The Fantastix

Read the Detroit chapter of Laurent Garnier’s book

I found that you can actually read the chapter on Detroit techno from Laurent Garnier’s book on Vice’s Thumb. This was actually one of my favorite chapters, and is partially made up from interviews with Jeff Mills and Mike Banks.

Mills about hist first steps into dj-ing:

‘In 1979 I was 16. My older brother had been a DJ for several years. He let me practice at his place, on his gear. At around the same time we both began sending mix tapes to radio stations in Detroit. It wasn’t really something people did back then. On my brother’s advice I must have sent about 15 tapes in just one year to the station WDRQ, but never got a reply. When my brother decided to stop DJ-ing he gave me all his records and his equipment. I set it all up in my bedroom and started practicing for several hours a day.

And about his first gig:

My brother arranged a meeting at a downtown club called Lady so I could audition. As I wasn’t yet the right age legally (21) to be allowed into the club I had to sneak in through the back door and scramble up into the DJ booth without being seen by security. It wasn’t yet 10pm and the club was already packed. The bosses and the resident DJs came into the DJ booth, “OK, show us what you can do.” I started off my set with a move that they had never seen before. I put the needle on the first record in the middle of the break and then played a second copy of the same record from the beginning. I won my ticket to play the week after.

The chapter also tells the story about how he became ‘The Wizard’ and landed him his radio show.

These stories by Jeff were a joy to read and makes me wish he would take the time to write down his stories and follow in Laurent’s footsteps writing a book.

What Detroit Cabbies Say During Movement Festival

Thumb talks to a number of cab drivers during the Movement Festival. Fun to read opinions and impressions about the Movement Festival and Detroit Techno from ‘regular’ people… some are surprised to hear about the Detroit legacy, some don’t care and others have their own stories…

Nice quote from one of the cabbies, Jess aka Basel:

I wish techno had more of a presence in Detroit—more than just Movement. That’s not big enough for the size of what techno has done to the world.

Orlando Voorn on some of his classic techno tracks

Orlando Voorn shares the story behind some of his tracks. Awesome read.

At the time I had released ‘Solid Session’, I was called by a guy from a record store who said, “Blake Baxter is in front of me and his favourite record at the moment is ‘Solid Session’. He’s playing at the Roxy,” a big club in Holland. I went over there and met up with Blake, we clicked and I told him, “Shall we do something, do a project together?” I was always like that, if I saw an opportunity. It went down really smooth, I went over to Detroit for two weeks and we made two Ghetto Brothers EPs together. The first one came out after that first trip, and that’s basically how I ended up in Detroit.

Once I was there it was really easy because I got introduced to Michael [‘Mad Mike’] Banks, and he loved me because I was the quiet one. He was immensely popular back then from the Underground Resistance thing, and Robert Hood and Jeff Mills were in the same building. I came there and sat down and read a magazine. All of sudden I hear, “Yo, this motherfucker is cool as fuck! He’s not asking stupid questions about what equipment I use.” I was friends with Michael Banks really fast. He introduced me to everybody, to Robert, to Jeff. I was accepted. I met Derrick, I gave him tracks, met Kevin, gave him ‘Flash’.

And on sampling George Clinton and the P-funk all stars for his track Flash…

I heard that George Clinton said of the sample “That shit’s dope!”

Laurent Garnier’s Autobiography

I remember reading about the release of his autobiography back in 2003 when it first came out. But it was never released in English, or any other language I can comfortably read, so forgot all about it.

Laurent Garnier (link broken):

Basically what happened is that I felt very frustrated because when we published it in France 12 years ago we published it also in Spain, Russia, Japan and a few other countries in Eastern Europe and we couldn’t get a publishing deal in England at all.

Now it’s finally released in English and got my copy in last week. I have been reading it the past couple of days, and it has been a great read so far. I actually can’t put it down at times and have to force myself not to rush reading it.

Rik Davis, the other half of Cybotron

Mike Rubin, writing for Red Bull Music Academy had a rare interview with Rik Davis. Along with Juan Atkins he formed a little group called Cybotron, bringing some of the first electro and techno hits. While Juan Atkins got his (deserved) place in the spotlights, Richard always remained largely in the shadows.

Back in 1978 Davis self-released a 7 inch called “Methane Sea” with only 100 copies, still he managed to have some success with it:

He brought the finished record to the hugely influential Detroit radio personality the Electrifying Mojo, who began using it as a theme on his nightly WGPR-FM show.

(this hard to find release was actually reissued as a 12” in February 2016)

Not long after that he met up with Juan Atkins in a music class and formed Cybotron and released their first single “Alleys Of Your Mind,”

…which Davis wrote on the ARP Axxe and a sequencer with Atkins contributing handclaps. As with “Methane Sea,” Davis and Atkins received extensive airplay on Mojo’s show, and “Alleys” and its 1982 follow-up “Cosmic Cars” sold ten to fifteen thousand copies in Detroit alone.

Especially that last bit shows the importance of the Electrifying Mojo and how influential he was to Detroit.

Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May may head out on the road next year.

Now that’s a great headline to wake up to. Resident Advisor mentions that “Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May may head out on the road next year.

I have seen them all in separately in different settings and occasions, but the idea of seeing them perform together sounds like the ultimate for a techno nostalgist like myself.

According to the post on Resident Advisor Saunderson said in an exclusive interview with We Got This Covered:

What I can say for the future is that we’re working on a tour now, for all three of us as the Belleville Three. We’re gonna try to kick it off next year, and it’s gonna start out with DJing and evolve into a much bigger thing, too.

I could only found the following in the post on We Got This Covered related to the subject:

You know, I think Derrick and me, we’ve done back-to-backs over the years, so we just kind of click like that. People seem to like it like that. We all have different management and agents, so there’s been a few times that we’ve all three played together, but not many.

…so I almost thought there was some wishful thinking involved from the side of Resident Advisor, But then I spotted this editors note:

In a previous version of this article, Kevin Saunderson briefly mentioned an upcoming endeavor between the three artists that was not supposed to be shared with the public until a later date. At the request of his publicist, we have removed that passage.

I guess they spilled the beans on that one…

Scan X ‎– Chroma

Discogs user ‘scoundrel’:

Scan X’s debut, CHROMA, is classic French techno, from the arpeggios and dark thrum of “Dust” to the more spacey breaks of “Grey Lights” or the synth swirls of “Secrets” and tribal rhythms of “Voodoo.” The varied moods lends the album to repeated listens, whether the pure dancefloor stomp of “Earthquake” and “Red Dogs” or the more melodic leanings of “Wood” or even the mysterious ambience of “Turmoil” and “Requiem.” The deep hits and sparkling acid of “Wasteland” close out the album. A little gem of an album..

A much overlooked classic techno album by Scan X aka Stéphane Dri. It can be found on Spotify, give it a listen.

Laurent Garnier’s 2014 Project

Late in 2013, French DJ and producer extraordinaire, Laurent Garnier, decided on a plan to get his music reaching out to the very corners of the underground music scene. Rather than self-releasing, or opting for the tried and tested labels, Garnier decided to plump for a selection of independent record labels from different countries that he greatly respected and supported, each one with their own strong identity and fan base, and to go under the moniker ‘Garnier’ for these projects. Opening his account on Chicago’s Still Music in February 2014, with the ‘AF0490’ single, the electronic stalwart has since gone on to issue singles on Modeselektor’s 50 Weapons (‘AF4302’ EP), Musique Large (‘A13’) and the MCDE label (‘KL2036’ EP). A huge supporter of Hypercolour over the years, and perhaps an embracing of the British label’s dedication to the ‘UK sound’ (considering the Frenchman’s early deployment to Manchester’s legendary Hacienda club in the late 80s as resident DJ), it’s of little surprise then that the fifth Garnier project lands on Hypercolour this August.

I like how the the EP titles were based on the flights and roads he used to take to the city where the label is from.

The five EP’s for this project in order of appearance:

AF 0490 on Still Music AF 0490 corresponds to Air France flight from Paris to Chicago regularly used by Laurent Garnier.

A13 on Musique Large A13 corresponds to the French Highway No. 13 on the route to England that was regularly used by Laurent Garnier when he was younger and lived in Paris.

AF 4302 on 50Weapons AF 4302 corresponds to Air France flight from Marseille to Berlin regularly used by Laurent Garnier.

KL 2036 EP on MCDE KL 2036 corresponds to KLM flight from Marseille to Amsterdam regularly used by Laurent Garnier.

BA371 on Hypercolour BA371 corresponds to British Airways flight from Marseille to London regularly used by Laurent Garnier.

Actually, the concluding EP for this project was released in 2015 with the self explanatory title Honey I’m Home! on his own F Communications, released first as part of his La Home Box Limited Box Set.

My favorite release from this series is the first one, AF 0490 on Still Music, where he raided his Dance Mania collection sampling Chip Dilla, Deeon, Gant-Man and Parris Mitchell.

Movement 2016 must see artists and performances

Red Bull sums up a list of 20 must see Artists and performances for this years Movement festival in Detroit. I’m not in the area this year, but looked at the line-up and came up with my own list.


I got into Kraftwerk fairly late, somewhere late 90’s or early 2000’s. But when I started listening to their music I noticed how much they had influenced the music I had been listening over the years. The first time I actually had a chance to see them perform was at I Love Techno in Ghent. I have seen them a couple of times since then over the years, and it’s always a feast for the eyes and ears.

DJ Godfather

Even if you saw him play before, I would still recommend to go see him in Detroit. I have seen DJ Godfather play a lot over the years, but apart from the first time I saw him play, he never impressed me as much as when I saw him play at the Movement festival in 2008. In other cities and countries over the world he rocks the decks blasting other dj’s away already, but in Detroit he’s got more dj’s that match his style an skills, so he makes extra effort.

Claude Young

I have only seen Claude play once, and that was back in the vinyl days. He was always one of the more technical techno dj’s out there. He was always juggling, looping and tricking his way through his crate. The last time I have seen him play was on a couple of cdj’s. He still had a great record selection, but I missed the playfull trickery he used to do with vinyl. I would Love to see him play around with the decks again like he used to.

DJ Funk

I discovered DJ Funk like the rest of Europe through Daft Punk’s teachers. I remember buying my first DJ Funk record and listening to it over and over. Back then there was no way to see him play in Europe, but the past couple of years he has been coming over every now and then. I still regret that I missed the chance to see him play twice (!) in Amsterdam, once on valentines day, for obvious reasons, and once during ADE.

Apart from the above I would try to see these performances as well in not particular order: Bjarki, Brian Gillespie, Carl Craig, DJ Piere, DJ Seoul, Eddie Fowlkes, Ectomorph, Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald, Kenny Dope, Kevin Saunderson, MK (Marc Kinchen), Nina Kraviz, RZA!, Scuba, Stacey Pullen, and I have probably missed a couple already…

The change in DJ Culture

Nice quote from Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim about the change in DJ culture:

I was thinking the other day about how DJ culture has changed – and one of the things is you don’t have the same sense of brotherhood. If you were sitting in the airport, you’d know another DJ because they had a record box. So you’d immediately try to work out from the stickers who they were – and then you’d get into a conversation with them.

We considered ourselves outlaws because no-one really respected us and we lived outside the normal working hours. Nowadays, everyone is a DJ.

I think he’s dead on, but does not mention the downside, the fear of checking in your recordbox, hoping it would not get lost and having to turn up at the club with empty hands.