Talking Cult Culture with John Acquaviva

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The name John Acquaviva is one that’s become synonymous with electronic music and its surrounding culture. A quintessential businessman by day – running Plus8 Equity Partners as well as his very own Definitive Records— and an iconic musician by night, John Acquaviva is a multi-talented persona. Whether it be directing labels, advancing the technologies which have optimized electronic music’s presence, testing his hand at film, or foremost, producing and performing as an inspired DJ-Producer, no one has contributed greater to this industry than John Acquaviva. This Saturday, April 15, he’ll make his long-awaited CODA debut, but first we chatted with the artist to discuss the role of sub-cultures in today’s world. Thank-you John Acquaviva!

Techno and house producer, avid vinyl collector, technological innovator, and horror film executive–you’re certainly involved in a number of sub-cultures. How important are these different spheres to your identity? 

It’s very important for me to be involved in interesting projects.  Working with people and ideas keeps me fresh, invigorated and motivated.  I like to say I travel to all corners and nooks of the world to meet interesting characters and once connected, embark upon some interesting adventures.

 I am inspired by what I dont know… so subcultures are important and need to be explored and where possible, supported or at least checked out.

Do you think being a part of niche music community helped provide the kind of supportive atmosphere necessary to be innovative and develop new technology, such as Final Scratch and Beatport? 

Yes indeed.  In the early days and start of it all coming together with Richie Hawtin, we knew we would be making and exploring paths that would probably not be for everyone.  Rather, we hoped to find and connect that handful of alternative fans and friends in every city . Looking back and with the internet coming into its own by the end of the 90’s as the catalyst for our paradigm shift from analog to digital, it really accelerated our  connection with like minded people world wide.

When creating Plus8 and later Definitive Records with Richie Hawtin, did it occur to you at the time that you were creating platforms which wouldn’t only host electronic music, but in fact help build the culture itself?

It did not occur at the time. We simply followed our hearts and minds and tried to connect with people one release at a time.  I have said in many interviews that making records in the 90’s was like sending out a message in a bottle, not knowing where that vinyl might end up.  In retrospect, we could not have planned it anywhere near the wonderful way it has played out to date with electronic culture really having not only taken root, but even strong holds in many places.

Recently, as Executive Producer of The Red Man, you became involved in an entirely different sub-culture: indie horror film. Were you at all familiar with this niche before, and if not, what was your initial experience working in it?   

I love independent everything.  I have been friends with Jimmie Gonzalez (Director & Writer of the film) for well over 10 years, and had been keeping up with his story of making a film about a DJ protagonist  when he finally told me he was ready. I was all in and ready to support and participate… and here we are.

How important do you think the existence of sub-cultures– such as a rich techno community or passionate horror fanbase– is to nurturing the progress or evolution of different art forms? 

As I said above, I travel all corners of the world to meet and discover interesting and unique people places or things.  I am inspired by what I dont know… so subcultures are important and need to be explored and where possible, supported or at least checked out.

Making records in the 90’s was like sending out a message in a bottle, not knowing where that vinyl might end up.

 

"Import Tuesdays" at Nuts and Bolts, Toronto August 1987.

“Import Tuesdays” at Nuts and Bolts, Toronto August 1987.

On April 15 you’ll be debuting at CODA in Toronto– one of the few venues in the city representing the underground electronic community. How excited are you?

Super excited.  Rich and I gravitated to Detroit and techno was a Detroit thing, but Toronto was the first city I travelled to to DJ.  I have a wonderful history and memories of Toronto. From the raves to INDUSTRY…which is an all time global great club and a handful of other events.  Really have covered all the generation,s and so it is a huge satisfaction and pleasure to play at CODA, which is the venue of this generation to say the least!


Tickets to see John Acquaviva alongside Jonathan Coe, Leelee Mishi and Ali Black may be purchased here.
John Acquaviva is on Facebook// Twitter// Soundcloud

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