DJ Bone: I'm on a mission to give dancers in Split the true Detroit experience

Saturday, 10 October 2015

I'm excited for Split! I'm on a mission to give dancers there the true Detroit experience. Funky Techno and bumpin' rhythms played in my unique Detroit style. I made some special tracks to play too!

1. How did the story start for you? What were the first channels you started grabbing bits and pieces of musical knowledge from? Do you think that radio shows have become less authentic now and are less focused on bringing something new in the world and more used as an extension for promotion?

 - I think my origin story as a DJ is quite different. My mindset has always been that of an independent thinker. I wasn't really interested in being a part of any particular group of people. I learned early on that the best person to rely on was myself. I couldn't expect anyone else to hold my hand and explain things to me.
    Most of my early inspiration came from the radio show of The Electrifying Mojo. His attitude of playing only good, funky music but not limiting it to specific genres was brilliant. It spoke to me in many ways. His show was so broad and helped create my musical palette. That combined with the huge influence my Parents' music had on me.

    I think 99% of radio stations have become vehicles for endless promotion mixed with some low-brow morning shows. It's completely the opposite of what it used to be. You used to turn on the radio to discover great new music, now they play the same 30 songs over and over until the next 30 are given to them by the higher-ups, all decided by payola.

2. At one point you decided to pull back from the scene and refused all the offers for gigs? What was the logic behind that? Was it just to focus on your family life or did you feel the need to step away for a bit? How do you feel about your daughter Aleckxis following in your footsteps?

 - Well, I didn't refuse all the gig offers but a majority of them. A lot of things were going on with my family and I wanted to be there for everyone. I'm about Family first. They're the ones who will always be there for you and have your back.
I also used some of the downtime in between to do a studio remodel and produce some new music.

    Aleckxis ended up being drawn more to theater and dance which she's very talented in. I can't force her to follow in my footsteps but it's always here for her if she chooses. Either way, I'm very proud of her.

3. You have always been in love with vinyl but don’t despise the digital format either. Is it just a necessity because some of the good new stuff is not available on vinyl yet or never will be so holding on blindly to something you value from the past would you rob you of satisfaction in the present? You have been compared to Mills before, and he mentioned once how content is more important than the method. Would you agree?

 -  I have fully embraced the digital format mainly because a majority of the proms I receive are digital only. Also, I like being able to play a lot of unreleased material from wav files. I still love vinyl though. It's own history, it's history in my life and the physical aspect of it makes the music it holds more tangible to me.
Now, the down-side I see is that along with the advent of digital music came a glut of releases. This was inevitable since making and releasing music became easier and has  little to no financial risk.

4. Do you think there are young new techno artists out there who understand the importance of history, and the value of building upon it and learning? Who do you have high opinion of in the newer generation from the last decade?

 - I can't say for sure as I haven't had a lot of in-depth conversations with the younger guys but I'm sure there are some out there.
I'd rather not name names on this as I would probably leave out some important artists.  But I can sense them there, digging past the usual names, really listening to the music and not just reading a stranger's opinion of who is good. Hopefully this will continue with younger generations coming into the scene.

5. What does Subject Detroit aim to release? Do you search for a specific sound or are you more concerned with the emotion it conveys and the artistic integrity of its maker?

 - I started Subject Detroit in 1995. The goal, to release top quality, uncompromising Detroit Techno. And I'm very proud that, even to this day, we've NEVER strayed from that. There wasn't enough of the music that had the feeling and vibe I needed so I decide to make my own. The first release meant to challenge the status quo of people buying records solely based on the producer's name so I released SUB001 (Unleashed EP) anonymously to see if it could sell on the strength of the music alone...and it did extremely well!

For a song to be released on SD I need to hear the spirit of the artist in there, really feel that vibe, and it must be funky. Not-so-normal music is always welcomed. That's why I've turned down a lot of submissions! They probably lacked what I mentioned before or maybe sounded like someone else.

Expression is the true essence of Detroit Techno.

6. What was going through your mind while you were making "shut the lites off"?

 - Shut the lites off has two meanings. The first is simple: HYPE. I saw how often hype (the lites) was replacing talent and "Shut the lites off" was a battle cry against all of the hype. The second meaning was created by a need for FOCUS. There were so many times when the lighting guy would try to outdo the music and impress everyone with nonstop, flashing lights. I found I like it better when the club is dark and mysterious. The darker the venue, the more the music becomes the main focus.

7. What's your method in the studio? how do you produce?

 - Producing is a very spiritual thing for me. It's very difficult for me to go into the studio and just make something, I hit the studio when I need to express myself musically. I take a moment in time from my life or a mood I've been feeling  for a while and put it all into music. This works best for me and it's very therapeutic. Anything I make without having something to express usually gets shelved. But I have a separate special project coming that will utilize all of these tracks.

8. How has your home town of Detroit shaped you? How has it changed since the time you started and is it a bigger challenge to please a more educated crowd on these floors? What do you plan to offer to the dancers of Jungla in Split?

 - The city of Detroit and my family truly helped shape me personally and musically. I've attended Kindergarten through College inside the city limits of Detroit and had to ride the public D.O.T. bus most of my teenage years to get around so I know most of the D very well.
Detroit is stark, but also beautiful in it's own special way. I've watched it both change and stay the same for over 35 years. A true Detroit attitude and awareness were essential growing up here. Somehow all the violence, bleak surroundings and industrial beauty became my normal, and that's why I turned out this way.

    The city has changed considerably with a lot of new developments but there's still a huge need in the actual neighborhoods. The hood continues to be neglected while Midtown and the rest of what is considered "New Detroit" thrives in relative safety.
    Sadly I haven't played in Detroit much since my residency at Motor. The older and more educated crowds still know what's up. When the right situation presents itself, I'll be playing here regularly again. But my past residencies speak for themselves.

    I'm excited for Split! I'm on a mission to give dancers there the true Detroit experience. Funky Techno and bumpin' rhythms played in my unique Detroit style. I made some special tracks to play too!

9. You have a new project and alter ego, Differ-ent. How different is it really from the DJ Bone, and how come it wasn't published of your own Subject Detroit? Do you consider the dark a necessary companion in life? Is it true that if you never experienced the dark you can never fully appreciate the light?
 - Differ-Ent is a more straight forward style...a darker style indeed. It surfaced during some darker times. Differ-Ent is more of a harder-edged, danceable life-soundtrack. It's another unique side to DJ Bone that is evolving into something I'm very pleased with. Darkness comes in many forms. We lost my Mother to cancer recently and though it made for dark times, it really made me appreciate my life and the people in it more.

10. You are known for the refusal to bow down to anybody and to accept the media orgy of an imagined persona you show to the public for more likes and shares. Wouldn't you say that it is necessary to spread the information if you have something of quality to share or has the line become so blurred and the media sphere so overwhelmed by mediocracy that it is impossible to see the tree from the forest? Is it harder to go against the grain? What lessons has it taught you and what would be your advice to young people who are contemplating to sell their artistic integrity in order to gain fame? Is fame the goal or is it just a collateral for doing that which you love and doing it well?
 - I see no problem with spreading information about you/your work or promoting it if there is truth, substance and integrity involved (behind it). Any-one can sell any-thing if they have the resources but when it comes to art, I don't think it should be force-fed to people. It should be able to represent or speak for itself with genuine promotion or even no promotion. For instance N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton received zero radio play and look how well that album did!
    If younger (or older