A four hour story: Sven Väth in Lepakko 1994 (3/5)

It’s interesting how originally (from the 30s until the late 80s) DJs mostly played long sets because generally there was only one DJ at work per night. With the arrival of the “superstar DJ” concept in the late 80s/early 90s promoters started to book more and more DJs for one night, resulting in DJs playing shorter and shorter sets, peaking perhaps with Love Parade’s 20 minute main slots.

In Finland the progression was similar yet not as extreme. But one DJ seemed to be different: Frankfurt based Omen club’s owner and resident DJ, arguably the key figure in establishing trance as genre (through his Eye’Q and Harthouse labels) and already back then one of world’s biggest techno DJs – Sven Väth. His gig at Tavastia in March of 1994 was the biggest single DJ performance in Finland yet and Sven demanded to play a minimum of three hours. Tavastia’s owner Juhani Merimaa was wondering how can a promoter charge 95 FIM for “just a DJ”? I guess he was later happily surprised to see the event selling out.

Eliot Ness organized the main event at Tavastia with myself and Eliot doing the warm up and asked if we (myself and Tero from Unity) wanted to do the afterhours with Sven headlining. Of course we had to do it. It’s quite funny how we thought Mr. Väth was “a very very expensive DJ” because his fee for the afterhours gig was 500€ (3000FIM)! Considering that his current fee is five figures in euros, plus a very demanding rider… In Lepakko he was very down to earth, hanging around and chit chatting with his newly acquired 10 word Finnish vocabulary. His 3 hour set was brilliant and he requested to keep on playing, so I gladly gave him my ending slot and continued celebrating my 17th birthday on the dance-floor :) Sven has later visited Finland numerous times at Eliot’s and Borzin’s events with the last couple times playing the whole 6h night by himself. Unlike any other foreign DJ in Finland. Ever.

Later on I visited many of Sven’s marathon sets in Berlin which (in those pre-internet times) was the spiritual home of inspiration for most finnish techno enthusiasts. I visited the first ever Love Parade Sunday open air afterhours party Love Park in 1994 which was something very casual: small park in Berlin with Sven Väth playing all-day-long with a small PA set-up and a couple of hundred people dancing through the day. Musical highlights from that set include Jam & Spoon’s ‘Odyssey To Anyoona’ and Underworld’s ‘Dark & Long (Dark Train mix). Pure Bliss. With time Love Park developed into Love Parades biggest Sunday daytime event organized together with Tresor and gathering 5000+ people during the day.

During the last ten years it’s been refreshing to see Sven’s Cocoon concept become Ibiza’s biggest night and being the main influence in transforming the house and trance dominated island into a safe home for techno. This season in Amnesia Sven also introduced an early evening “warm-up” for the Monday night with himself playing the Terrace before the main room opens – in reaction to the new opening hour restrictions on the island.

To me Sven Väth represents a true Techno Artist: a visionary trendsetter known for his hedonistic lifestyle, yet equally respected for building Cocoon club and label into an artistically uncompromised yet incredibly succesful global phenomena. He crystallized the spirit of electronic music in 1993 in words: “This is the first big music culture based on instrumental music. Which makes this the first truly universal music culture as the message of the music is the same whether you’re Chinese, German, American or Argentinean”.

I didn’t find the flyer of those Sven afterhours but as a blast from the past here is flyer of our Lepakko event from 1993. No Photoshop was used while creating this flyer;)

DJ Orkidea’s old school techno Top 11:

  1. Josh Wink: Higher State Of Counciousness
  2. Hardfloor: Acperience
  3. Renato Cohen vs Tim Deluxe: Just Kick (Carl Cox Remix)
  4. Joey Beltram: Energy Flash
  5. Slam: Positive Education
  6. Pump Panel: Ego Acid
  7. Funk D’Void: Diabla (Heavenly Mix)
  8. Maurice Joshua: This Is Acid
  9. The Martian: The Stardancer
  10. LFO: LFO (Leeds Warehouse Mix)
  11. Joris Voorn: Incident

DJ Orkidea’s nu skool Techno Top 11:

  1. Cirez D: On Off
  2. Pitto: Feelin’ (District One’s Feelin’ Techno Remix)
  3. Reboot: Caminando
  4. Umek: 2nd To None
  5. Daniel Portman: Virtual Suicide
  6. Livio & Roby: Drumatik
  7. Tiger Stripes & Jerome Sydenham: Elevation (Radio Slave rmx)
  8. Peace Division: Club Therapy
  9. Peter Horrevorts: Evolver
  10. Khainz: Low Frequency Oscillator
  11. Smith & Selway: Transit Time (Dubfire Remix)