"I learned it from watching you, Mom" 2008
DEMF/Movement/Whateverthefucktheywanttocallitthisyear is happening this weekend, and for the first time in a while, I’m not shooting it. Before I started shooting DEMF, I went for fun. Before that I ran successful club nights at all of the biggest clubs in San Francisco. Before that I produced raves. Before that I traveled across the east coast/midwest/Canada going to clubs and parties. Techno is in my blood, and I don’t take any of this lightly.
I went to DEMF a couple of times in the early years, but as a former promoter, the lack of organization really prevented me from having much of a good time. So when Paxahau took over a few years later, I let my friends talk me into going, and I in turn talked XLR8R into having me shoot the festival for them. After seeing my pictures, Resident Advisor hired me to shoot for them 2008-2010. XLR8R and Resident Advisor may not mean anything to the people who come here to see my sports pictures, but there are no bigger names in the world of electronic music. Yet sights like this were all too common:
Media Policy, 2009
I regularly shoot at big complicated sporting events where organizers use tiered access to ensure wide coverage while still making sure that top outlets get what they need without tripping over amateurs in the process. At several points, I offered to share my experiences with media reps for Paxahau, but this was always met with a condescending smile and a “we’ve got it” while the above signs popped up and “photographers” with point & shoot cameras and Flip video cams multiplied geometrically. At some point last year when I was trying to make a picture of Rob Hood on the Made in Detroit stage, I found myself composing around some wannabe-Strobist douchebag who was actually using multiple 7-ft light stands on the stage while another was getting closeup video of Hood’s face. Getting paid to shoot something other than sports for a minute is nice, seeing all of my east coast people who (until recently) regularly make the trip to Detroit is great, but I was there to make great pictures, and that was pretty much a wrap on what used to be my favorite weekend of the year, every year.
This is all inside baseball, and I wouldn’t have even be bringing it up here except for the fact that Paxahau magically started
monitoring following me on Twitter after I joined in on some (very light) Pax-bashing last week.
See, last year Pax broke the cardinal rule of booking foreign DJs:
"SHUT THE FUCK UP UNTIL YOU HAVE THE VISA/WORK PERMIT SORTED,"
when they announced Ricardo Villalobos (probably the only DJ I care about that I haven’t ever heard live) only to have him not play due to visa/work permit problems. A couple of my friends made light of this, and when I co-signed, all of a sudden I have a new follower. So for my new audience, your shitty media policy affects me and a few others; Your increasingly shitty lineups affect everyone.Benny Benassi, 2009
I know what it’s like to book DJs. There will always be kids who don’t get good music and have to be spoon fed some sweetener. Fuck, I once let one of my helpers talk me into booking Icey
. From experience I know that you can’t just book people from Detroit, and I take a looser definition of what belongs at DEMF than anyone I know. But we are talking about the DETROIT Electronic Music Festival here, and Skrillex, Benny Benassi, Fatboy Slim and so many more have fuck-all to do with Detroit. They’re not from Detroit, they haven’t influenced anyone from Detroit, and they aren’t influenced by anyone from Detroit.
Is this who you’re programming for?Candy raver, 2009Psycho, 2009
What other inference can be drawn when you book nonsense like this:DZ & TooPhaced, 2010
I get that it’s awesome for Pax to hang out at WMC in Miami and smoke beers with tons of big European DJs, but how many times do Adam Beyer and James Zabiela have to play? And Richie Hawtin? HE PLAYED TWO SETS AT THE FESTIVAL LAST YEAR. Was it entirely
necessary for him to play again this year? Literally as close as I could get to his Plastikman performance.Luckily the fog machine obscured the legion of Eurotrash douchebags who were lining the stage.
And what’s happening to the majority of the actual Detroit artists? They are stuffed into the underground stage where the sound has been absolutely FUCKED for the last few years at least, while acts like Girl Talk, Kid Sister, and Z-Trip get to play on a flawless system on the pyramid stage.Kid Sister, 2010
Kenny Larkin, 2008
Terrence Parker managed to spin a whole set while talking on the phone, 2008
DEMF isn’t WMC. It’s not Mutek, Electric Daisy Carnival, Love Parade or anything else. It is (or should be) a celebration of the place that gave techno to the world, featuring the people who invented it and their influences and offspring. A little experimentation forward or backwards is fine, but when was the last time Pax made an inspired booking? Rhythm & Sound bringing Lloyd “Bullwackie” Barnes, Willie Williams and Milton Henry with them in 2007? Egyptian Lover in 2008?Milton Henry emcees for Rhythm & Sound, 2007
Egyptian Lover takes his 808 skills vertical, 2008
Four years later, and experimentation means the crappy edge of dubstep and garbage mashups at Hart Plaza while the good stuff splinters out into clubs for afterparties with the exception of Pax’s own boat party where the same people who play during the day play again at night ON A BOAT! What makes the festival special is that while the music is playing, the crowd is literally in the shadow of the Detroit skyline. The city that exported the music is in full view of everyone attending. RJD2, 2009
For me, going to clubs -while in town for DEMF- to hear quality music defeats the purpose. We have clubs in the Bay, as does every other city.
Good luck Pax, and thanks for the memories…Theo Parrish, 2007
Ryan Elliott, 2009
Moby takes the stage, 2008
Joris Voorn, 2008
Crowd surfers, 2008
Kevin Reynolds, 2009
DJ Hype, 2010
DJ Slugo, 2009
Inner City, 2010
Anthony ‘Shake’ Shakir, 2010
MC Messinian, 2008
Deepchord presents Echospace - Rod Modell, 2008
Boom Boom, 2008
Dan Bell, 2008
Dennis Ferrer, 2009