Movement festival might feature the best and brightest in techno and other shades of the electronic music color wheel, but it's often at the after-parties each year where even more mind-blowing sets take place. One Detroit crew that's long been devoted to the art of the immersive after-party, as well as other events that break the mold of conventional club nights, is the Interdimensional Transmissions label. Founded in 1994 by BMG and Erika, the label has long focused on the abstract, ambient, and avant-garde aspects of techno; an ethos that's helped define their flagship party No Way Back since December 2007.Through their party and label fronts, the group has also found like-minded attitudes and devoted confidants in a variety of Detroit artists like Patrick Russell, Derek Plaslaiko, and Carlos Souffront, as well as New York-via-Detroit transplants like Mike Servito and Bryan Kasenic of The Bunker. The NYC techno label went on eventually to co-produce No Way Back in 2011 and have brought the night to New York on multiple occasions. Together, they're a tight-knit crew known around the world.
This weekend on Sunday May, 29 the crew will be setting up shop at Detroit's Tangent Gallery for another blowout featuring all of their regular characters and a secret live guest. Ahead of the party, we caught up with BMG and Erika to hear more about their roots, and are also steaming an exclusive recording of BMG's own 3AM set at their first night nearly a decade ago. Prepare to get weird.
THUMP: What provoked you guys to throw the first No Way Back party in 2006?
BMG & Erika: Warehouse parties and loft parties were the norm in the beginning of our scene and there was a real outlaw sense to the whole thing. Then due to police crackdowns in the late 90s, everything was forced to move into clubs, and for years people could only experience the music in this cut off way. With venues shutting down at 2AM, it was impossible to get that renegade feeling. When we did the first No Way Back party, the club thing had been going on for years and there was an entire generation of new people who never experienced what we did in Detroit way back when. So the party was an attempt by us to not look backwards, but bring out the best parts of our early rave and warehouse experiences to today's crowds.
Tell us a little bit about the vibe at that first party in 2007.
It was special and felt like returning to the original party from ancient times; where people gathered around the fire, took some soma and celebrated the coming of age of one of their tribe members under the best light show in the universe—the stars. It felt like be transported through time. Planning and executing the event could be our own version of 24 Hour Party People, it was so absurd.
How did you land on the venue and the lineup?
At the time we were constantly searching for new underground spaces. We wanted the space to feel special and not overly calculated, unlike a lot of clubs who are just trying to turn a profit. We also wanted a place that we could still transform into an enveloping experience, while holding onto the raw 90s warehouse feeling we grew up with. Dean Major of System, who threw the best warehouse parties of the 90s in Detroit, actually worked the door at the inaugural No Way Back.
The line up was sealed at the very conception of the party; it was four heads that knew their music inside and out, and who maybe weren't household names yet, but that all deserved to be. We all had a shared background of being Midwestern DJs during the heyday of rave and were all searching for something deeper in our sets. Nobody really plans anything here and it's just incredibly fluid. If this were rock music, we'd be a band.
What should we listen out for in your 3AM mix BMG?
I think Derek Plaslaiko described it best, "Genre? There is no genre." This is the music of No Way Back, it's a bout finding total freedom in this genre-less Midwestern take on mind-control music.
No Way Back takes place Sunday May, 29 at the Tangent Gallery with BMG, Carlos Souffront, Erika, Patrick Russell, Mike Servito, Derek Plaslaiko, Bryan Kasenic, Scott Zacharias, John Elliott, Nihal Ramchandani, plus a special live guest.