In The Groove With Paxahau’s Sam Fotias

For the past 20 years, Paxahau has helped to keep the torch of Detroit’s techno legacy alive.


Click the audio player to listen. CultureShift airs weekdays at 12 p.m. 

Stepping into a subculture and finding ways to bring it to a mainstream audience in a way that’s authentic is challenging, but that’s what Detroit production company Paxahau has attempted to do for the past 20 years.

The organization behind Detroit’s electronic music festival Movement held every Memorial Day weekend will celebrate their milestone anniversary with a party at Bert’s Warehouse on September 8th.

For Sam Fotias is one of the founding forces behind Paxahau and was a fan of techno before he was a promoter of it with an interest in the burgeoning undergrounds scene dating back to the early ’90s.

“The energy that you had was intoxicating,” says Fotias. “There were those of us that were able to identify with (the music) very easily and very wholeheartedly.”

For this edition of In The Groove, he talked about the soundtrack of Detroit’s techno scene during the lifetime of Paxahau including the song “Spastik” by Plastikman, which had a major impact on Fotias.

Douglas Wojciechowski

“When ‘Spastik’ came out, you’ve got to remember you’re living in a time when there was no cellphones,” says Fotias. “The first time we all heard ‘Spastik,’ it sounded like nothing else that had ever been released.”

Fotias remembers that after “Plastikman” was released, DJs were playing it all over the city. 

“It was just a punch in the face. If you were able to read the dance floor properly and put that track in, it would just destroy the place,” says Fotias.

Listen to the full interview above to hear all of Fotias’ musical picks. The Paxahau 20th anniversary party is Saturday, September 8th. Tickets are available here

In The Groove is WDET’s award-winning series that brings to life the music that matters the most influential figures from all walks of life. Past guests have included street artist Shepard Fairey, MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, “Broad City” actor and comedian Ilana Glazer, soul musician Raphael Saadiq, and more. 



  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host of "In the Groove" on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.