Over the years, nobody really kept much of an eye on what Derrick May had to say for himself. The reasons for this were twofold – one is that the dance music press are utterly useless at holding people to account, and the second is that May never shut up, so there was never any chance for anyone to scrutinise his words.
He was, in many ways, an interviewer’s dream. May always had something interesting to say about the scene or about himself – an interview with him always promised a good headline to accompany it. He never held back from expressing his views – indeed, a source of Ears To The House who worked for several dance music publications in the 90s confirmed that interviews with May was good for sales.
How times change. As previously reported, Derrick May has only given one interview since 2020 – and this was to Rolling Stone. To their eternal shame, they failed to ask him a single question about the multiple allegations of sexual abuse made against him – it is the one question that May cowardly hides from.
However, plenty of words from times when he was happier to talk remain online. Such as this 2015 interview published in the ever compliant Detroit Free Press – for reasons never fully explained, the city’s press has always been reluctant to cover the sexual abuse allegations surrounding one of their own.
This puff piece is all about Derrick May’s collaboration with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and composer Dzijan Emin. This subject was covered quite extensively in the early days of this site, but we still managed to somehow miss this interview. Better late than never, eh?
In it, May makes some truly eyebrow raising claims, claiming he “comes from a musical background” and will be “performing as a musician” at the show. And speaking about a 2014 performance, May bizarrely boasts about “a point where I felt accomplished” – as if a long career in a notoriously fickle industry hadn’t given him that already.
But possibly May’s most telling moment comes at the end of the interview. The last thing he says is this…
“There are people who have no idea what I’m going to be doing up there. Once they realize, there may be a moment of shock, then hopefully that moment of appreciation and pleasant surprise.”