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Tranzfusion Innovator Series- Derrick May

Author: Azztek @ TranZfusion
Monday, February 25, 2002
Macedonia. 2000.

"OK, I will start this story from the start. I was booked to play for a really nice group of people in Macedonia. Three young guys brought me over and they decided to take me out to dinner… we arrived at the restaurant, the waiter came over and asked me what I would like to eat. I asked for fish because I really like fish… so after a little while my meal came, and I sat back and had a chat to the guys and waited for their meals to arrive. After about 10 minutes their food had still not come, so I asked them what was happening with their food- One of them replied "No we are not eating anything, we came here to take you out to dinner"… I thought this was a bit strange… so I tried to share my fish with them but they wouldn't take it…".

"Anyway I played at their gig, it went really well. A great crowd, it was really a good night. Then next day they took me to the airport. By this stage I hadn't been paid yet. I thought this was a bit odd as we were on the way to the airport already you know. When we arrived, one of the young guys, the one who could speak English told me how much they appreciated me coming over and how it was something they would never forget. Then, he handed over the money. He continued to tell me that the other two guys had to sell their cars just to get me out here. I was shocked. So surprised... I couldn't take their money … so I gave them back their cash… that was a really amazing and emotional experience."

That's Derrick May. Musician, Innovator, pioneer, creator, Superstar DJ and a real down to earth kinda guy. Derrick May, the man who, along with schoolmates Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson single handedly created the sound we know of today as 'Techno'.

It was 1986 when the trio got together and created the first track on Derrick's label Transmat. "Let's Go" by X-Ray. The track that started off a new age of electronic music, with breaky house bass lines and trippy vocal recordings. "You am I, let's go"

Now, 15 years on, Transmat is celebrating it's 15th Anniversary. An anniversary of techno you may call it. In the year 2002 Transmat is set to release whole new era of producers and up and coming DJ's, including Australia's very own Microworld. "It's hard being an independent label in America, people, especially the music industry don't really give you a go". Derrick tells us.

So what is it like being a DJ in the year 2000 compare to 15 years ago- "Well 15 years ago I was still just a kid… but 10-12 years ago everyone seemed more educated…. Now a days people seem oblivious… I mean, if you dropped a bad mix or played the wrong remix of a track that people are not used to hearing, they would walk off the dancefloor… now people react to curtain sounds… they are more predictable".

How does Derrick perceive dance music in the year 2002- "People are trying different things... taking it to another direction… the music industry seem as though they are turning their back… hopefully, if people keep taking music into different corners, it can explode again… sort of what Drum and Bass did a few years back".

On Sunday the 17th of February, Derrick started off his Australian tour at the 900 Degrees party, playing to a packed house at the Metro. "It didn't go too badly… there were heaps of kiddy surfers there… it's hard to top a full on rock band with the kids going crazy for a couple of hours before hand… I tried not to loose the crowd and intimidate them with my music." Derrick followed the Australian rock band 28 days, with a more techno orientated set. Leaving his classic funky rifts and instrumental solos behind Derrick had the mission of keeping these kids dancing, and did it with ease.

The Wednesday following, Derrick May played at Seven nightclub. For a mid-week event the turnout was surprising. What else could you expect from an appearance from by man himself- Before the gig I asked Derrick what we could expect. "D