Over the years, Derrick May was a man never short of things to say. Whereas many in the dance music world said as little as possible to the press, May always seemed happy to provide an interview to any willing press outlet. And willing they were – an interview with Derrick May back in the day was guaranteed to be interesting reading, for all kinds of reasons.
But over the past few years, the number of interviews given by Mr May have declined significantly. Indeed, 2020 and 2021 saw the number of interviews reach exactly zero. Nada. Zilch. But it wasn’t the pandemic which stopped May from speaking out about things such as the state of dance music or reminding the world of his apparent role in Detroit techno.
Late in 2019, journalist Michael James started detailing allegations against May of sexual assault and rape dating from as far back as the mid-1980s. The dance music press eventually went public with the allegations in September 2020, with articles by Ellie Flynn and Annabel Ross detailing numerous harrowing accounts of how May is alleged to have treated women.
Since then, May has given no interviews at all to any media outlet – except one. In July 2022, he spoke to Claire Shaffer for Rolling Stone Magazine about “Strings Of Life”, a song from 1987 which heavily samples an unreleased instrumental piano piece by the aforementioned Michael James. She curiously managed not to ask him any questions about what he’d been doing over the past few years.
In other words, Derrick May only gave one interview in 2022 – and said nothing remotely controversial, new or indeed faintly interesting. And it seems unlikely this is likely to change this year. Could it possibly be anything to do with the fact any journalist worth their salt – and believe it or not, some do still exist in the dance music world – would want to ask him about the sexual assault allegations which have been in circulation now for some three years?
To date, May has never had any real response to the allegations – notably, his denial back in 2020 issued by his lawyer forgot to include a denial. Ears To The House has heard rumours from Detroit in the past suggesting May wanted his team – quite who they are these days isn’t too clear – to arrange an interview with a sympathetic journalist to deal with the matter. In the end, it came to nothing.
Hence why we now have an absurd situation where the 59-year-old occasional DJ can be at the same place as some of his peers, yet those same peers have to pretend they didn’t see him. And until May does meaningfully respond to the allegations against him, we’re unlikely to find any further interviews from the man himself…