Techno first originated in Detroit in the mid-80s, pioneered by Black producers like Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson, who were sifting through their various sonic interests (Kraftwerk, disco, new wave, Prince, Funkadelic), mixing them up, and laying them over sounds made on newly available technologies like drum machines and synthesisers.
For these three techno pioneers, whose fathers all worked in Detroit’s rapidly collapsing auto industry, the idea of “playing the robot” was by no means new — it was a response to an existing condition: American society already viewed them as cogs in the capitalist machine and had no qualms replacing them with actual robots. The resulting sound — what we now call techno — is, like the city that inspired it, neither utopian nor dystopian, and yet it is somehow both. It is a music that unabashedly confronts Detroit’s physical decay and fashions from it a futuristic shadow culture, a genre that looks both backwards and forwards, remaining moody but vibrant, alienating but captivating.
If you want to dive deep down into the roots of Techno music and culture, we highly suggest starting with this article from Vice.
In the meantime, check out and support our local Melbourne artists that one day will lead the new generation of Techno, you won’t be disappointed.