Sven Väth (born 26 October 1964) is a German DJ and producer in the electronic music scene since 1981. His single, “Electrica Salsa” under the alias OFF launched his career in 1986. Lovingly referred to as “Papa Sven” by his fans, Sven Väth has made his mark in the music community by being one of Germany’s “pop stars” in the nineties, running two famous night clubs in Germany, and starting his own company Cocoon, which encompasses a booking agency, record label, and a branch for events. He is recognized for cultivating the underground electronic music scene not just in Germany but in Ibiza as well, with his own night at Amnesia for fourteen years and after-parties at creative locations around the island. Sven Väth is a major proponent of vinyl, using only two decks and a mixer for his extensive DJ sets, his longest set having been 30 hours
Both of Sven Väth’s parents were from East Germany. They escaped separately and met each other by chance in the West when they were very young, in a town near Frankfurt. The two of them married and had three sons, including Sven, while his father was still a painter. Young at heart, his parents would go dancing often and his father wished to open an English pub, which they did. The pub had a small dance floor, where Sven was introduced to a wide range of music, from rock’n’roll to disco.
In the summer of 1980, Väth went for the first time to Ibiza after hearing about it from the local scene in the town of Hesse, where he was living at the time. Using his job seeker’s allowance money, Väth hitchhiked from Barcelona and ended up spending three months on the island, sleeping on beach chairs and distributing flyers for clubs in order to get by It was that summer he decided that he wanted to become a DJ, after becoming enchanted with Ibiza and his time there. When he returned to Germany, Sven’s mother asked if he would DJ at his parents' pub. Sven gladly acquiesced. He was 17 at the time
Only a year later, in 1982, Sven Väth was asked to play a residency at the club Dorian Gray in Frankfurt. It was there that he met Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilloti and got into music production. In 1985, he produced the track “Bad News,” which he brought with him to Ibiza and proffered it to Alfredo, Pippi, and Cesar – Ibiza’s popular DJs at the time. The following year, in 1986, Sven Väth broke ground with his new record, “Electrica Salsa” under the acronym OFF on the album titled Organisation For Fun. The track became such a hit across Europe that Sven found himself as a pop sensation performing with stars such as Vanessa Paradis and Axel Bauer at the age of 22. It sold one million copies.
At the age of 24 in 1988, Väth opened the dance club “Omen” in Frankfurt with Michael Münzing and Mattias Martinsohn. Previously, it was open under the name “Vogue” and Väth had been its resident there as well for a stint. The new club became one of the best clubs in Germany, as voted by Groove Magazine and is considered to be one of the birthplaces of techno in Germany. A short German film of twelve minutes documents how the club prepares for another night with scenes of people on the dance floor interviewed for their thoughts on Omen. Ten years later with a heavy heart, Sven decided to close the club in 1998. The closure came in part due to problems faced with landlords and city authorities. At its last party, there were so many partygoers that speakers were set up outside and people danced in the street. Police did not intervene the party except to block car traffic.