RTL Today – Knowledge Bites: Jeff Mills – From clubs in Detroit to the Philharmonie de Luxembourg
After a two-year hiatus, the season finale party returns to the Philharmonic for an evening of high-quality dance music, this year featuring arguably one of Detroit’s greatest techno prodigies: Jeff Mills.
As was the case with so many annual events, the end-of-season party at the Philharmonie was forced to take a two-year hiatus due to pandemic restrictions. However, the electronic dance music event is now back in full force, as organizers have brought in some of the biggest names in techno to enter the DJ booth for the 2022 edition.
The lineup’s most famous name is undoubtedly Jeff Mills, a DJ and producer who has been an influential and innovative figure in the world of techno since the dawn of the genre in Detroit’s early 1980s. As he travels to the Grand Duchy and hits the Philharmonie’s dance floor with his beats on July 9, let’s step back 40 years and see how the musical career of the man now commonly known as ‘The Wizard’ was born. .
Jeff Mills, aka “The Sorcerer”
Mills got his start as a DJ in the early 1980s during what is now commonly referred to as Detroit’s first wave of techno. Thanks to his older brother, he managed to learn the trade of spinning records and got his foot in the door of several Detroit-based clubs from an early age.
“I would go every Tuesday and sneak out the back door because I was too young to be in the club. I would stand in the cabin and they would let me play at times to learn how to handle a crowd. I would move and they would let me play longer, until I played all night,” Mills recalled years later. in conversation with music journalist Frank Broughton.
The real breakthrough in Mills’ career came on a fateful night in November 1984, when Prince kicked off his Purple Rain tour with a week of live performances in Detroit. Radio producers across the city at the time frequented the urban club scene in search of a Prince-inspired mix when they came across Mills doing his magic backstage at Club UBQ. Impressed by the speed of his mixing skills, they recruited the young DJ and let him host his own show: ‘The Wizard’.
Over time, Mills expanded his skills and started using three decks instead of just two, which allowed him to not only jump from song to song, but also layer each track with textures. additional from other discs. With the help of the radio station’s extensive archive, he developed further into conceptual musical arrangement.
Mills also ventured into live improv when performing to crowds at clubs in Detroit. For this purpose, he used a TR-909 Rhythm Composer, a drum machine originally released in 1983 by Roland Corporation with the aim of emulating real percussion. Although not commercially successful, this little gadget played an important role in techno production and improvisation, and few mastered the instrument as well as the Wizard.
Mills eventually quit airing his radio show and entered the world of music production during Detroit’s so-called second wave of techno. The 1990s were marked by the absence of major producers from the early days, as most of them were by then touring European club dance floors. Mills stayed behind and teamed up with Mike Banks and Robert Hood to form Underground Resistance, a DJ and production collective now known to techno fans everywhere.
Building on the successes of his early collaborative releases, Mills eventually returned to working on his own and releasing music on his Axis label. It didn’t take long for him to also start touring the planet and sharing his beats on the global techno scene. Today, nearly 40 years into his career, he has become one of the most revered luminaries the genre has ever seen.
And, six days from today, he will make his long-awaited first appearance at the Philharmonie de Luxembourg.
End of season 2022 evening at the Philharmonie
The event will take place at the Philharmonie in the Kirchberg district of Luxembourg City. Nosi will kick off the party at 9:30 p.m., followed by an hour-long live set from Francesco Tristano, which is scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m.
Mills will enter the stand at 12:30 a.m. and play until 3:00 a.m. Since the line-up doesn’t list a live performance, it’s unlikely The Wizard will also use a drum machine, but three to four turntables paired with his extensive record catalog should still ensure an impressive performance.
At this point, I also want to acknowledge the person who has the extremely difficult task of following the shooting of Mills. DVS1, a Russian-born DJ who grew up in Minneapolis and longtime resident DJ of Berlin’s infamous techno temple Berghain, will enter the booth at 3 a.m., bringing this year’s edition of the party to a close. end of season. If there’s anyone who can find the right tunes for the right audience at the right time, it’s definitely this man.
Besides being a master selector, it’s also worth mentioning that DVS1 has achieved iconic status in the techno world for being a strong advocate of nightlife values. Inspired by Berghain’s strict no-picture policy, he launched a massive campaign to promote the idea in clubs around the world.
So when you finally arrive on the Philharmonie’s dance floor, remember to keep your phone in your pocket and your ears focused on the beats. There will surely be enough to distract you and dance for hours, I can guarantee it.