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10 QUESTIONS DJ MINX

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Despite not having an extensive discography DJ Minx should be considered a unique figure in the dance music industry. While she is known by most for her track «A Walk In The Park» on Minus, one could say that the evolution of Detroit techno happened right before her eyes. At the end of the 80's she regularly attended the Music Institute, where most of the Detroit techno scene was cultivated. She learned her craft from Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, and opened her label upon receiving advice from her friend, Moodymann. She recorded a special podcast for Baza, and provided answers to our ten questions for her.



Could you explain how you came up with your dj name? What does it mean for you?

Originally, my name was DJ Mink. I was happy with that subtle name until I went to Record Time a week later with a friend and he pulled out an import by DJ Mink! I couldn't have the same name as another DJ so I started thinking of another name. My friend and I looked up the definition of Mink and wanted to find a name with the same meaning. Minx...not further down in the dictionary caught my eye. Initially, when I started DJing, I dealt with a lot of negativity, unwanted advances and attention so — Minx for me means I am not dealing with anyone's shytt, so don't bring it my way!

Please tell us about your label Women on Wax. How active is the label currently?

I started Women On Wax Recordings after Kenny «Moodyman» Dixon's suggestion. He said I needed to move on to the next phase in music. He was very supportive and said I was a «phenominal DJ» that needed my own avenue to put out music. I am currently on release #20, Stiletto Stroll, which is out now on Traxsource and soon on Beatport, iTunes and Spotify.



You are from Detroit, and you still live there. Could you tell us about the current dance music scene there? Should we expect to learn of more new talented musicians from Detroit?

I was born and raised in Detroit and yes, still here. The dance music scene varies from week to week. At least once a month, there is a badass party happening here but nothing regular. I know of a few up and coming DJs to watch out for — mainly DJ Young1. At 11 years old, this little lady knows what it takes to make a party jump!

Many people around the world first learned about your after you release " A Walk in the Park" on M_nus. Please tell use about it a little bit. Did you know Richie Hawtin for a long time? Were you happy with the reaction to this release?

I knew Richie Hawtin but not personally. He knew me as Minx while I was mentoring Magda, she introduced us. One night I got an email from Tim Price, who was Richie manager. Tim said he wanted to talk to me about «a track that I did». I asked, «which track»? He says, I don't know...something Ricardo Villalobus has been playing. He said he'd contact me in a few days.
A few days later, Tim called me again...from Toronto. «Hey Minx, Rich and I are in Toronto». In the background I hear, «HI MINNNNX»! lol! «Rich says hi. He wants to meet with you when we get to Detroit in few days.» In the background: Minx, I broke my ankle a little while ago but we will be there to see you! I told them to let me know when they wanted to meet.
The following Monday, Tim called and asked if I could meet Rich for coffee. We agreed on a place and met. The first thing he says, after giving me a hug — «anything you have with bass like that track, I want to put it out». I was flattered....REALLY! Keep in mind, I still didn't know which track he was talking about. I pulled out the EP and gave it to him. He screamed, OMG THANK YOU! He finally said, that's it...WALK IN THE PARK! I can put it out for you and will help you with anything you need! People need to know about you and your music!
Richie remastered the track and released it. I got to see him play it for 18 minutes straight at a club one night in Windsor Ontario. The crowd was amped for the entire time — he kept looping the track going from one piece of vinyl to the other. It was magical. I received a call about Walk In the Park from someone in South Africa a week after handing it over to Rich. They wanted to license it for a compilation. I sent them to Minus. This track went on seems like forever! Minus took care of me, I appreciate them to no end.

You started your own label with a goal to show how dance music should be. Can you describe in words how dance music should be?

My label is my opinion of how dance music should be. I create and promote the kind of music that I like and feel that my audience wants to hear. I do what I do to make people dance.



Judging from your biography, you probably grew up on dj sets of legendary Detroit djs. If we compare them to current djs, what in your opinion has dj culture lost or gained over this time?

I grew up listening to the original creators of the Detroit sound which is not the same today as it was then. I think the element of funk is missing in a lot of today's music. It's hard to find the sound that you can get totally lost in.

As a person who lives in Detroit, what is techno to you?

Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, 808's, 909's, Innovation, Detroit.

What would you recommend young producers who are interested in producing techno?

I would recommend they do plenty of research online and in the library to learn about the DJs and Producers and what elements are used to create techno music. They should go to the clubs and listen to them live, watch them work, ask questions and gain some knowledge.



Could you list some people who seriously influenced you and how did they influence you?

Derrick May, Jerrald James and Kevin Saunderson were my main influences.
Derrick May challenged me to learn how to DJ because I actually told him that I watched him every week at the Music Institute in Detroit because I could spin records. I totally lied, I was just looking at him because he was like a puppet master! That man was rockin' the crowd and making folks crazy! It was one hell of an experience. When I went to watch him play(climbing up the ladder to the DJ booth) the following week, he asked if I was DJing yet. I looked and said ummm noooooo (lol). He told me to not come back until I was DJing. I was devistated! Once I told my mentor (Jerrald), he said, «well you know whatcha gotta do». I told him it was no way I was able to do all the work I saw Derrick doing. Jerrald (Cat) told me that I was going to have to learn and I shoudn't have said I could spin to a guy like Derrick May! LOL!

The following week, Jerrald and another friend came to my apartment with two turntables and two records. Plugged everything in and he told me to start blending the music as if it were one track. It took a while, but I blended the records. I phoned him, excited, and gave him the good news. That evening, he came over with two more records, «now blend these», he said. Cat stayed on me and was my cheerleader from that day forward. He's such a sweetie. I appreciate him for everything he's done for me.

Kevin Saunderson gave me suggestions on mixing and producing and has always helped me in any way he could. I would go to KMS Records downtown and watch him produce music in his studio that was lit up with only lava lamps. This is how he vibed...it was hot! He told his booking agent in Berlin about me and told me to give him a mix. He passed it on to them and they phoned me screaming about my mix. I was added to their roster THAT DAY and began traveling the world.



For a long time techno music was about the future. Is this feeling of the future still present in current techno, or not as much?

The elements used to make techno music were sounds of machines, computers — things we hadn't heard before. We hear these same sounds every day now. In my opinion, the sound is no longer futuristic, it's now.


Interview: Ilya Voronin.
with Connect Bookings support.
www.connectbookings.com
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