Fanon Flowers Interview

Interviewed by Djs Solekandi and Disconnect
DJs Solekandi and Disconnect interview Fanon Flowers on his career and music insights, and why he calls Southern California home.
With a history of solid techno productions dating back to 1992 and a 2000 DEMF performance to his credit, Michigan native Fanon Flowers is credited for being part of Detroit’s 3rd wave of techno. Though not a household name among heads like compadres Claude Young and Jeff Mills, Flowers’ imprints have made their way into the record bags of long-time Detroit techno followers, and into the sets of influencial producers such as Adam Beyer and Surgeon. Shunning overdone melodies and neo-minimalism, Fanon Flowers’ 2004 release “Slovakian Nights” is driving, mechanical and funky – solidly entered into the canon of techno classics – with remixes by Exium and Loktibrada on Numb. In 1996, Fanon Flowers appeared under his Mode Selector alias on the “Detroit: Beyond the Third Wave” Compilation. That same year, Flowers started his own techno imprint, Mechanisms Industries to showcase his work. In 2000-2003, a sub-label project entitled Cetron (short for Creative Electronics) was launched as a platform for more percussion based material. Recently, Flowers moved from Detroit to Los Angeles, where he’s working on another label project, based on the sounds of Berlin and Detroit, which aims to move the classic sound forward.

You’ve recently moved from Detroit to LA and are establishing yourself now on the West Coast. How do you like the change? What inspired you to move out here, was it the climate or did you need a change? –

Fanon Flowers: Los Angeles has consistently good weather, the California sunshine has helped plant seeds of creativity.

Many say Detroit is a dying techno city. Is that true?

Techno will never die in Detroit. Techno is firmly planted in the DNA of Detroit. I think the city is going though a phase right now where it appears to be dying.

There are alot of both styles of techno out here right now, both Berlin and Detroit as well as alot of tech-house and cologne techno, do you see room for growth in the west coast for a hybrid of those sounds?

I certainly do see room for growth on the west coast. Personally, I am drawing from my Berlin and Detroit influences and trying to create new, interesting rhythmic patterns and layers.

You made your first techno track in 1992, a golden era for techno. Tell us about your own evolution in music making: influences, technologies used, etc. How has it changed in recent years? What gear are you using currently?

I started with a Roland TR-606, TB-303, Juno 106, SH-101 and a Yamaha DX-100. That was my setup in the early 90”s. In the late 90’s, I was using a Doepfer MAQ 16/3, Waldorf Pulse, Yamaha DX-100 and the Roland TR-909. These days, I’m using Ableton live with a laptop and controller. As the technology progressed over the years, I felt I’ve been able to find more ways to be creative as an electronic musician.

What producers/labels are you following these days and why?

I’m following Rillis, Sleeparchive, and Scion Versions. I like the tight, rhythmic tracks these labels are well known for.

How would you describe your upcoming work? Any new label projects?

My new material has a lot of rhythm and emotion. The only upcoming project that I’m at liberty to speak about is my new label with DJ Developer called Modularz Sound Division. Our first release should be out sometime in early 2008 via Beatport Distribution. Vinyl will be available also. Artists on the label include Oscar Mulero (Tresor, Warm-Up Spain), Santiago Salazar (Planet-E, ICAN) and Silent Servant (Sandwell District UK).

You’ve played DEMF in 2000, but more recently, the Czech Electronic Music Festival in 2007. Tell us about that.

Intensity. They party hard in the Czech Republic, and they know their music.

What’s the craziest shit you’ve seen in in all your years making and playing techno music out and about..?

I would have to say group sex at an outdoor rave in Wisconsin called “Even Further” in 1995.

You were considered part of the post 3rd wave generation. How has that impacted your career?

Its been a nice compliment to be associated with other very talented artists over the years.

Where do you see yourself in the next few years with the west coast as your base? do you see it having any bearing on your musical style?

The west coast is now my home base for all American operations. Being on the west coast has also given me fresh inspiration while drawing from my Midwest roots..