“Muslims go to Mecca, techno lovers go to Detroit.”

These words open the trailer for God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines: The Story of Detroit Techno, a new documentary currently fundraising on Kickstarter. The documentary features Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Eddie Fowlkes, Blake Baxter, and Santonio Echols in the story of “Detroit’s 1980s unsung African American community that created Techno music and how the business of music betrayed them.” The edge seems to be intentional; the subheading (before this Guetta business erupted, I think) is “A feature documentary about the true origins of the $7.1 billion industry of EDM.”

Filmmakers Jennifer Washington and Kristian Hill say they’ve been documenting the lives of these seminal artists for the past 7 years. “They are Detroit’s best kept secret as they have been quietly exporting their products and services to audiences all over the world for the past 30 years. The stars of this film are considered gods overseas, but fail to get the same recognition here at home.”

Techno became an overnight sensation 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.


The documentary has a $30,000 goal and closes on November 21, 2018. Watch the trailer at kickstarter.

Photo: God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines, Kickstarter.