Read excerpts from dance music’s new book, ‘The Underground is Massive’
Michaelangelo Matos’s new book The Underground is Massive has turned more than a few heads in the wake of its release this week. While it’s certainly not the first book to be written about dance music, it looks to be one of the more promising. The 443-page historical narrative charts the course of dance music from the breeding ground of Chicago’s house scene to its current status as a global industry. While the subtitle reads ‘How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America,’ with the letters ‘E,’ ‘D,’ and ‘M’ emboldened in pink, the book ventures far beyond the scope of EDM.
The Chicago Reader, one of the publications Michaelangelo Matos has been contributing to for nearly 20 years, has released a few select excerpts from the book, detailing the early history of dance music in Chicago and Detroit.
In this first excerpt, Matos details the struggles of techno pioneer Juan Atkins in his youth.
Juan Atkins was beside himself. Twenty-one years old in 1983 and already a recording artist, as half of an electro-funk duo called Cybotron, Atkins was still struggling to make it beyond his hometown of Detroit. He’d had a great idea—take what Kraftwerk, the German synth-pop group, was doing, but make it funky. Not just funky the way he knew them to be—a group whose 1977 album Trans-Europe Express could keep a dance floor going—but funky in a way that the rest of the world could hear.
In this excerpt, Matos details another Detroit legend — Derrick May — and his expedition to Chicago:
That night, May went to the Power Plant for the first time—”I didn’t go with a group of people; I was always alone, man”—and promptly had his skull peeled back. The Detroit teen parties were professional, but this was church. The crowd—largely underage, mostly gay and black—moved harder than the kids May was spinning for, and Knuckles played louder, freer, more powerfully. He was sweet and easygoing, but he had a corporal’s command over the crowd. After a couple of visits, May saw an angle. He had a second TR-909, he needed cash, and he’d heard from Importes manager Craig Loftis that Knuckles wanted a drum machine: Game, set, match. When May told him his plan, Atkins panicked. “Juan begged me not to. Nobody had a 909 yet.”
The Underground is Massive is available on Amazon now.
Via: Chicago Reader