It was the summer of 1988 and I was in Bluebird Records on the Edgware Rd London buying Hip Hop tunes for my radio show on People FM, whilst in there the guy behind the counter who played a track called ‘It Is What It Is’ by Rhythm is Rhythm. All DJs of a certain age know that back then you had to be quick of the mark to get a copy of a tune in a busy record shop, needless to say I was too slow of the mark and all the twelves were baged. The guy told me the track also featured on a compilation album called ‘Techno! The New Dance Sound of Detroit’ so I put back a couple of twelves to afford an album.
Sitting on the bus home I studied the album notes, looked deeply at the black vinyl grooves in the light and became ever more frustrated that it would take about an hour before I could listen to the album in full. Upon getting home I placed the album on the platter then cranked up the amp and sat on my bed to hear this thing called Techno. The album got better Track after track, and that night I decided I would play Techno on my radio show, and not the Hip Hop that my listeners had become accustomed to.
Now I must tell you that People’s FM was predominantly a Reggae and Ragga station, I think I had the only Hip Hop show on the station so playing Techno would be a huge risk. I played from 10 to midnight on Saturday nights, the first hour I stuck to my Hip Hop set and the phones rang off the hook with requests and shout outs. However at 11pm I switched it up and started playing tracks from that Techno completion, the phone lines went silent. After three tracks the phone rang, it was the station owner, a notorious yardie gangster and was none too please to hear Techno on his station. After a stern telling off, I was about to switch back to Hip Hop, when the phone rang again, it was a guy asking me to promote his rave, and could I give people the directions. I was so excited and got on the mic, I played more tunes from The New Dance Sound of Detroit and the phones began to ring again, hey mate, where’s the party? Lee Film Studios. Are you DJ’ing? May be. Cool!
I played for about half an hour at that party, and never got any free drinks, didn’t matter though it was one of the best nights of my life.
Quite a few, of the tracks from The New Dance Sound of Detroit feature in the mix ‘Techno Pt.1 – Detroit’.