Label Showcase 30: Definitive Recordings
Launched originally in 1991 by John Acquaviva, Richie Hawtin and Karl Kowalski, Definitive Recordings was meant to establish the housier side of the electronic empire Hawtin and Acquaviva started with Plus 8 Records.
While Definitive Recordings has plenty of history and accomplishments, it’s the present-day agility that has fans and industry taking notice once again. Over the last five years, the label has been revived with a renewed vigor due in no small part to its signing of France’s Olivier Giacomotto. Now, with a deep understanding of a label’s requirements in this digital age, Definitive consistently makes strategic moves in sync with the demands and expectations of the tech-saavy masses.
So, with that, we continue our series highlighting our favourite labels from around the world. Today, we thought we would catch up with the Definitive bosses, John Acquaviva and Olivier Giacomotto. Also, at the end of this article you will find an exclusive full length mix from Olivier, giving an idea of how Definitve is meant to be heard…in the mix!
“We are are both electronic music gourmets, we enjoy good taste, quality, and well balanced music.”
What does Definitive add to the dance music spectrum?
John Acquaviva (JA) &Olivier Giacomotto (OG): Definitive Recordings is musical outlet of John Acquaviva and Olivier Giacomotto, it’s our sound, the music we play, the music love. We are are both electronic music gourmets, we enjoy good taste, quality, and well balanced music. With some of our giant success 10 years ago we had the possibility and the potential to go off the deep end of what we had started but that was never our way.
Some labels are too hard, some labels are too soft, for many we are just right. The goal has always been to create a unique quality house sound. Sometimes when you listen to some Definitive Recordings releases, you identify more techno elements, sometimes more housey, sometimes more proggy, sometimes more deep, but quality will always be there, unique and well balanced. We love food as much as we love music, we both cook a lot and always try to find the best food around the world, we know how to use and mix all the right ingredients in order to make the best dishes for your pleasure.
When did you first think about launching Definitive?
JA: Definitive was the counterpoint to all the techno we were making in the early 90s with Richie Hawtin. With our friend Karl Kowalski we always played and loved house, so we wanted the world to know and share our sound and vision on this front as well. The second generation started when I connected with Olivier after launching Beatport and we wanted to tap into as well as make a new and evolving sound.
When did Definitive actually launch?
JA: 93/94? memory is fading…
OG: Looking back at the history of house music, Definitive Recordings had been launched in spring 1992 with a first release called ‘Seriously’ by Jetstream.
Story behind the Definitive name?
JA: Simply what the word means… our definitive taste and stamp on house music.
What was the most difficult aspect of launching the label?
JA: In the early days, it was always distribution. Basically, it is a labor of love and really don’t dwell on what is difficult.
What qualities do you look for in a Definitive artist?
JA & OG: what we release is what we play and what we love… a good groove, a unique hook/idea, a good balance between dark and sexy sounds… and the love of club culture.