It’s not the nicest city and with the amount of citizens moving to the surrounding suburbs, it’s not really much of a city at all.
Detroit is a place where most people are looking back at the past when the American auto industry was at its peak, but in the late 1980’s something unexpected laid its roots. Electronic dance music was flourishing in Detroit, not just locally, but on a global stage.
The EDM we know today was born in a city known for the “Motown Sound” with Smokey Robinson and Aretha Franklin posters in kids’ rooms from wall-to-wall, but what few know is that soul music is the father of EDM and the two genres share a similar following.
“I sing for the realists; people who accept it like it is.” – Aretha Franklin in reference to soul music.
You could say fans of electronic music are simply young people high on MDMA and consume more than a respectable amount of alcohol; in other words, a “lost generation.” Maybe this generation is lost, but at least we know it and we want to do something about it; we don’t simply accept condescending judgement from our elders. African-Americans were oppressed by deep-seeded racism long after President Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation;” this generation is being oppressed as well by those who misunderstand what is to be a young adult in the 21st century and like the revolutionaries of the 1960’s, are using music to express what they cannot transcend to their opposites. This is what makes the EDM fans realists: the fact that they know they are lost because society is not evolving as quickly as it needs to be.
And why are they lost? The Information Age.
The modernity that has emerged through the advancement of computer technology with social networking as the staple of our socializing, working and commercial lives has disconnected us from the world. Despite all the negatives surrounding the club scene, mainly the drug culture, it truly is the only place we as “Generation X” can return the basic human need to interact.
You can’t simply start a conversation with the guy behind you in-line at Tim Horton’s because our social awkwardness tells us to avoid “strangers.” Yet when the beats of Tiesto, Deadmau5 and Wolfgang Gartner boom from the speakers, we have this sudden feeling of togetherness; as if everyone on the dancefloor dancing in their own fashion, but moving as a unit.
When Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson began producing what would be later known as “Detroit Techno” in May’s parents’ basement using analog synthesizers and archaic drum machines, they would of never expected that one day they would provide the solution for the “Alienation Age.”
Searching for ears to listen, they would rent out abandoned factories (which were aplenty in their decaying metropolis), and hold raves for anyone who cared to dance all night to a revolutionary new sound.
The sound eventually gained a following in Europe where the genres of dubstep, trance and electro began to rise steadily and creep into the mainstream charts.
You don’t need to pop a tab of MDMA or guzzle a 26-er of cheap vodka to enjoy the electric melodies, you just need to appreciate the atmosphere and the feeling of togetherness that can rarely be seen outside of a sports stadium.
Atkins, May, Saunderson saw opportunity to build something new whilst surrounded by ruin. Maybe this will give a new identity to Generation X.