Raise a Glass of ENTER.sake with DJ/Producer Richie Hawtin

hawtin_portrait_byalex_de_brabant_700_t1000If Richie Hawtin is a techno god, then Enter.Sake is the perfect libation to pair with his music. The revered producer and DJ graces Las Vegas in the intimacy of Marquee Nightclub’s Boom Box Room Monday night with his brand of sake in tow. We caught up the Minus label boss to talk about his two loves.

Where did your fondness for sake originate? My love of sake has really come together because of my trips to Japan for many, many years. I love Japanese culture and so that really connected me deeply into the world of sake. But when I’m very, very honest, the first experience that I had was that sake tasted amazing and it made me feel great. I love the feeling of sake when I was listening to or playing electronic music. That’s the beginning of the project and why I’m part of it. If I feel that sake and electronic music works for me, then why wouldn’t it actually work for some of my fans and people on the dancefloor?

Since it’s not a typical beverage found in a nightclub environment, how do you think the two have complemented each other? You’re totally right. You don’t expect to have sake in a nightclub. But if it’s presented in the right way—whether it’s in a rocks glass or even potentially a wine glass, and people give it the attention it deserves—it can actually work very well. It can be problematic if you pour sake into small shot glasses and people shoot it and they don’t really give it time to experience the beautiful flavor. It is new, it’s not what people expect. But if you have a couple and there’s great music playing, sake really gives you a warm, heady buzz, which is unlike any other alcohol. The word “heady” always comes to mind because I think electronic music is kind of heady and hypnotic and that’s why they really work together.

Is any of your music particularly inspired by sake? Have you written a track influenced by—or maybe even under the influence of—sake? I try not to do any music under the influence of anything because it loses my attention. I’m very sober in the studio. I do pull from past experiences and past feelings that maybe were not as sober as I am in the studio. There’s a purity in sake in the taste and the way it’s made, the balance of this kind of minimalistic ingredients or yeast, water and rice that somehow reminds me of electronic music. Although I haven’t written a track specifically inspired by sake or about sake, the style of music that I make also is very stripped down, it’s man and machine, uses technology, but it’s music that tries to find just the right ingredients to give people this kind of great feeling and that to me is exactly what a brewer is doing when they’re making sake.

Looking towards 2017, what’s on your plate music-wise and with the sake as well?I’m spending the first two months of the year, January and February, in Japan, living in Tokyo. I’m splitting half my time between being in the recording studio working on new music and a new album, and the other half of the time working in the breweries that we work with to learn more about the process and actually understand and go deeper into the production side of sake.

Richie Hawtin With Lee K, Spacebyrdz, Bad Beat, Brett Rubin. November 28, 10:30 p.m., free with RSVP. Boom Box Room at Marquee Nightclub, 702-333-9000.

Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly.

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