It’s not an exaggeration to say that God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines is the most anticipated electronic music documentary of the last decade. To the contrary, the documentary from producers Jennifer Washington, Kristian Hill and David Grandison does the impossible — it breaks new ground in a subject that had become stale when it came to electronic music, characterized by films in which the same artists were asked the same questions about the same subjects for the 9,000th time.
Instead, God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines follows the narrative arc of Detroit Techno’s creation and explosion across the world from the perspective of the young Black producers of Detroit — Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Eddie Fowlkes, Blake Baxter and Santonio Echols.
“Techno became an overnight sensation,” the strapline for God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines reads, “and so did Juan, Kevin, and Derrick. But it didn’t happen for the rest. When the money entered the picture, friendships were broken leaving them fractured as a group with no collective bargaining power in the music business. With no knowledge of publishing and licensing, Blake, Eddie and Santonio, whose contributions went largely unrecognized and uncompensated, were left in a state of heartbreak and despair to this day.”
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God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines has been a 10 year process to get from concept to screen and the producers have started up a “behind-the-scenes podcast” focusing on aspects of the story and the journey documenting it. Detroit producer and DJ Reggie Dokes joins Washington, Hill and Grandison on the film’s history, the filmmakers’ history and current events happening around us, including the BLM protests from the Summer of 2020.
Episode 3 debuted on November 30 and features the production team celebrating friend and the late, legendary producer and DJ Mike Huckaby. “Huck is remembered not only as a DJ, but as an educator, as a leader, and as the one who gave the GSGEDM film its title and the team the inspiration to keep hustling to the finish line.”
You can check the episode on Spotify or via GSGEDM.com. 5 Mag will continue to cover every action and permutation around this groundbreaking film.