Techno Pioneer Derrick May: "If you want to hear 'Strings of Life', fuck off."

Music has brought Derrick May all around the world which has affected him in the most positive of ways, just don't ask him to play his own music
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Harrison Williams
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Music has brought Derrick May all around the world which has affected him in the most positive of ways, just don't ask him to play his own music

Derrick May's influence on dance music is well documented. He's a Detroit legend who paved the way for dance music to be where it is today. As he's been a guiding light in the scene for decades, he recognizes the importance of his roll as a DJ. In an interview at Sonos Studios in Amsterdam for ADE, May playfully discussed a multitude of topics ranging from his early days discovering influential music, his worldly travels, the first record he ever bought, as well as some insight into his performances including his tour with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra. 

One of the most interesting moments in the interview is when May sheds light on what his goal is as DJ. He says that sometimes he even forgets his own songs. It's clear that he's not one of these self absorbed artists. "I don't play my own music. I don't blow my own horn," he declares. There are clearly some artists in todays scene that play their big hits in every set because they feel that fans expect them to do this. May breaks the mold when it comes to such artists. He's not into giving fans what they want. He wants to show us something different instead.

"If you want to hear strings of life, fuck off."

He also emphatically stated that he really hates doing remixes. "I don't want to do that shit," he playfully declares as he follows up by explaining, "I hate it with a passion." Although he continues to explain that he didn't always feel this way. May describes how early on he didn't have a problem with it, but in todays music industry he says he wouldn't do a remix unless it was for somebody like Grace Jones. 

In a light hearted moment May pokes fun at Kevin Saunderson by saying, in regards to his recent DJ work, "he uses Traktor and plays the same songs every week." Boom, shots fired. May is clearly having a lot of fun in the interview and his personality shines through. Saunderson is after all another pioneering producer from Detroit and he's worked closely with May in the past. In the interview he makes sure to clarify that, "if you need someone to go in the studio with you, call Kevin Saunderson, he knows his shit."

Listen to the complete interview below to hear Derrick May talk even further about the knowledge he's gained during his storied career.