Simone Angel from MTV Party Zone did an extended set of interviews with the Detroiters in 1997. And it’s honestly about as many people from this scene as you can cram into one place.
If I had posted this this time last year, it might have felt like nostalgia. But now 1997 feels roughly the same distance as, you know, January.
With all scenes everywhere basically on pause, it’s perhaps a perfect time to come back into ourselves and reflect. At first, that tends to mean tackling the personal – coming back to the studio, looking at yourself, maybe even facing some demons personally and creatively. (Doing nothing, playing video games – also all part of the process, based at least on anecdotal evidence in my network.)
But for a lot of us, I’m sure that gets boring after a while, only having yourself. (Too much me!) So it might be time to reflect on how we might shape the scene around us. Listening to Detroit doesn’t have to be about romanticizing that scene or looking backward. On the contrary, apart from the fact that these artists are all still evolving, I think a lot of what they say can resonate and inspire anew.
Who’s here – Juan Atkins, Terrence Parker, Kenny Larkin, Stacey Pullen, The Heidelberg Project, Kelli Hand (K-HAND), Derrick May, Carl Craig, Eddie Fowlkes, Octave One, Alan Oldham, and AUX88.
K-HAND out of that whole group has been utterly killing it lately production wise, and it seems she’s finally been getting more attention from the larger world.
Also, as I talk about him regularly but why not more – a very happy birthday to Alan Oldham, whose voice has grown yet more powerful but otherwise seems weirdly the same age as he does in this ’97 clip. Alles gute zum Geburtstag, Alan!
Catch Alan – and the awesome Stephanie Sykes, among others – streaming today on HÖR Berlin:
Oh yeah, anyone who for some weird reason wants to argue Detroit versus Germany, some of the Detroiters are now also Berliners – at least Juan Atkins and Alan Oldham are here in Berlin now just from this video; I’m not sure who else, though once flights start again I’m sure we’ll be reunited with the rest of this crew at least on tour. So it’s safe to say that now just as in the 90s, the evolution of the scene in Germany and that in the US midwest are interconnected. It’s great how much music that has opened up to the world that otherwise might have been isolated. (I don’t need a lot of imagination to figure out this might have an impact, as a midwestern kid unexpectedly living in Germany myself. Odd how that happens.)
It’s strange to watch Mr. Atkins talk about wanting a radio station. All these years later, there’s still a problem with access and platforms – even as some of these cats have blown up, others continue to fight for attention. Red Bull infamously closed shop with its radio project, and now this month we’re seeing steep cuts in independent music media across the board, as writers and editors are furloughed and freelancing cut off. The struggle doesn’t stop.
Of course, 1997’s challenges will definitely trigger some nostalgia in 2020. But Detroit built (and builds) their own scene through persistence. From Manila to Addis Ababa, Indianapolis to Baku, I hope we can support one another in some new, patient scene building for the music we love.
More Party Zone
There’s more of this online. I love Simone’s interview style, actually; we need more of this kind of vibe. (Lesson taken.)
The intro is insane (1993):
And she talked to Aphex Twin (1996):
Also, seriously, we should start making real music videos again.
Ingrid Schroeder. And all of this is great: