest”
EG: What can you tell us about Plus8?
John Acquaviva: Plus 8, the label still goes on, that is really Richie Hawtin’s baby, along with his other ‘kids.’ For me, my Plus 8 is the technology and business side, where we explore, discover, inspire, motivate and invest where we can to make a better more interesting place for our industry and vision.
EG: After so many years of experience, what advice do you have for this huge young generation of up and coming artists?
John Acquaviva: Be respectful of the opportunities you can, and make the most of them. If you take for granted or expect the world to give you something, it can stop very quickly.
EG: A few artists have come forward to talk about abuse and depression. In your career, have you had any personal issues with the lifestyle and what words of wisdom do you have for those in need?
John Acquaviva: This is tough. For me and many friends, there are some levels and degrees of outside pressure. But also it starts with yourself. I put high demands on myself and it took a while to find a balance, as we almost never give each other downtime.
I joke that my boss is a really hard guy, and cuts me zero slack, however in my case that is me. All joking aside, it is a very fine and delicate balance when we all burn so bright and drive so fast. An honest and tight support group is important.
For those who are younger, there are more outlets and also a public awareness that serves as a level of awareness and public support. We need to keep this on the table and improve of course.
“For me, the beauty lies in the time and place, and you look for a different one each day”
EG: Production wise, are you working on any new material?
John Acquaviva: Yes, starting to work with a few new producers and old friends… hope to have something after summer.
EG: What would be your last supper and where?
John Acquaviva: If I had the benefit of knowing the day it would be, it would be a simple disc of whatever was fresh and in season, wherever I was in the world. For me, the beauty lies in the time and place, and you look for a different one each day.
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