The dance music press would have you believe that all is well in Detroit techno, just as it always has been. They’re happy for you to continue believing in the Belleville Three fairytale, because despite it not being true, they continue to profit from it.
But within Detroit? According to what we hear from numerous sources within the city, the internal discussions over techno have never been more alive. And it’s not just about Detroit’s past, it’s about the future, too – although there is an acute awareness that those who don’t learn from their history are doomed to repeat it.
It’s left many of the bigger names within the scene in a difficult spot. On the one hand, they know that the Belleville Three story is nothing more than a myth – but on the other, they also know many of them essentially owe their entire careers to the three men within it. So, what are they to do?
Well, if your name is Kenny Dixon Jr – better known as Moodymann – you get behind the one member with a little history to him whilst paying lip service to the other two. In a recent interview being done for Resident Advisor with DJ Stingray, he had a few interesting things to say…
With Derrick May effectively out of the picture – numerous allegations of sexual abuse made by multiple women tends to have that effect – and Kevin Saunderson being an utterly appalling communicator, this has meant the only one with any real clout is Juan Atkins. Even then, Atkins only has clout as he was making music before them – as part of Cybotron with the often forgotten Rik Davis.
Indeed, just about the only person who now believes in the Belleville Three story I Derrick May himself – who recently shared a video about how “journalism is dead” after pretending he hadn’t been reading Ears To The House again. It remains to be seen how much this narrative will be challenged by Resident Advisor when this piece is published – we understand it’s currently scheduled for July.
Given their own history, however, we’re not exactly confident…