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Plus 8's Jon Acquaviva: "I Hate Autographs"

Author: Skruff
Monday, April 9, 2001
"I'm very gracious if people come up and ask for an autograph but you know what-- I shudder at the thought of me asking anyone for an autograph because we're all equals." Plus 8 head honcho Jon Acquaviva chatted to Mezz this week as he prepared to celebrate 10 years of his label with a special London party. Along with his fellow Canadian Plus 8 partner Richie 'Plastikman' Hawtin, Acquaviva remains a key innovator in electronic music, notably the genre known as techno. Not that he's looking for public celebration or fame; "I'm stunned at young people falling into the trap of following icons. Be your own man and let's share our diversity."

Mezz: Is performing in London just another show or a particularly important gig-

Jon Acquaviva: "Every scene is different, London's a scene unto itself, and then there's England. London's usually really good - on occasion it can be a little over-inflated but there's always good moments. Some people think that England's the make-or-break place and England and London have certainly been very good for us, because they've embraced Rich (Richie Hawtin) to such a degree. But except when I join Rich I don't play very often in England personally. And I think I've achieved quite a successful career without it."

Mezz: On the Plus 8 Classics compilation you talk about working from a 'blueprint' since 1990, is the blueprint still relevant today-

Jon Acquaviva: "We actually called some of our early compilations 'Blueprints for Modern Technology' and we were always trying to be futuristic and progressive. We've always tried to package the work that we've done for people who are new to the scene and over the last ten years more and more have come through. The Blueprints are almost a tongue in check idea, though. I see the Plus 8 anthology as a collection of a body of work that puts the decade in perspective and also puts it behind us. Some of those songs though still seem quite relevant to us. Every year more people are embracing electronic music; we started out as freaks and now it's become a big movement."

Mezz: The sleevenotes say that the Plus 8 logo was 'equally as important as the music'; why-

Jon Acquaviva: "Rich and I have always been wary of the whole icon and image aspect of popular culture, yet people like that and want it. So instead of using our faces, it was important for us to have something to represent the label. The logo evolved over 10 years and it's not just about the individual. So that logo was the icon that people wanted."

Mezz: I'm still surprised you view the logo as 'equally' as important as the music, what do you make of Naomi Klein's No Logo book-

Jon Acquaviva: "The first magazine that I passionately subscribed to was Adbusters, I haven't read the whole of her book but I agree with her ideas. I don't like to wear logos on my sleeves that aren't me and I'm anti logo definitely. But society has always been icon and image orientated. We want to be alternative but we also don't want to be alternative to the degree that some bands were in the 80s which meant that no-one liked them. As a DJ I'm an entertainer, Rich has slightly different views on this but I DJ to entertain. Many people don't live in music as deeply as I do and they just want to escape rather than being taken on too strange a trip. They just want to go and have a drink with their mates and a night out. I respect that attitude, totally."

Mezz: When you're DJing do you come across many fans who remind of yourself when you were first clubbing-

Jon Acquaviva: "I'm too far removed, if I didn't have the music, I wouldn't be able to relate to most of those people; my head is so elsewhere. I love the music and I like tapping into the energy of a room but I don't hang out in clubs anymore. I've clubbed for over 20 years and it's very different. Going back to that 'No Logo' thi