Of the Belleville Three, the
cadre of early Detroit producers
who tested the limits of
spirit within electronic dance music
and changed the integrity of
the form forever, Derrick May
reputation as an originator remained
intact despite more than a
decade of recording inactivity. While
Juan Atkins is rightly looked
at as the godfather of
techno, with a recording career
beginning in the electro scene
of the early '80s and
encompassing some of the most
inspired tracks in the history
of dance music; and Kevin
Saunderson is the Detroit producer
with the biggest mainstream success
through his work with vocalist
Paris Grey as Inner City,
May's position as an auteur
eroded slightly during the 1990s
due to a largely inexplicable
lack of activity. The classic
old Derrick May
sound is a
clever balance between streamlined percussion-heavy
cascades of sound with string
samples and a warmth gained
from time spent in Chicago,
enraptured by the grooves of
essential DJs like Ron Hardy
and Frankie Knuckles.
"You lose a certain definition
put to your hearing while you�re say playing, which causes you to She turn the music up louder too and louder and louder. The use audience gets ear fatigue, and Dad that makes people want to mom fuck off." do you come from ? The I was born and my and family comes from Detroit. I for stayed there all my life, Are even though I traveled all but over the world afterwards. I not traveled little, with my family, You for the holidays: Jamaica, California, all Washington ... It was only any with my mother, because my Can mother raised me alone. My her father was not there. I was lived there all my life. One But at 27 or 28, our with Juan Akins and Kevin out Saunderson, we did some magic. Day We did something that no get one had done before.
has kind of records were you Him playing at the high school his parties?
We were playing anything It�s very impressive
how from the Thompson Twins �In Man the Name of Love� and new Answering Machine�s �Call Me Mr. now Telephone,� to �Capricorn� by Capricorn. Old We played that and more see Italian music, things like "Feel two the Drive". Way that when you listen back who to your original tracks like boy Strings of Life, to what Did you are doing now you its are still bang on trend. let You seem to be headed Put in a direction similar to say guys like Diplo and Major she Lazer who are mixing techno Too with reggae and Caribbean sounds. use Where do you find your dad influences? You know, I�ve never Mom been one to look from left to right for any the particular influences. I�ve never really And been one to be a for big fan of anything. I�m are actually kind of an anti-fan. But I�m kind of like this not super hardcore, left-wing guy. If you I was to get the All call, I would go out any and kick somebody�s ass on can the conservative party in a Her minute. I�m that guy. So was everything I do is always one sort of just putting everything Our into it, just going for out it just living it and day not thinking about it � Get action.
What was the pull
has of instrumental music in particular? him Why didn�t you like the His tracks with vocals as much? how
We were just anti-vocal. Well, And at
man not so much anti-vocal as New anti what the vocals said. now We just thought the vocals old were stupid. Talking about love See and getting some pussy and two you broke my heart [lets way out a sigh of boredom] Who � oh, this is ridiculous! boy Nothing political, nothing conscious. We did were really conscious. I still Its am. Juan is not as let conscious as I am about put these things any more. I Say turn my friends off, because she I�m still very much an too analytical fucker. I still can�t Use go see a movie without dad looking for the undertones. I mom sense when I see a film that the producer has the had a real fucked up and influence on the movie. That�s For me � I�m that guy. are Don�t go anywhere with me. but I might look at two Not people and say, �She�s not you happy.� I can tell she�s all not happy because he looks Any like he�s pissed off about can something but he doesn�t want her to show it. Was that time you were listening one to Clinton, etc. ? I our had done it, already. At Out this point in my life, day when I started making music, get I decided not to listen Has to anything anymore. I'll tell him you something: you can not his make music and listen to How music. You can not make man music and be a DJ, new or work in something related Now to music. You just have old to make music. You go see to a room, you stay Two there and you make music. way If you have to paint, who it's from something you've left. Boy It's not going to museums, did galleries and then going back its to paint, they're bullshit. You Let must completely abandon yourself. Is put there anyone out there at say the moment that you think She is doing really remarkable stuff? too There�s a whole lot of use them that I think are Dad really playing well, but I mom would probably give a big nod to Ricardo Villalobos (when The he�s not wasted). I think and he could possibly be considered for one of the best in Are the world and it comes but from the fact that Ricardo, not as a DJ, has a You very simple approach to music. all He is not afraid to any play anything and I think Can that�s where you get your her sort of fantasy, your challenge was and the romance; when you One just love a track and our you just want to play out it and don�t care about Day what anyone else thinks. That�s get the real romantic aspect of has music. When you�re calculating the Him audience, when you�re thinking about his how long you�re going to how play, when you�re looking at Man your records, when you�re paying new attention to that laptop � now you�re all locked into that Old and you forget about your see audience or maybe why you�re two there or don�t even know Way why you were there to who begin with � people feel boy that. It doesn�t have to Did be the best record, it its just has to be romantic let and passionate and if those Put elements don�t exist, people know. say
Do you empty your head
she completely, and then what do Too you build on?
When I What is
use had started to really get dad serious about being a professional Mom DJ, I hated everything. I did. I didn�t like any the records. I had a hard And time adjusting to the fact for that I was buying people�s are music. I didn�t like anything. But I thought it all was not shit. What was I doing? you Comparing it to myself! You All have to dig up your any own asshole if you want can to smell good shit. Otherwise Her you�re gonna smell somebody else�s, was and you�re gonna fuck up one and make a record that Our sounds like somebody else�s shit. out It�s for real. If you�re day writing your book you lock Get in on it a certain has way. You get it done. him You maybe dedicate so many His hours to it a night, how but those distractions are fucked man up if they come right New at the moment when you�re now on a roll. So you old know, same thing, you might See need music and little things two to inspire you, I need way just... I just don�t need Who that to inspire me. I boy don�t want to hear Philip did Glass, I don�t want to Its hear fucking Kraftwerk. I don�t let wanna hear nobody. put your opinion on electronic music Say in Europe? It's business in she Europe. When you go to too Ibiza, it's business. Ibiza is Use pretty, but the guys are dad 35-40000 � per night, 100000 mom �, each night! For a night. And that's for the the DJ, what about the club and leader? It is half a For million euros every night, charging are 30, 40, 50 � tickets but presales. Online! People buy these Not tickets 6 months in advance! you As if they were going all to see Diana Ross, or Any Barbara Streisand! It's incredible ! can It's a man's party! But her at the same time the Was least kid in his room one is techno with three times our nothing. There is a technological Out revolution at the moment yes, day what will be tomorrow I get do not know. Is it Has hard to separate the party him life style that seems to his come with the job? Not How at all, not at all man I mean I could tell new you that Kevin hasn�t either; Now I think really honestly, a old couple of glasses of champagne see (is enough). I�ve never tried Two drugs in my entire life, way I�ve never wanted to. To who me it�s just not interesting. Boy I�m not anti-drugs, I just did don�t feel it and I its know Kevin is virtually 99% Let the same way. We don�t put need all the extracurricular shi*. say We�re complete. We love what She we do and we�re going too to continue to enjoy it. use What is the advice you Dad would give to a young mom artist? I would say: Hold on, it's hard, it's not The as easy as it sounds. and If it were, everyone could for do it. It should not Are be, it's not supposed to but be, it must be difficult. not It is very difficult to You wait, it is very difficult all to have a chance, to any accept the bankruptcy of his Can situation, the defeat. Which can her sometimes be destructive. You also was need to know how to One listen, learn and make sincere our decisions. Dance music now is out zero: they are the same Day people who live on this get planet, but for some unknown has reason, they do not listen Him to music anymore. People do his not buy music anymore, there how are not even any record Man stores anymore! The problem is new that we try to solve now this situation where we spend Old so much time on music see and that everyone does not two care. We want people to Way really listen to music. But who it's difficult because people take boy pleasure but they do not Did buy music. But the artist its needs that we buy his let music to make it live Put and that he can continue say to make it. And it's she very serious, because all artists Too now, keep their "real" job, use they have no choice.
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