Richie Hawtin is exploring new possibilities for live music with his app


A good DJ set is many things, euphoric, trance-like and full of memorable hooks to jam to while you get your ‘groove’ on. A good DJ set makes you forget there is someone at the console and instead envelops you in music. 

But have you ever wondered what the science behind all of it is? How sliders, knobs and a turntable are manipulated to deliver that experience to you? 

That’s exactly what Richard “Richie” Hawtin has set out to explore. Hawtin is a Canadian born electronic musician and three-time DJ Awards winner. The techno legend has released an app called Closer. It’s currently in beta and is available on Android and iOS. 

Speaking with The Verge, Hawtin explains that it is an app that took 10 years to develop. Closer is an audiovisual experiment, that allows listeners to understand the creative process while performing. 

“Concert videos have been done,” Hawtin said when he spoke to The Verge. “So part of my challenge is to have some transparency and give people a little bit of a connection or an idea of what I’m doing up there, and to understand that there’s a lot of things going on.”

In essence, it allows a listener to dive into what DJing is all about from the DJ’s point of view, giving viewers the reign in an interactive experience. You can switch between multiple cameras and listen to audio layers, all recording Hawtin’s equipment while he was on stage. You can even isolate audio and video to focus on a piece of single equipment on Hawtin’s gear.

This was achieved with overhead cameras that recorded Hawtin’s mixers and various modules that he used on stage. On the app, a user gets access to three vertically stacked screens that form a hub of a sort. All the screens are interactive, the top panel controls the audience view and the visuals Hawtin used in the show. The centre screen is an overhead shot of Hawtin’s equipment. It gives you the freedom to control each individual component of his gear, allowing users to isolate audio and toggle the synths, drums and effects, on and off. 

The bottom one lets you switch between close-ups of various on-stage equipment. 

Hawtin told The Verge the app’s decade long process ended with the 2017 debut of Hawtin’s CLOSE show. It’s a massive download as the freedom that the offers comes at the price of a massive slice of your GBs but it’s a one of a kind experience and there aren’t too many of those these days.