BLEEP43 interviews Juan Atkins, 2009-10
Introducing Juan Atkins is no small task. You could use devalued terms like ‘legend’ or ‘godfather’, but they hardly explain why his work should stand alongside the more widely acknowledged masters of modern music.
Being an originator has something to do with it, but that’s not enough to explain why we’re still talking about and listening to his records nearly 30 years after his first release. After all, most people would struggle to name the first person to feature a drum machine on a pop record. As it happens that may well have been Juan’s early hero Sly Stone, but the point is that you need to have something more in your music than innovation alone to ensure that people come back to it. You need to have feeling.
Of course the best way to grasp what makes Juan’s music special is to listen to it. But for those interested in the sometimes enigmatic figure behind the records Juan speaks here candidly, in his own words. Starting with an interview in June 2008 at his family home in Ypsilanti and concluding in 2009 the day after the Glade Festival in Hampshire, we discussed subjects ranging from abstract universals to the intensely personal. The first topic was the state of electronic music in 2009…
two things about this interview:
a) i had always wondered why juan looked so thin for a few years. here he talks about being diagnosed with diabetes.
b) interesting the other older detroit artists commenting on the interview and challenging juan to some of his statements. i obviously have no idea who is correct but its entertaining nonetheless