Pop star, club owner, label founder, booking agency boss, and of course with Cocoon, now heading into its 17th year at Amnesia, Sven Väth has held many guises throughout his vast and wildly impressive career.
It was in Ibiza where Sven first realised he wanted to be a DJ, after a sunrise session at Amnesia with DJ Alfredo in 1980 sent him to tears of joy on the dance floor. But his first visit to the island awoke something else in him, something spiritual. “I was definitely searching for the meaning and value of existential questions.” 10 years later, Sven would embark on another quest—to India—that would transform him once again, and keep the spiritual fire inside him burning long into his golden years as he communicated it to the world, night after night, with legendary DJ sets.
We talked to Sven about the lasting impact India has had on his life, career and well-being, gaining insight into the spirituality of one of dance music’s greatest minds.
When did you first start visiting India regularly. What drew you to the country? After I read the book Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. It contains references to religious beliefs like Hinduism and Buddhism, and opened up new meanings and reference points for me in the narration that I wanted to explore. It was very inspiring, and it was the reason that in 1990, I travelled for the very first time to India, Goa.
You still go to India every year. What makes the pilgrimage so essential? The first trip I took to India, I stayed only in Goa and investigated what it was inside me that had awakened. The following years I rented a house with a friend—still in Goa—but from our base, we had adventures, and travelled through other parts of India, and I could carry on exploring. It is a sub-continent, and discovering this mysterious place is a never ending process.
Now, just recently after 12 years, I went back for another unforgettable trip. India is unique in that it can delight and frustrate and then delight again all in the space of a day. A blur of different sensations and also questions about how everything works, and the opportunities that can be available for everyone, wherever they come from in life.
I love this country and the people, and will do my best to understand it even more. It sits somewhere inside me.
Does your spirituality influence your music? Yes, of course. Everything I do in music comes straight from my heart and soul, and dictates everything I present. In a way, I cannot control it, and still don’t understand it—but I like it.
You’ve talked often about the hippy spirit of Ibiza in the early ‘80s, when you discovered the island. Is that when you first found your spiritual side? I was definitely searching for the meaning and value of existential questions, the world, the people, and especially about existence in general and its meaning within life. In Ibiza, I have always felt connected in the sense of transcendence, knowledge, generosity and tolerance. It helped define something about me and ensured I kept looking. I think the answer to your question is: yes.
I believe you have close ties to Buddhism. While I know you’re not religious, does the Buddhist faith guide your daily life in any way? My daily Mantra is: Life is what you make out of it!
I’ve seen photos of you meditating on Facebook. Is that something you do regularly? No. But the important thing is, I now know when I want to meditate and how to release myself and benefit. I love that this is now part of my life
Do you think staying physically and mentally fit is partly why you’re still able to keep up such a demanding lifestyle (and enjoy yourself so much doing it)? Yes—then throw in the passion that drives me, and all that is left is to stay humble
Physical health often takes a back seat to professional goals for younger DJs. Do you have any advice when it comes to staying in the game as long as you have? Listen to your inner voice, do not doubt it, and remain true to yourself.
The 17th season of Cocoon Ibiza begins on May 30th, 2016 at Amnesia Ibiza. Click here for more details, and be sure to listen to KiNK and Kölsch remixes of Sven Väth's "Accident In Paradise" and "Robot", out April 15th on Cocoon Recordings, Sven Väth will also be headlining many summer events, including Belgium’s Ostend Beach on the 10th of July 2016.