Anthony Horton aka Blak Tony, one of the pioneers of the second wave of Detroit Techno, has been keeping quite busy over the last several years. From maintaining a relatively steady output musically as a solo artist, to writing the Aux 88 autobiographical book "An Altered Road", it has been great seeing not just Blak Tony, but the rest of the Aux crew innovating upon their own sound and artistic aesthetics over the years.
Having recently released on the new installment of sub-label Direct Beat Classics, "Electro In The Key of Detroit Vol. 1", Blak Tony and the Aux boys are getting ready for another year of hard-hitting releases, including a new Alien FM in the works. We recently caught up with Tony to see what he had to say about all this, and so without further ado let's begin!
Talk about the recent release on Direct Beat Classics, "Electro In The Key of Detroit Vol. 1", which features some seriously iconic classics from the 90's like "Pure Techno Sound" by Posatronix, and "Erase The Time" by K-1. It also includes a relatively newer tune by you as well, last seen on the soundtrack to An Altered Road called "Our Aux Minds: Portrait of an Electronic Band", which kinda begs the question: will we be seeing new material as well coming out on Direct Beat Classics?
Exciting to see my tune “Holla Holla” which was featured on our documentary soundtrack ‘Our Aux Minds: Portrait Of An Electronic Band’ share a spotlight alongside these gems from the 90’s. It allows older heads and new ears to engage in who we are again, what we’ve done, and how we’ll go forward. Even placed in a rare track (“Phantom Power”) to enjoy the variety in styles. The “...In The Key Of Detroit” series will continue the format: Something new, something old, something classic...And yes, there will be new material (recording as we speak).
What's the state of Electro music these days in your opinion, are you seeing the upswing in interest that everyone seems to be talking about? What is the future like you think for the Detroit Techno Bass sound in particular?
I embrace the thought of new ears discovering the experience...which is what it truly is: An experience. It's a peek inside my livelihood, I live this! Detroit itself has never abandoned this music, Radio just needs to grasp hold of the newer tunes of now because the world has caught up, and that’s where the upswing is, outside Detroit. Detroiters don't categorize the music, it just matters that it's dope...And it's new to younger ears.
We suffer because we don’t have the outlets we once had, who took chances delivering the sound. There will always be a future in this, you can hear the influence even creeping into urban radio again in popular music. I see a few things here & there far as parties/gigs in the city, don’t know about it popping, I’ve been in recording mode for a while and rarely go out.
There will always be a future in this, you can hear the influence even creeping into urban radio again in popular music...
Let's talk Alien FM, an iconic project between you and Keith Tucker that was last seen on the "Large Mechanics" EP on Puzzlebox Records. There is a new vinyl in the works apparently?
Very much so. The new EP (“Monochromatic Images”) will expand on our creative outlet. Our variety as Alien FM, also due to be released on Puzzlebox. I must say, we had fun on this recording. It's heavy and seasoned, like a good meal. Even sonically more mature. I feel we delivered on what this group is meant to do, push the limit & continue to be open-minded.
What else can we look forward to over the next year or so? Any new solo material coming out from you as Blak Tony? Anymore collaborations we can expect perhaps?
I’ve actually have had an Electro/Techno-Bass LP still in negotiations with a label overseas and a fresh EP (“Cosmic Freak”) due as newer material on DBC. It will be my debut as a solo artist on the iconic label, and a firm look inside my persona and productions...think of it as music for a futuristic strip-club...LOL. Got my hands and writing skills on the new LP from AUX88 also (“Counterparts”), plus awaiting the greenlight on a collaboration with a certain touring Electro DJ from Detroit who wears a mask. Been a busy-bee in the game. More focused!
You can listen to previews of the new compilation on Direct Beat Classics below: