Steve’s Stories: World Techno Day And The History Of Detroit Techno
It's World Techno Day and as a Michigander, you should be celebrating! Why? Because Detroit was the birthplace of Techno Music! Before I get into the meat and potatoes of techno music, one needs to understand that their are hundreds of sub genres of electronic music. Even techno music is technically a sub genre of electronic music, and to make it even more confusing, EDM (electronic dance music) is actually a sub genre of electronic music as well and it even has several sub genres too.
Now that I've weeded out the people who couldn't make it through the first paragraph, let's get down to it. Detroit is the birthplace of Techno Music. Techno music originated, thanks in part, to three kids from Belleville, Michigan. Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson all attended the same high school and started to experiment with synthesizers and multiple tape decks in their basements. Derrick May described their music as "complete mistake...like George Clinton and Kraftwerk caught in an elevator, with only a sequencer to keep them company." The "Belleville three's" creations would spawn a whole new movement in Michigan that would help bring hope to the thousands of Detroiters who were slowly being laid off from auto-industry factories being closed in Detroit.
In the 1980s, Detroit Techno was coming into it's own just as the country was going through a recession that hit Detroit especially hard. The Detroit Techno sound was heavily influenced by the electro movement that was happening in the late 70's. The genre also takes elements funk and synth-pop and mixes it all together into a unique minimalist sound.
The Detroit Techno scene is still pretty big in the metro area and has even spawned it's own music festival which has been going strong since 2002. If you want to check out what Detroit Techno sounds like, listen to the song at the top of the post, or head over to the Detroit Techno Militia website for current Detroit Techno DJs, or listen to Paxahau's 24 hour Detroit Techno stream on their website.
If you are interested in learning more about Techno and Electronic Music as a whole, you can check out this amazing interactive guide to techno music which takes you on a journey through the many genres starting back in the 1970s (1950s technically, but it's barely music)!
If you were intrigued by the original Steve's Story from his college days, here is the full segment. Keep in mind that this is the first big thing he ever wrote, voiced, and produced... So be kind and sorry about your ears. Doesn't it sound like he wants to be on NPR or something. Whisper a little bit more, Steve!