One thing you learn quickly about Derrick May is that he does not confine himself to simply being a DJ, he is an artist, for Derrick DJs are “the artist’s artist”. This is the man who is known as the ‘Miles Davis of Techno’ as well as one of the innovators of Techno along with school friends; Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson. May is probably best known for his universally loved ‘Strings of Life’ but May doesn’t really like looking to the past too much, he much prefers to propel himself into the future. That’s right, the work of Derrick May is merely beginning…
Derrick May the DJ, is known for his melodic vibe and spiritual form of Djing, but Derrick the artist really just loves to be surrounded by “creative people, entertainers, and even people involved in live stage events” basically anything that involves creating something and seeing it grow and flourish. It was around now that I started to question whether or not all DJs are artists… Luckily Derrick set me straight and explained that “most people don’t have any idea” and can’t tell the difference between what Derrick calls “superstar DJs” who are basically “ordained poster-boys” who could play anything and the crowds and industry would still love them for 15 minutes. On the other hand, there are the DJs who really care about their music and have a strong philosophy behind it. You can choose for yourself which category Derrick falls into, however, Derrick does realise and freely admits that both of these are entertainers at the end of the day.
Fortunately or unfortunately Derrick is as well known for his stance on drugs as he is for his Djing. No pills, pot or powder for Mr. May, he clearly doesn’t find it attractive or necessary to have a good night. Quick not to remark negatively about others that may have opposing views, Derrick simply chooses not to be involved in that part of the scene. Aptly exclaiming, “Most people that know me know that I don’t do any of that.” “They don’t have a problem with that and I just don’t get approached”, Derrick says all he has to on the topic of drugs and to be honest his music and his soul behind it, is far more interesting!
In a world and specifically, a culture that sometimes seems devoid of soul and full of superficiality, it is super-refreshing to listen to Derrick May explain that the philosophy behind his music really permeates from his grandfather. When Derrick was a young boy, he would spend a generous amount of time with his grandfather who was a “methodical kind of man” whom Derrick would “listen to religiously as a kid”. The experience of having someone older around gave Derrick a very mature outlook on life and taught him to think things through significantly more than other kids his age. Being the wise old soul in a young boy’s body, Derrick often believed that he knew best and would end up with his “foot in his mouth”, however he now realises that this surge of early maturity has served him well. “I’ve learned to get through a lot of lumps in my life”, which only pushes Derrick forward and makes him a rare character in the dance scene who is always striving to do better and please himself first and foremost.
You could say that Derrick is somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to his music, he refuses to release anything until it is 100% perfect. “Completely frustrating” and a good reason for being “lonely” at times, is how Derrick describes his attitude toward his music. However, being a tiny bit selfish I can’t help but think that his masochistic musical efforts will serve us punters well when he plays at home’s 5th birthday. Excited to be playing at a “superclub” that has stood the test of time Derrick doesn’t want the revellers to “expect anything”. Just keep yourself “wide open” and prepare yourself for something “special”.
Derrick May’s next gig will be an Australian exclusive for home, Sydney’s 5th Birthday – Saturday 29th November