If you were a journalist of any kind and wanted to interview Derrick May in the past, you were in luck – as one dance music press source puts it, “Derrick was always willing to talk and never seemed to turn anyone down”. This was until multiple allegations of sexual abuse and rape made the press in September 2020 – months after journalist Michael James began publishing similar claims.
At this point, the rules suddenly changed – and the man who previously couldn’t keep his mouth shut had suddenly learned how to mute himself. For two years after that, nobody could get an interview with Derrick May – although in fairness, by all accounts, not many people tried to get one.
This year has seen a change of strategy – with manager Hagi Craig and investor Mike Weston taking greater charge of resurrecting May’s career. So far in 2023, we have witnessed the European Coming Back Tour and one singular interview – which was conducted by Sara Schietroma Ferrazza at Italy’s Ribbon Club whilst he spent most of his time eating snacks out of a plastic bag.
Humiliatingly, May was reportedly banned by his management from approving any requests for interviews himself, on the grounds that “Hagi and Mike worry what could happen if he goes off-script”. One regular Detroit source says May “behaved like a scolded child” when he was told the news.
This week, a new interview has emerged with Audion Media. The full 33-minutes can be seen on their YouTube channel – although anyone expecting May to answer any remotely difficult questions within that time looks set to be disappointed. Not once does the interviewer ask him about those sexual abuse allegations – nor does he ask May to explain the increasing discrepancies in the Belleville story that he’s paraded for years.
So what does he have to say, then? Well, one noteworthy claim is about the Belleville Three tour rumoured to be taking place in 2024. May appears to confirm that such a tour will happen, indicating that twelve different dates have already been agreed. Pressed on more specific details as to where they will be, however, May is vague – only referencing Japan and Indonesia.
To be fair towards May, there might be contractual reasons why he isn’t able to offer more detail in this answer – some of the parties involved sometimes insist on the information being embargoed until a certain time. However, Ears To The House has been told the “scoping out exercise” for the tour has had mixed success – and we’ll be watching to see whether May’s words match up with the reality.
Elsewhere, May makes the bizarre claim that he, along with Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins, were amongst the first people to use Roland’s TR-909 drum machine in the 1980s. Even the fawning interviewer queried this assertion – pointing out that the now-disgraced Afrika Bambaata did so earlier, leading to a lot of waffle about nothing.
But whilst Hagi Craig and Mike Weston now appear to be happy to commission interviews with Derrick May – so long as they’re apparently conducted by someone to whom English isn’t their first language – they have yet to begin teaching him how to behave in an interview. Hence why he spends his entire time eating snacks, puffing away on a cigar, and trying not to freeze at the Transmat studio.
It might be easier just to pay your heating bill, Derrick…