Renowned DJ returns
By Benjamin Freedman
IS A HIGHWAY, I WANNA RIDE IT ALL NIGHT LONG!" Life is sweet
for renowned London DJ John Acquaviva, who makes his return to the
Forest City tonight.
The electronic music
scene in London was, until very recently, in a rut. With clubs closing
and few events, partiers had nowhere to turn. In a startling, long-awaited
reversal, a world-class DJ, with an international reputation for powerful,
maniacally-driven sets, invades Bacchus Lounge tonight.
Benson & Hedges are prepared to hawk their deliciously poisonous wares
by presenting the amazing John Acquaviva.
Acquaviva grew up in London, and keeps it as his home-base. "I'm
in Amsterdam one day, Barcelona for the next three, then Ibiza, then somewhere
else. It gets exhausting. Just because I've seen the world doesn't mean
I have to forsake my roots. I like to slow down and enjoy the anonymity
that comes with this small town," says Acquaviva, who is raising
his family here.
Though Acquaviva retreats to London, he hasn't played here in a couple
of years. "Last time I played was with Richie [Hawtin], the lineup
was around the block. London has its moments and the people from the university
definitely bring a big city feel to any event."
Acquaviva's talent will certainly be an attraction. Having headlined festivals
and played for tens of thousands of fans, his eclectic, tech-house flavour
is a welcome treat for any venue.
He maintains, however, that a DJ's worth is truly established in a small
club. "In a small club, you can click with a crowd, and once you
do, they're yours."
He has been spinning since the end of disco in the late-'70s and has seen
the electronic music scene grow and come full circle. Acquaviva is pleasantly
reassured when he hears electronic music in beer commercials, because
it's what he had always predicted.
Premonitions about the success or failure of a particular aspect of electronic
music is second nature to Acquaviva. His knowledge is well-founded; he
was a key catalyst in bringing rave culture to North America, co-founded
the techno label +8 Records, brought the Final Scratch system into the
mainstream and has produced and mixed on over 100 records.
The latest and biggest change he has seen, and been a part of, is the
building of what he calls "the international culture of music."
"The common thread [is] the music because it's instrumental and usually
doesn't have vocals. Everyone can relate to it. It's a loving culture
because our parties don't have problems [in the] same way that hip-hop
or other genres do. We're not here to fight each other. It's love, but
"I don't do it to be a star," he says, "and my prime motivation
is not the fame. I'm happy with who I am and am not going to turn albums
to reflect what's going on in my life. I have nothing to prove, but maybe
it's just because I'm too shy.
"I play for the moment for the crowd. I think that's the sign
of a good DJ, and what makes a DJ better than a live band. I don't want
people to sing along. Just close your eyes, listen and see if you like
the sound," he says.