What makes this loss especially stinging is that Mike Huckaby was a force in giving music and production to others. He was not only a leader with his own musical voice, but someone who built others up around him, and was teaching a new generation of Detroit kids.
To all of Mike’s friends and family, my deep condolences. I know now is especially tough, as Detroit and the US are hit hard with the virus, and social distancing makes it tough to mourn. There’s nothing to say, but my heart goes out to you.
It’s particularly tough to take this as Mike is a hero to a lot of us, for all he does in education and sharing the gift to others. I’ve always been personally humbled by how giving he’s been to others. I hope we can give back even a fraction of what he has, especially knowing that presence will now be missed in Detroit and the music world.
Whatever happens, I hope we can follow in Mike’s footsteps in cities around the world.
Also to anyone in metro Detroit where of course these classes can’t meet, I’m sure many of us would be glad to lend a hand in Mike’s absence.
Del Smith had called for donations to support Mike in a “medical setback” on March 9. There’s no further information as I write this on cause of death. But as that post observes, in the USA, artists like Mike don’t have consistent access to quality health care and do carry too much of the burden of cost. And in 2020, all health needs will be impacted by COVID-19 and the strain it creates; metro Detroit has been hit especially hard. (Detroit has a central COVID-19 information page for any of our friends and readers there who don’t already know about it.) If we aren’t advocates for better health care for artists, then we aren’t advocates for artists. Health care access that isn’a available for everyone is simply wrong, anywhere in the world. I do hope to see some days when our community does better.
Rave Curious – Mike Huckaby [podcast + interview]
And the music… there’s so much brilliant stuff there. The phrase “deep house” doesn’t really seem to do justice to what Mike’s voice and groove sound like. (It’s also strange to watch the evidence of people listening again, as the world mourns.)
From his native Detroit, Mike was an institution in the famous Record Time music store in the 90s; he shared that post with Rick Wade, whose Harmonie Park imprint of course saw Mike’s music. Mike’s own Deep Transportation and S Y N T H labels made their mark, too, and he remixed everyone from Pole to Model 500. Then in the 21st Century traveled the world not only with his music, but as a technologist sharing his chops in Ableton Live, Maschine, and Reaktor.
Mike helped define the Tresor label and this generation’s renaissance of Berlin – Detroit connections, one of the leaders of the current connection between Germany and America. It’s a strange thing to reflect on as I write as an American here in Berlin at the moment, but part of what makes Berlin what is now is the mix of Detroit and Germany. Andreas Schneider mentioned yesterday on a live stream we shared that maybe we don’t need all these planet-destroying flights to US cities all the time. I agree with that, but at the same time I really look forward to the day when we’re able to make that Detroit-Berlin connection face to face again.
5 Magazine’s Terry Matthew has a complete obituary, and you should absolutely read this interview the superb independent Chicago publication did in 2013:
Photo credit: Matheo Schmitt – please go check this article. There’s a fantastic interview there, too:
Adding these releases from our friend Pacou, too: