Sweat at the Honeycomb, Edinburgh, Fri 5 Mar; Traxx v Melting Pot at the Arches, Glasgow, Sat 13 Mar
These days, the city of Detroit, Michigan is most famous for giving birth to a brother and sister/husband and wife duo who play primal blues using a template laid down more than half a century ago. Around a decade and a half ago, though, any mention of ‘music’ and ‘Detroit’ in the same sentence would elicit a whole difference reaction. For Detroit was the birthplace of techno and, by extension, much of what we know as dance culture to this very day.
Working together as a collective since 1981 under the name Deep Space Soundworks, three men - Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins - were the driving force behind this sea change. Atkins is so embedded in the folklore of the genre that he’s even been dubbed the Godfather of Techno. Given his deep, measured Detroit tones you can see why this is, and you can even imagine him putting the finger on someone for a hit. In this case possibly The List, which seems to have woken him up for our scheduled interview.
‘l’ve known what I wanted to do from an early age,’ says Atkins, with about as much sharpness as one can muster pre-midday. ‘Ever since my dad bought me an electric guitar for my tenth
birthday. As far as getting into the DJ thing speciﬁcally goes, I just heard someone mixing together old 785 on a radio show one day, and I thought “wow”. Then I bumped into a friend who had a mixer, and things just turned out the way they
Taking his cue initially from the P-Funk of George Clinton and the minimalism of Kraftwerk (a huge inﬂuence on everything from hip-hop to house), Atkins started out in the very early 805 in electro duo Cybotron, before striking out on his own as Model 500. He remembers the nascent Detroit scene coming together, even as house music was being invented four hours’ drive away in Chicago, and the
Colours at the Arches, Glasgow, Sat 6 Mar
A satisfied Benni Benassi
80 THE LIST 4—18 Mar 2004
‘I’ve known what I wanted to do from an early age’ Juan Atkins
cross-pollination that ensued. ‘I remember we had a drum machine that we needed money for and we didn’t want any of the local Detroit guys to get their hands on it. So we sold it to someone in Chicago instead. I think it turned out to be Frankie Knuckles.’
He also has a sense of perspective. ‘There’s a lot
Even if you've been nowhere near a club in the last six months. the chances are you‘ll be aware of the strident and surprisingly catchy grind of ‘Satisfaction' by Italian DJ and producer Benni Benassi. Or at least the video that accompanied it: you know, girls. powertools. slow-motion bouncing flesh. It wasn't exactly subtle.
There were humble beginnings to Benassi‘s story. as the 18-year-old boy who idolised the DJ in his local club and was taken under his wing, eventually turning professional at the age of 20 and then going into production with his cousin Alle. Even though the Hypnot/ca album has led to remixes for Tomcraft. Outkast and Electric Six, it's the minimal electro stab of 'Satisfaction' that may well live
more people involved in techno these days,’ is his summation. ‘More records, more clubs, more variation, more stuff to promote, but most of all, just
Finally, we have to ask, how does it feel being the Godfather? ‘I can’t complain, man,’ he says simply. With that, he’s off to hit the snooze button.
longest in the memory.
‘We felt the song would be big on the club scene but didn't expect it to cross over.‘ says Benassi of the Europe-wide hit. ‘It just started out as a bass riff that Alle wrote when he was inspired by the sound of traffic he heard from his hotel window, then I gave my DJ input later. The video? Well, there are actually two videos. We shot an arty. challengingly static one in which almost nothing happens for three minutes. But the label wanted something . . . er . . . hornier.’
Appropriate, because it's also what you can expect from Benassi's set. ‘It starts off kinda groovy and sexy. then it gets groovier and sexier and finishes off at the height of grooviness and sexiness.‘ Girls operating industrial machinery optional. (David Pollock)
The latest club news
Faithless head Homelands
YOU’LL NOTICE ANOTHER Charity special from Glasgow Fabulous as our other resident cartoonist (and Viz legend) John Fardell draws a one-off cartoon to words by Harri & Domenic (p90)-
STAYING WITH THE SUB CLUB. there's a big birthday on the way in the shape of Sub0ulture's tenth on 10 April. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of house. we get Jesse Saunders and Chip-E joining Subbie stalwarts Harri & Domenic. IF YOU FANCY A BREAK AND love a bit of skiing] snowboarding, Snowjam could be just for you. No, this hasn’t strayed over from the travel pages: there is a deﬁnite clubbing link as you can hit the slopes of Val Thorens all day but at night the likes of Radio Magnetic, Underground Solu’shn, Motherfunk, Scratch, Ultragroove, El Segundo and Soul Biscuits will be providing the aprés ski beats. It takes place 26 March—4 April, and tickets cost £459 including coach travel, accommodation, six-day lift pass, insurance, entrance to all Snowjam club nights and more. Call 07968 097189 or check www.snowjam. co.uk for more info.
IN FESTIVAL NEWS. IF YOU JUST can't wait for the magnificent Slam tent at T in the Park, Homelands kicks off the festival season with another bumper line-up down in Winchester, 29 May. It takes in Faithless, the Music. Lamb. Scissor Sisters, Dizzee Rascal, Roni Size. Erick Morillo. Lottie. Roger Sanchez, Felix Da Housecat. Mr Scruff and many, many more. For the full line-up as it stands so far (more being added all the time) plus ticket and travel details click on www.homelands. co.uk.
AND FINALLY, JUST TIME TO draw your attention to Modern Lovers website (www.modern lovers.co.uk) as they should have a wee competition up by the time we go to press offering exclusive mix CDs from this month’s guest, Bob Stanley (St Etienne) at E90, 5 March.