Juan Atkins

There are only but so many people in this world that can truly be credited with being pioneers in the Electronic Music scene, and Juan Atkins is one of them!

Born in Detroit, Michigan in the early '60s as the son of a concert promoter, Juan quickly began to learn how to play the Bass Guitar, Drums, and even a little bit of Lead Guitar. Atkins and his school friends, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May, would religiously listen to the legendary WGPR's DJ Charles "The Electrifying Mojo" Johnson, who would play a mix of the latest releases by artists like Parliament, Prince, Kraftwerk, and the B-52s.

Juan Atkins was first exposed to Electronic Music at the age of 16, something that he later recalls as being like "UFOs landing on a record". Synthesizers had such an impact on Atkins that he soon dropped playing Funk Bass and got his first keyboard, a Korg MS-10. Learning how to record by using a cassette deck and a mixer, he soon rounded up May and Saunderson and formed Deep Space Soundworks, a DJ Collaboration group which eventually began to be featured on Mojo's WGPR show. They also started a club in Downtown Detroit, which would bring local DJ's in to play and collaborate with one another.

In 1982, Juan teamed up with his friend Richard Davis aka 3070, forming the duo Cybotron and releasing their first single, "Cosmic Cars", on their own imprint, Deep Space Records. The song did so well, later in that year Cybotron went on to record their debut album "Enter" which was signed to Fantasy Records. One particular song on the album, "Clear', would stand out as the blueprint for what would become Atkins' so called "Techno music". With this song, and the others like it that would follow, Atkins didn't just re-work Kraftwerk's style, but rather fused it with the sound of Dance Music that had already been taking the world by storm after the release of "Planet Rock" and other such hits.

Juan Atkins would continue on an incredibly successful and influential music career, with projects like Model 500 and Infiniti, even starting the legendary label Metroplex. Still to this day, Atkins' music is as relevant as ever, with many of today's most respected producer's crediting him for having been one of the most powerful influences over the direction that Techno and Electro Funk would take over the years, specially the new Electro sound that would later emerge in Detroit called Techno Bass.

Juan Atkins' discography has led him through an immense number of releases over the past 4 decades with some of the latest being the wonderwall of music that is the "Borderland" series on Tresor Records, not to mention some classic Electro beats from the man himself like "Beyond The Beyond" on the "Mind Merge LP", as well as "Techno City '95" as Audiotech on the Archiv series from Tresor.

Stay tuned as Juan Atkins has not only revived Metroplex Records, but seems to be gearing up for much more to come not only reviving the classic Model 500 project, but also signing on acts like Arnold Steiner, DJ Bone, and Population One (Terrence Dixon) to name a few unto the roster of artists on this infamous imprint.


Recent Posts

See All