Mainstream media always makes it seem like only bad things come from Detroit: urban decay, crime, bankruptcy, D12. But as any electronic music fan knows, Detroit is also a hotbed of creativity, passion, and promise. From the 1980s—when fellows like Juan Atkins and Derrick May ingested New Wave and Kraftwerk and spit out a template for what we know today as techno—to the present day, with new blood producers like Kyle Hall, Mark Flash, and Monty Luke creating forward-thinking tracks, Detroit continues to be a source of inspiration and power in the worldwide dance arena. In our SUB.Culture: Detroit series, we look at Motor City past, present, and future.
Mike Huckaby, one of the unflinching guardians of Detroit's electronic underground, stars in the second episode of our SUB.Culture: Detroit series. Mike's Motor City roots run deep, and he's the city's most ardent cheerleader—although with his rolling baritone, steely gaze, and hulking frame, he could easily be confused for a linebacker. Ever since his acclaimed Deep Transportation albums debuted on Rick Wade's Harmonie Park label in the mid-90s, Huckaby's been like the invisible hand of the Detroit house sound—omnipresent and thoroughly influential as a producer, DJ, and label boss of the Deep Transportation and S Y N T H imprints, and frequently releasing on Berlin's legendary Tresor label.
We slip into his studio as he samples harmonic frequencies from Egyptian rocks sourced from the Step pyramid (it should come as no surprise that Huckaby is majorly into Sun Ra). Then we continue to the classrooms of Detroit's YouthVille program, where we meet Torin Clay, Derek Mahone, and David Robinson, who have been studying electronic music production under Huckaby's tutelage. Detroit isn't all about ruin porn and urban decay. "People want to hear a different story," Mike insists in this inspiring video about Detroit's next generation.