Detroit’s finest Stacey Pullen visits London at the end of this month for what will be his first appearance for the legendary Drumcode Halloween sessions at Tobacco Dock. Having recently released his first EP in three years and completed a fifth season as resident for Music On, he took ten quiet minutes to answer a few questions about the influence of the motor city…
As a second wave innovator of the Detroit movement and sound, how do you feel the scene differs between now and 20 years back?
Right now there is no one to carry the torch for the younger generation of Detroit producers because they are not influenced from the same music that we were influenced from, and that leaves them searching for new ideas and other perspectives. That's not entirely bad but still it lacks the movement that we were inspired by.
What influence have the Belleville Three - Jaun Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May - had on your career? What was it like having Derrick as a mentor?
Juan was the glue to everything, Kevin showed me that our music could be taken to new heights because his music was commercially accepted more than any of the three and Derrick taught me to be independent. It was from us living together in Amsterdam that I was to learn more about the word of the traveling DJ, and some of what he mentored to me years ago, still stays with me today.
Tell us about Blackflag recordings… you are very selective with your output, which we admire. Is there anything in the works?
Yes, I have artists from different corners of the world who want to be part of what I've created with Blackflag. I feel like if I would have gone the same route most Detroit labels went in, I would be just another label from the city who only releases Detroit artists and Detroit style music. By me branching out and doing something different like getting artists who want to have a connection with Detroit and not necessarily from the city is equally important because that still keeps the legacy alive. New releases – in the spring of 2017 I’m going to release a compilation album of tracks from some very important artist to the label.
We understand that your father had links to Motown... What effect has he had on your musical career & what records did you grow up listening to?
Well he wasn't signed to Motown Records, but he was in a few local Motown groups who toured in the city and had a following from a local fan base. I grew up listening to loads of Soul & R&B from the 60's-80's from Marvin Gaye to The Ojays to Earth Wind & Fire... the list goes on.
You play Tobacco Dock in London on Halloween, how does the London crowd compare to other cities?
London has always set itself apart most importantly because the London scene opened it's doors for us (Detroit Techno Artists) to come showcase our music before anyone knew anything about what we were doing. Throughout the years the London crowd have been a real integral part of my career.