The Movement Electronic Music Festival, as it’s officially known these days, begins in Detroit later today. This year’s lineup includes Carl Craig, rising star Ash Lauryn, Jeff Mills, Juan Atkins and er, an awful lot of names which have absolutely nothing to do with techno, but have been booked solely because their names sell tickets.
Amidst the blaze of publicity ahead of the festival – which has been yet another opportunity to tell the largely nonsensical story of the Belleville Three – one name is decidedly absent from proceedings. That would, of course, be Mr Derrick May – a name who appears in many interviews yet who isn’t anywhere near the lineup.
Regular Ears To The House readers will already know why. Nonetheless, it must be an absolute headache for the PR people at this festival – whilst there’s no denying he does have a role in the development of Detroit techno, the fact he now appears nowhere at the festival he was an integral part of in early years must be awkward.
It’s become the question that literally no one is prepared to approach, let alone discuss. May himself hasn’t done an interview for a few years – and the other two members of the mythical Belleville Three never seem to get asked about it. Take this podcast, for example, that DJ Will Clarke did with Kevin Saunderson this week…
In an interview spanning at just over 90 minutes, Saunderson repeatedly references May by his first name. The mentions are all in a historical context – Saunderson even references the time he leant May a lot of money in 2004 to allow the Movement festival to proceed that year.
Yet questions about where May is today were totally ignored. Since the allegations of sexual assault surrounding May emerged in 2020, Saunderson has said nothing at all publicly on the subject. This would have been a prime opportunity to request comment on the matter – and like every prime opportunity before it, it’s gone begging.
Must we really wait until the creators of techno are no longer in a position to blindingly narrate their own history before we get the real story?