Derrick May (musician)
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Derrick May (born April 6, 1963), also known as Mayday and Rhythim Is Rhythim, is an electronic musician from Belleville, Michigan, United States. May is credited with pioneering techno music in the 1980s along with collaborators Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson, commonly known as the Belleville Three.
|Also known as||Rhythim Is Rhythim, Mayday|
|Born||April 6, 1963|
|Origin||Detroit, Michigan, United States|
|Genres||Detroit techno, house, techno, EDM|
May is an only child born to a single mother in Detroit. May began to explore electronic music early in his life. At age 13, Derrick May began attending Belleville High School, and became friends with Juan Atkins in 1981. After an altercation, May became friends with Saunderson. Atkins taught May and Kevin Saunderson the essence of DJing as well, formed a trio, Deep Space Soundworks, collectively existing to present their favorite music at parties and clubs. In an interview with a French magazine, May explained that people used to laugh at the ideas that they were entertained by Kraftwerk and disco sounds, we did our thing and continued to believe in ourselves, regardless. During high school, Saunderson and Belleville High School classmate Juan Atkins were fans of DJ Charles "The Electrifying Mojo" Johnson.
When their careers took off, the three young men opened their three individual record labels, Metroplex belonging to Juan Atkins, KMS and Inner City for Kevin Saunderson and Transmat/Fragil all on Gratiot Ave, in Detroit's Eastern Market, this was known as Techno Alley.
May is very much a Detroit Techno Rebel who does not accept oppression as Alvin Toffler noted, "providing the soundtrack to an alternative future—where the people reclaimed technology for the benefit of the community." "See that is the problem, when people start doing what other people what them to do, they become completely programmed. We refused to be a part of that game."
When Derrick May was a teenager, he worked part-time in a video arcade.
May's production career started in 1987 with the release of a record called "Nude Photo" (co-written by Thomas Barnett), which helped kickstart the Detroit techno music scene. A year later he followed this release with what was to become one of techno's classic anthems, the seminal track "Strings of Life", which was named by Frankie Knuckles. It "hit Britain in an especially big way during the country's 1987-1988 house explosion." May's best known track, according to Frankie Knuckles, "just exploded. It was like something you can't imagine, the kind of power and energy people got off that record when it was first heard. Mike Dunn says he has no idea how people can accept a record that doesn't have a bassline." The song was featured in video game Midnight Club: Street Racing
Opened in 1988, The Music Institute in Detroit was where they held their residency. May describes the place as a spiritual place for music. "We had a young beautiful black crowd and I mean beautiful in the sense of spirit mind and soul. We had white kids coming, Spanish kids coming, gay kids coming, straight kids coming."
Derrick was a mentor to many great artists. Among them, Carl Craig and Stacey Pullen have cited the difference between May's two labels as Transmat being fully devoted to original creation, whereas Fragile is where an artist can utilize more sampling, for a little creative push. May also ran a side-gig collective known as KAOS, a separate and lesser-known endeavor from Deep Space. May's Transmat Records label was the home of his best material, cuts like "Nude Photo," "Strings of Life," "Kaos" and "It Is What It Is," most produced from 1987 to 1989 as Rhythm Is Rhythm. And though his release schedule all but halted during the 1990s, he continued DJing around the world and helping other artist to release their music honed Transmat into one of the most respected techno labels in the world.
In Surreal Underground Entertainment 1993 America, Carl Craig said he "doesn't want Americans to look back at the music and think of it as a down point in history. The majority of American artists sent their musical efforts to Europe because it is more accepted by a wider audience."
In the documentary about the Detroit techno scene, High Tech Soul, May notes that he saw people in Italy wearing Underground Resistance shirts and was surprised at the group's success outside of Detroit. He says, "People were going crazy over Underground Resistance, and it was like they weren't even there."
For two years, in 2003 and 2004, he was given control of Detroit's popular annual electronic music festival. Originally conceived by Carl Craig, Derrick May, produced for 2 years. He named his event Movement, replacing the Detroit Electronic Music Festival along the Detroit city riverfront. Derrick May claims Carole Marvin stole the idea of festival from himself and Carl Craig. Her actions created a rift in the electronic music community in the talking a self-righteous stance, by firing Carl Craig. In 2004, Kevin Saunderson and Ade' Mainor produced the Festival of Sound Electronically and International Nurtured, in short: Fuse-In for 1 year in 2005. Currently, the Detroit Electronic Festival is operated by Paxahau.
Derrick May also still maintains a steady performance schedule, playing internationally many weekends. A pioneer of techno, he produces what he calls Hi-Tek Soul or "George Clinton meeting Kraftwerk in an elevator." He has also cited Yellow Magic Orchestra, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Ultravox as influences.
- Innovator (1996)
- Mysterious Traveller (2002) (with System 7)
- The Mayday Mix (1997)
- Derrick May x Air (2010)
- Derrick May x Air Vol. 2 (2011)
- Fact Mix 339 (2012)
- Innovator: Soundtrack for the Tenth Planet (1991)
- "Let's Go" (1986) (with X-Ray)
- "Nude Photo" (1987) (as Rhythim Is Rhythim)
- "Strings of Life" (1987) (as Rhythim Is Rhythim)
- "It Is What It Is" (1988) (as Rhythim Is Rhythim)
- "Sinister" / "Wiggin" (1988) (as Mayday)
- "Beyond the Dance" (1989) (as Rhythim Is Rhythim)
- "The Beginning" (1990) (as Rhythim Is Rhythim)
- "Icon" / "Kao-tic Harmony" (1993) (as Rhythim Is Rhythim)
- Universal Techno (1996) Interviews with Derrick May inside Detroit's Michigan Theatre, in the Michigan Building. Speaking on the inspiration of the music and how it blew up in Europe and was literally ignored in the United States. Interviews May's peers many others who have contributed to the burgeoning genre of music was recognized by the world.
- Modulations (1998)
- High Tech Soul (2006) It investigates the deep roots of techno music alongside the cultural history of Detroit, its birthplace. It focuses on the creators of the genre – Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson – and looks at the relationships and personal struggles behind the music.
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- High tech soul. Dir. Gary Bredow. Plexifilm, 2006. Film. High tech soul. Dir. Gary Bredow. Plexifilm, 2006. Film. (24:37).
- High tech soul. Dir. Gary Bredow. Plexifilm, 2006. Film. High tech soul. Dir. Gary Bredow. Plexifilm, 2006. Film. (26:39).
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- Telekom. "Mentors: Stacey Pullen On Learning the Ropes From Derrick May". Electronic Beats. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
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- "Derrick May on the roots of techno at RBMA Bass Camp Japan 2010". Red Bull Music Academy. YouTube. September 20, 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
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