On this weekend’s The Progressive Underground, one of techno music’s founding fathers Kevin Saunderson stops by to offer up some sample cuts from his discography. We also bump tracks from Julio Bashmore, Jazzanova, Nosaj Thing, Kendrick Lamar, Yaeji, Aquaphresca, Theo Parrish, Slum Village, Fat Freddy’s Drop and many more!
We also unveil a new atmospheric mix as well as explore the outer reaches of electronica through the genres of deep house, techno, future soul, nu-jazz, b-sides and rare groove. We go from 8-11 pm EST on 101.9 WDET and wdet.org.
KEVIN SAUNDERSON BIO
Respected and acknowledged around the World as one of Detroit Techno’s innovators, Kevin Saunderson is a legend in his own right, who has helped to reshape the future of Dance music as we know it!
Kevin was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1964, but moved at the age of nine to the place known as the ‘Motor City’, Detroit. He attended Belleville High School (West of Detroit), where his youthful urge to make music had been fuelled. There he befriended two other like-minded students (Atkins and May). After leaving school he attended Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, where he played Football. After 2 years, Kevin quit playing football in order to focus on music, so he joined his high school pals Derrick May and Juan Atkins, which unknown at the time would be the move that would help Kevin’s career escalate.
Starting out as a DJ, Kevin soon developed new skills that led him into producing records, which he released on his own label, KMS Records. The demand for Kevin as a Producer and DJ was overwhelming overseas, as well as in the States. He introduced acts like ‘Kreem’, ‘Reese’, ‘Inter-City’ (later to become Inner City) and ‘Reese & Santonio’. Kevin has had many other aliases too, such as; ‘Tronik House’, ‘The Reese Project’, ‘EssRay’, ‘Kaos’ and more recently, ‘E-Dancer’, which he uses to show his versatility at being able to create different facets of Dance music. Kevin also pioneered the art of the “REMIX,” changing the face of how remixers revamp songs. His very first remix for The Wee Papa Girl Rappers “Heat It Up” went on to pick up ‘DMC Remix of the Year’ in spring 1988.
Kevin’s biggest achievement (to date) and his most commercially recognized project has been INNER CITY, who have come full circle after TEN years, as one of the World’s most influential Dance acts. As one of the most important prime time movers in the house and techno revolution of 1988, Kevin Saunderson and Paris Grey enjoyed early pioneering hits like “Big Fun” and “Good Life”, “Ain’t Nobody Better”, through to “Hallelujah”, “Pennies From Heaven”, and “Till We Meet Again” (to name but a few).
In 1987 Kevin, then at only 22-year-old recorded a backing track in a makeshift studio stuck in the basement of his apartment. He needed a girl vocalist who could also supply lyrics and his friend Chicago house producer, Terry “Housemaster” Baldwin, suggested Windy City Chanteuse Paris Grey. Paris agreed, flew into Detroit, came up with lyrics and “Big Fun” was born. Incredibly the tape was then filed away and almost forgotten until months later when UK dance aficionado, Neil Rushton, visited the Motor City to put together a compilation album, “Techno – The New Dance Sound Of Detroit” for Virgin Records. He freaked when hearing the song and made sure “Big Fun” was on the LP. Soon afterwards, it was released as a single and went on to become a worldwide smash.
To date, INNER CITY have had 12 Top 40 hits in the UK, as well as having had two Top 20 albums, with combined sales of more than 6 million. Inner City have also achieved many awards for outstanding accomplishments, such as ‘Best Dance Act in the World’ by DMC in 1989 and 1992. Inner City have also received 4 Gold singles, 1 Gold Album and 1 Platinum Album.
In recent years, Kevin relaunched his seminal KMS records label and continues to tour world as a global ambassador for Detroit techno music.