Slices Video Interview with Mike Banks / Underground Resistance
SLICES FEATURE: UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE (ISSUE 3-06)
This is Mad Mike.
I guess I’m the guy you’re all scared off as shit.
When you come to visit Detroit: Boo Motherfuckers, boo.
There you go.
No, no here you go for real.
I’m Mad Mike of UR and thank you all for listening to our interview.
When me and Jeff started it, it was pretty much he had just got out of a label situation with his industrial band ‘Final Cut’ and I was a studio musician. We had just got signed in Motown and both of us saw a side of a, you know, the commercial music industry we do not really like. So we decided that we will do our thing and we will do it faceless.
And the facelessness was based on hopin’ that people would listen more to the music coming out of the speakers and weren’t worrien’ about what we looked like, because in the era that we will create music a lot of African-American singers and musicians and shit was getting it made, their nose pointed and skin lightening and all types of crazy shit. So we weren’t with that shit. So we just said: ‘Fucker we gonna do our thing faceless for as long as we possibly could’. That’s the basic theory of why we founded it.
What’s important to know is, it’s pretty much a label with no rules. It’s a no boundaries. We just do it whatever sounds funky to us. If people really wanna hear what’s in the hearts and minds of a musician or producer in Detroit, and they really want to hear the guts of Detroit. They can listen to UR.
You know it’s a rough place, it’s the middle west and it wasn’t nothing particularly exciting about it and it wasn’t nothing particularly beautiful about it. It was a lot of good music that came from it and you know some athletes. But overall life was just average you know and I didn’t think much of it.
You know my aspiration was to be baseball player or musician or whatever and eventually leave. Over the cores of the success of Detroit Techno we had many visitors from all the places in the world that kind of, in a strange way, kind of pointed out the greatness of the city to me. You know some of the architecture, the soul, the churches, the radio, the people, the food, the friendliness of people to strangers and all that type of shit. I never been to the worst I didn’t know.
And I got a kind of schooling lesson from people from out of the town. I was fortune I didn’t leave Detroit thinking it was a shit box. I went out and left Detroit. By the time, I did finally leave I know it was a diamond in a raw.
Text: this 909 is the ground daddy of all drum machines. This particular machine was donated by Juan Atkins. It was and is used by many Detroit Techno producers most notably Anthony “Shake” Shakir, Mad Mike, and Eddie Fowlkes. It is still in use today by UR.
Text: This 808 was used by UR. It can be heard on many UR records such as “Final Frontier” and “Journey of the Dragons.” It is still fully functional and is currently used by UR.
Text: This 727 was used by UR. Not only did it serve as their percussionist, it was a key piece in a complex syncing system which linked older machines with din sync (808, 303, 606, etc) with newer machines which utilized midi sync (909, SP-1200, MPC-2000).
Text: While at Atkin’s studio off of West 7 Mile and Dale, this sequencer was used to create quite a few “firsts”, including Eddie Fowlkes’ and Derrick May’s first records. Along with Saunderson’s “Big Fun”.
We’re sponsoring inner city baseball teams with our record sales. You know, we’re trying to get kids in college. We’re trying to get health care for people close to us and work with us. You know. Travelling around the world and DJing for fame and fortune. I mean that’s great if you could do it but you know we got much more, much more urgent issues on hand in areas we live in. You know we need kids to be inspired.
These guys right here all have got passports so when they talk to their nieces and nephews and they tell them about Japan and wherever the hell they’ve been. That goes a whole lot further than somebody patting themselves on the back tellin’ everybody I sold 2000 records.
You know really the reality of Underground music or high tech music, or electronical music or whatever it is. The reality of it is, if some of these major Popstars, what they sell is few records and some of these most famous guys did. They fucking proudly commit suicide. They thinking nobody loves them. Because 2000 records ain’t shit to Elton John. That man touched a whole lot of people 2000 records are a shit to U2, it ain’t shit to Chuck Berry or Steve Wonder. You know kids have to really put their shit in perspective.
The true essence of Techno Music was that everybody could come to the party. No when you start to hive some people out of some shit and proclaim yourself as whatever you think you are. Then you now you’re really missin’ the point of you know. When we were kids and we listened to ‘Kraftwerk’ we thought that was robots. And we figured ‘Ay man this is some cool shit and the guys was robots’. We never say white ‘Kraftwerk’ or black ‘Kraftwerk’. None of that. It was just ‘Kraftwerk’. You know when the shit was funky and it permeated the inner city. You know, I don’t see nobody reaching out to us like we reached out to them.
I told the guys when they went over to Europe. They think they’re going to Europe and they thought there was gonna come back superstars. Anybody with some sense: No one was gonna come back. Ain’t goin’ to the earth you see. So I ain’t wasn’t in the hurry to get over to you. And I still ain’t. Cos I know nobody reaching back and doing a shit for us or our kids. So it’s up to us do and make them hightech. We got whole neighbourhoods and the neighbourhoods some emergent nobody get internet, nobody get cable. They can’t afford the shit. Wifi and all that shit. And they don’t even know why they’re supposed to have. Ain’t nobody reaching out to them. We have no advertisements on J.O.B. Radio and no fucking festival and nothing, you know. So shit has gotta change and I ain’t waiting for nobody to change it. That’s why we made an independent record label.
I mean we ain’t waitin nobody to do shit for us but I love anybody to try, so if them guys from Germany can come and do it again they’ll be my fucking hero. Just like ‘Kraftwerk’ is my fucking hero. Coz They did the shit. And if anybody else can come in here and high-tech this fucking inner city of mine.
See we got kids running around talking about icy grills, 22s and 300000 dollars of diamonds in their mouth.
We need some high-tech motherfuckers to come through until they do that kiss my ass.