Detroit Techno pioneer Derrick May throws down in Philadelphia

2 minute read
Derrick May paved the way for techno music. (Photo courtesy of the artist)
Derrick May paved the way for techno music. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

In the early 1980s, three high school friends from Detroit would set forth down a path that would change the history of music itself. Equally influenced by the colorful, futuristic sounds of Parliament-Funkadelic as they were the utopian idealism and electronic experiments of the German band Kraftwerk. Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May began releasing a series of underground records such as “Alleys of Your Mind” (Atkins), “The Sound” (Saunderson), “Nude Photo” (May) and more that would usher in a wave of new creative potential and inventing the music genre known as Techno.

Detroit techno in Philly

As this stark, minimal sound began to spread in their hometown of Detroit, an entire generation of DJs and musicians took up the mantle of Detroit techno and it wouldn’t be long before the world began to take notice. Today, the city of Detroit is recognized as the capstone of an international techno scene with hotspots in London, Tokyo, New York, Philadelphia and beyond.

On Friday, June 21, Philly based electronic music promotion companies Goodie and It’s The VZA will bring Derrick May to Warehouse on Watts in North Philly for the second installment of Detroit Champions, their party series bringing the heavyweights of the Detroit Techno scene to Philadelphia for an evening of underground, electronic dance music.

Setting up for a legend

Speaking with BSR, DJ/Promoter Rob Paine explained some of the work and intention behind this event. “Derrick has been on the list of DJs to bring to Philly for Francisco Collazo (my partner in Goodie events) and I for a very long time. With the collaboration we formed with It’s The Vza promotions last year, we were all able to make this come to fruition. To bring in this caliber of an artist to the Philly market without owning a venue or having sponsorship would be high risk. Combining our marketing and pulling our resources together made this series possible.”

Paine also talked about how Warehouse On Watts brought it all together perfectly. “We have found that Warehouse on Watts has been the perfect venue for this series of events. It keeps the underground feel without compromising the safety of our patrons. No table service. No bathroom attendants. No pretentious vibes.”

Goodie and It’s The VZA present the second installment of Detroit Champions featuring Derrick May to Warehouse on Watts, 923 North Watts Street, on Friday, June 21 at 10pm. Tickets are $15-$40 and are available online.

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