Ten years ago amidst the pandemonium of the U.S. EDM boom, Richie Hawtin read the room and realized not only that a legion of new electronic fans and artists were flocking to the scene, but that many of them had an extremely limited understanding of the origins of the genre or of sounds beyond the mainstage big room style that dominated the era.
The Canadian techno pioneer took it upon himself to be a teacher, hitting the road on the 2012 and 2015 North American CNTRL tours, for which Hawtin hosted lectures and workshops on techno by day, and experiential learning sessions on the dancefloor of the club after dark.
It was in this era that many of the scene’s pioneers expressed their hope (and often their critiques), that U.S. audiences would mature beyond big room and discover the deeper sounds of house and techno, both of course genres made in America, largely among the Black artist communities of Detroit and Chicago.
A decade later, that vision has in many ways come true, with house, techno and tech-house supplanting EDM as the genres of choice among both new generations of dance fans and EDM fanatics who’ve been growing up with the sound for the last 10 years. So, too, has techno faced the same type of mass commercialization that rubbed so many scene pioneers the wrong way a decade ago.
To celebrate the gains of techno and to again educate audiences on the more underground realms of the now commercially popular sound, Hawtin is hitting the road for another educational tour this March. The run will hit eight cities in the U.S. and Canada, extolling the virtues and values of techno by presenting a collection of underground producers making some of the hardest, weirdest, most underground strains of the genre. Each warehouse show will happen in partnership with an independent promoter.
“TEN years have passed since the CNTRL tour, and it feels like we are now deep into a new sound of techno that has completely fused together the elements that we were witnessing back then,” Hawtin tells Billboard. “The huge explosion and popularity of EDM 10 years ago was exactly why we launched the CNTRL tour, going through North America by bus to reach and pollinate the ideals of techno through performances and talks.
“Now here we are, 10 years later,” he continues, “visiting underground warehouse events throughout the country with artists that have come straight out of those times — artists inspired by all types and styles of electronic music, but extremely focused and dedicated to the sound and ideals of techno.”
This From Our Minds – To Be Announced 2023 tour launches on March 10 in techno’s hometown of Detroit, before dipping into Canada and then coming back to the U.S. for shows in Las Vegas, San Francisco and beyond. Venues are yet to be announced. See the complete schedule below.
Joining Hawtin on the tour — which takes its name from Hawtin’s ‘90s label Plus 8 and its ‘From Our Minds to Yours’ slogan — will be a rotation of techno producers including Canada-based Barbosa, New York’s Jay York, Texans Decoder and Declan James, Phoenix-based Lindsey Herbert (who first encountered techno as an EDM fan on the CNTRL tour back in the day), San Francisco’s DJ Deep Pedi and the Guam-born, L.A.-based JIA. Each show will also of course include a set from Hawtin himself.
The tour has been created alongside Canada’s Genova Agencym, founded by Barbosa, Decoder, and fellow artist Garrett Finn (aka Rhyot), who in a joint statement say that “this tour is not just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us as artists and rising professionals to learn and grow, but a chance to inspire and lead the scene as a whole.”
Check out the dates below.