Banbury-born techno pioneer Richie Hawtin launches PHD scholarship and talks of inspiring the next generation
The highly respected producer and award-winning DJ was born in Banbury and has fond memories of his early childhood spent in the town before moving to Canada, where he was first introduced to techno music in the late 80s.
Richie who has also launched his own music technology company PLAYdifferently, put his name to the scholarship programme at the university because he felt the ideas and approach to the teaching was similar to his own.
The scholarship will offer one talented student the opportunity to research topics like festival and event cultures, raving, socio-sonic aesthetics, electronic music cultures, and more with a full waiver of the course’s tuition fees.
Richie said: "I was introduced to Huddersfield University after meeting with their Professor of Music, Rupert Till and learning about their very open-minded and contemporary approach to the music and design art curriculum.
"The uni presented to me an honorary doctorate from their programme and we committed to working more closely together in the future, offering presentations directly to the students to help their journey.
"The PHD scholarship is a continuation of that commitment, to help bring new awareness to the programme and to promote a deeper dive into the culture, history, and practises of electronic music through an academic lens. This is incredible exciting to me since when I first started my career there were no other resources besides the manual that came with a synthesiser!"
Although it has been many years since the DJ - who has headlined numerous festivals and clubs - lived in Banbury, he has incredible memories of his time spent around the town and Middleton Cheney before leaving at age nine.
"We have a huge extended family in the area and spent a lot of time on West Street at my Nan’s house. Actually even later on when I would come back to visit as a teenager, I’d stay at my Nan’s again and walk into town from West Street, over the bridge at the train station. Those walks also reminded me of great memories of growing up in Banbury, learning to swim at the old Spiceball swimming pool and going on the Helter Skelter at Banbury Fair!"
Richie’s life was changed when he was introduced to the Detroit style of techno music in his teens, which was just emerging across the border from where he was living in Canada.
He soon fully immersed himself in the growing electronic music world and has since put his name and numerous aliases to countless records and has continuously performed to huge crowds around the world for the last 30 years.
He said: "Both my parents were adventurous, and that led them to leave Banbury and move all the way to Canada, which landed us in Windsor, Ontario on the border with Detroit, USA.
"Detroit just happened to have a developing new music scene called techno in the late 80’s when I was a teenager and that’s where my upbringing, knowledge and excitement all intermixed to push me into the world of DJ’ing and a career in electronic music.
"Last year I played in over 25 different countries and played in front of thousands and thousands of people dancing to techno music. That still excites and inspires me more than anything and keeps pushing me in finding new ways to use technology to create and entertain."
Richie is hoping that the PHD scholarship programme along with his other work promoting the electronic music scene, will help inspire the next generation of musicians and producers.
Richie said: "With so many people now interested and excited to become part of the electronic music scene it’s very important to find your own unique sound and path. There is no easy fast approach, only time and extreme focus to bring your own unique ideas into the world. Be yourself, trust yourself and your instincts, and work hard, very hard."
For more information on the scholarship, visitresearch.hud.ac.uk