The Roots of Techno - Juan Atkins Interview - Page 2

By Dan Sicko  

Wired: What do you think is the problem with the way music is presented to the masses?

Atkins: There has to be a revolution in radio in America. Instead of me complaining, I'd rather take an active role as a program director and change all that. If I'm the only guy to take a station and set an example, then that's what I'll do. I can also guarantee that this station would be Number One in its market within a year.

Wired: There are signs of this "neo-urban" music starting to flourish: LA's URB Magazine, more and more stateside techno tours. Is this the kind of movement you're hoping for?

Atkins:  Yes. Definitely. There is no outlet for (techno artists). Right now they put out 12-inch singles and sell 2,000 to 3,000 copies and get discouraged. The basic problem is that in America, if you don't fit into a radio format, you don't really exist.

Wired:  Given the structured and commercial nature of radio, do you see those conventions bending to variety and innovation? Even public radio seems to be "going corporate" these days.

Atkins:  However I have to get into radio -- digital cable FM, low-power radio -- that's what I'll do. I want to see techno take off on a major level, and I don't agree that as soon as the money comes in, it will dilute the quality of the music.

Wired:  You've said that people are ready for something different, that they have caught up with technology to a certain degree. What kind of encouragement do you have that radio will not continue to stagnate?

Atkins:  There was a time seven or eight years ago when you could go into a city and four out of five people didn't know what a sequencer was. Now maybe one out of five doesn't. There is a ton of music here, kids are buying Roland and Korg keyboards. And what are they doing? They're not making ballads!