I was interviewing Jeff Mills a while back from Berlin about his new project Exhibitionist 2 and during the interview we got to the topic of Detroit. The question that I asked was simple, are you going to come back to the USA to tour the project?
There was a brief pause, and he said rather sadly, no one has invited me out to perform in quite some time. "America just isn't interested in what I'm doing," and then there was a brief awkward silence as I thought, how the fuck can that be?
Here we have a musical movement that globally has had just as much or more cultural impact as Motown. Yet almost no one in the United States has any idea about the significance of the music that we brought to the rest of the world.
How is it that Electronic Music has not been recognized in the history books? It has had an enormous effect on the entire world yet the guys that created it have had to move away to Europe to make a living.
Pioneers like Jeff Mills, Juan Atkins, Eddie Fowlkes, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Carl Craig, Stacy Pullen, Louie Vega, Kenny Dope, Joe Claussell, Derrick Carter, Farley "Jackmaster" Funk, Steve "Silk" Hurley, Larry Heard, etc. are forgotten? (+ MANY more)
Some of the Pioneers of House Music
Electronic Dance Music might be the only genre is history where a kid can get into the music (in the USA) and have no idea about the foundation or history of it's founders?
We invented Techno and House and yet 90% of new fans have no clue about anything? Any kid that picks up a guitar undoubtedly knows who the Beatles are? Or Led Zeppelin? Why is it that a kid that wants to make electronic music couldn't care less about the roots? I'll stop asking so many questions, you get my point, we are paving over an incredible piece of musical history.
Maybe it's just the nature of the genre; it moves so quickly, and much of it is only temporary before being painted over. It's almost like graffiti; it's there and then it's forgotten. That's excusable on some level, but ultimately we have a very rich and incredible history that we should try to preserve and respect.
We will do our best to preserve the history of electronic music with Magnetic Magazine because talk (and rants) are cheap. I'm just going to do it, so you can expect to see more interviews and coverage of the pioneers like Jeff Mills.
If you are a new fan of this genre, you owe it to yourself to dig a couple levels deeper. The history of the music that we can indeed call "American Music" in many respects is fascinating. Forward thinking future music was evolving from the inner cities of Detroit, Chicago, and New York. Much like Hip Hop, there is a troubled past that leads to a game-changing future. A future that you are now enjoying as EDM fans, and where a crop of relatively mediocre talent is standing on the shoulders of giants. I for one am ready for the giants to start making some noise again; it's about time we set the record straight (pun intended).
Dig deeper, you will be rewarded. Trust me.