Starring Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Blake Baxter, Eddie Fowlkes, Santonio Echols, and Mike Huckaby
The story behind one of Detroit’s great contributions to world culture: Techno, the electronic music phenomenon created by Black artists in the 1980s that transformed dance music internationally and blossomed into the multi-billion dollar industry of EDM today.
Detroit is a city of struggle.
Historically, economically, and artistically, Detroit has had to fight for survival. And it’s had to fight even harder for recognition. The spirit of that fight is epitomized by GOD SAID GIVE ‘EM DRUM MACHINES, a documentary which traces the birth of techno music to its unlikely origins in the D.
Detroit’s African-American cultural roots cultivated musical movements like jazz, Motown, and disco. By the late ‘70s, DJs like Ken Collier were infusing underground clubs and public airwaves with radically danceable sounds, and in the early ‘80s groundbreaking technology like the infamous Roland TR-808 was falling into the hands of a new generation. The merging of these artistic and technological forces would bring about one of the most significant musical breakthroughs of the modern era.
GOD SAID GIVE ‘EM DRUM MACHINES tells the tale of the young visionaries who made that breakthrough happen. Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Blake Baxter, Eddie Fowlkes, and Santonio Echols were the vanguard of a new musical style they dubbed “techno,” which would soon become the most celebrated and profitable genre in the world. And yet their names are largely unknown to most fans of that very genre.
Despite the best efforts of musical historians and journalists, the story of how a handful of black kids from Detroit invented techno has never fully been told. It’s a story of damaged friendships, mismanaged success, and broken dreams. But it’s also a story of inspiration. While the originators of techno may not enjoy the fame and fortune of those who cruised to success in their wake, they have seen their music touch lives around the globe. And they find comfort in knowing their creation will live on for generations to come.
Like Detroit itself, the artists who created techno struggle for survival and recognition. GOD SAID GIVE ‘EM DRUM MACHINES documents their fight, and hopes to help them achieve both.