A Detroit favourite plays his favourite house records.
Mike Huckaby is one of electronic music's teachers. Here's a man that recently told us that he'd prefer to stay in his home city of Detroit tutoring kids on music production at the city's Youthville centre than playing festivals in Europe. A deep house producer who spent years honing his synthesis and programming skills only to publish his knowledge in the form of a sample CD. ("I just have a sense of compassion to help others not to be stuck regarding the music making process like I was in the past," he told LWE last year.)
Our Machine Love feature with him last year was full of anecdotes concerning this struggle to succeed in music making, yet it always ran parallel with his desire to share all he'd unearthed. If this is all beginning to sound a little too feel-good then we should also emphasise that Huckaby is pretty badass DJ and producer in his own right. He's been releasing grade-a deep house since 1995 and despite his statement to the contrary regularly finds himself touring throughout Europe among other worldwide destinations like the upcoming Decibel festival in Washington state.
As for Huckaby's mix for us? "These are the records that I want to hear for the rest of my life."
What have you been up to recently?
I'm quite busy these days. I've just finished Tresor's 20th Anniversary mix CD; remixes for Vladislav Delay and Pole; a limited release for Sushitech; Sun Ra Edits Vol 2; a sample CD for Red Bull Music Academy in Australia; a lecture and workshop there; the Decibel Festival in Seattle; as well as a European tour that starts in October. In addition to that I have several workshops in Europe and Russia too. So yeah, I'm quite busy these days.
How and where was the mix recorded?
At home in Detroit with vinyl and turntables.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
These are the records that I want to hear for the rest of my life. This is also my last podcast for 2011. So the best has been saved for the last, so to speak. I found an old reel tape when I was on the Electrifying Mojo's show, so I crafted a nice little intro, and mixed from there. That was one thing my reel-to-reel came in handy for.
It's impossible to capture a city in a film. What did we miss that you think is important about Detroit in Real Scenes?
I think coverage of Ron Murphy's contribution to Detroit should have been discussed, as well as Archer's vinyl pressing plant in Detroit. Those things should have been included. J. Dilla's influence and popularity in Detroit could also have been discussed.
Has there been much of an upsurge in interest in Youthville since its premiere?
Absolutely. I am overwhelmed by the amount of feedback I have received about the documentary. People from all over the world have begun to contact me and make contributions towards my Ableton and Reaktor classes at Youthville. People have donated computers to students in need, and as well as financial donations to help students in need of purchasing software for the classes.
But the greatest thing that has been achieved after the documentary's premiere has been landing a sound design opportunity for the two students featured in the video. Being able to do sound design for Reaktor at 11 and 14 years old is mindblowing!
When the concept of the Detroit / Berlin connection is being discussed, Tresor and Hardwax is often the source of the conversation. But the next Detroit / Berlin connection beyond the millennium is a technological one that exists between Native Instruments, Ableton and the work that I'm doing at Youthville. Those companies have lent a tremendous amount of support.
What are you up to next?
I'm trying to get My Life with the Wave Vol. 2 done, and I'm soon on my way to Russia.
Photo credit: Walter Wasacz