An interview with Drexciya from the “Orbit” section of the Jan. 14, 1995 Melody Maker (reprinted without permission). All references to Drexcia corrected to Drexciya. Saved here in my blog for archival purposes.
The Unknown Aquazone
Drexciya are not your normal techno act. Having been together for some 10 years, they’ve released just five records. Fiercely independent and highly opinionated, they’re the ultimate perfectionists, working in total secrecy, concealing their identities and discreetly putting out some of the most outstanding, unusual, beautiful and disturbing electronic music ever committed to vinyl.
Their “Journey Home EP”, out this week on Warp, has already been hailed as one of the most important releases of the Nineties.
In a rare interview, one half of Drexcyia, James – he wouldn’t reveal his second name – talks about techno, DJing, the Drexciya philosophy and the fight against the “Caucasian persuasion”.
Off To Battle
“As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t anybody out there making original Detroit techno – apart from us, and that’s not being arrogant.It’s a plain and simple fact. A lot of people making so-called techno don’t understand where it came from and what it’s all about. I know this stuff; I’ve been doing it for a long time. I’ve been with the real deal, in the trenches, since this shit was born out of the womb. But so many people have come in and stepped over the name of original techno and toned it down. And that’s why were here: it’s time to turn up the heat.”
‘The Caucasian Persuasion’
“Ever since the blues and early jazz, black music has been stolen and exploited. It pisses me off that we let it happen. It’s
a political thing; everybody talks about it under their breath, but they don’t come out and say anything about it. As far as I’m concerned, Richie Hawtin, Moby, and all the rest of ’em can do what they want, but don’t step into my house if you don’t respect it. Don’t even call what you do ‘techno’! I don’t want to hear anybody saying Richie started any damned thing, ‘cos he ain’t started shit. All he did was step in with his money and his Caucasian persuasion and put himself on the market, and now he’s got all these kids riding his jock. We never had rich backgrounds; we were working jobs for $4.25 an hour. Our mamas never gave us money to buy keyboards and put records out. We work for our stuff. That’s why there’s a big difference in the music.
“Why do Richie and his Plus 8 family come down here and throw parties in downtown Detroit? He brings in all these kids from the suburbs and from Canada, and that shows a lack of respect. I’ve been to every one of those parties and I’ve never heard an Underground Resistance record, a Cybotron record, a Model 500 record or an Eddie Fowlkes record. It’s a total lack of respect, and it’s got to stop.”
“Only guys like Leon and Jeff Mills know how to spin. Serious, man, you have DJs who mix sound like a galloping horse. Give ’em a record that doesn’t have a 4/4 beat and they can’t handle it; their fingers get all tied up and they get all confused. C’mon, you gotta know those records. You got to have quick reflexes and make that record talk. Make those turntables work; you got to see smoke coming off those suckers. These guys fly around the world and people call ’em geniuses, and they don’t even warm those decks up – they’re still cold after a whole night. They’re just fader flippers.”
Deep Sea Dwellers – The Drexciya Philosophy
“The reason why we give alot of our tracks aquatic titles is because waves are constantly changing. It moves in so many different directions, and that’s the way we see our music. It doesn’t go straight forward. It takes you on an adventure. We record all our stuff live. You have to capture that moment, that spirit, that energy. We could never recreate one of our records. Every Drexciya record is different. We’re dealing with your personality, your emotions. We try to get you to open your mind up and listen to the sounds, and hopefully then you can paint a picture in your mind. That’s what it’s all about.”