Focus On: Blak Tony (Alien FM, AUX88, Scan 7)

Tune your AUX minds to FM with Anthony “Blak Tony” Horton, one of Detroit’s legendary electronic pioneers. His music and that with groups AUX88, Scan 7 and Alien FM has helped shape the electro and techno soundscape, as well as usher in a new age of listeners with re-releases of classic AUX88 EPs, the ‘Counterparts’ album, and new works from Alien FM on Puzzlebox Records. He’s a techno scientist, MC and father, speaking with us from his home in Detroit.

“With my music, I do everything digital now. I learned on hardware at first – synths, drum machines – but had an incident where I lost my hardware, it was sprinkled all over the place, so I started messing with Reason and FL Studio.

“The software is on an XP computer system, which has been around since before 2004 and the thing is still going. I call it ‘Igor’. My other system is called ‘Blak Frankenstein’. I like to use Reason and FL Studio on there because it fits my workflow. I know FL Studio so well, I could teach it, and have to certain people.

On co-production for Alien FM (Blak Tony and Keith Tucker)…

“Both me and Keith have home studios. He works on the analogue aspect and I work on the software aspect. I might make some bare bones projects or whatever, send it over to Keith and then he would deconstruct it and put his funk to it – or vice versa. Works every time.

“We developed that like-minded headspace long ago in the 80’s. We trust each other’s view on that. That’s Alien FM. It’s like ‘How the hell did you get that out of what I made?’ We have love for this music, we live it.

“I think I have more of an aggressive approach to drums because I was in Scan 7. When we combine for a mix, we don’t have to worry about the drums or the mood or the atmosphere. It just comes naturally.

“Like with Out There, I just sent the parts to Keith without letting him listen to the original I made, and he came up with the K-1 remix. Crazy, man! That shit is nutty as fuck. We’re talking about ourselves – we out there.

“We’re getting ready to produce a show where you actually get to see what we’re doing. It’s going to trip people out because they’re not going to know where shit’s coming from. We’re going to give them new renditions of our records live, playing keyboards and doing vocals.

“They’ve seen AUX88, and now we’re onto making Alien FM the name that it should be and taking care of business around that. We want to let it grow and experiment with sound and have that interaction with the audience and ourselves.”

On his musical background and Detroit…

“Early in the 80s, I was in a production company here in Detroit called Diamond Entertainment and they had different groups. This is before techno was really known as techno, back when hip-hop first came out and electro was ruling in Miami, New York and L.A.

“We were calling it all “Progressive” music back then. We didn’t know what house music was. We didn’t know what techno was. It just had a certain groove in there and we were calling it progressive music. We caught hold of Detroit techno. I was proud of it being a hometown art-form and embraced all over the world.

“I was in an RnB band, the feature band for Diamond Entertainment. Keith was a DJ in a hip-hop group, and we got together because of the new sound, the electronic sound creeping into mainstream radio. We did covers of tunes we liked, and crafted sounds and arrangements because most of those groups then didn’t tour. After a few shows, the band RX-7 broke up. It wasn’t the time, I guess. I wanted to go to the military and get away from Detroit, and from all the drugs and crime of the 80s.

“I felt music was cool but if I was part of the military, I’d get a chance to travel and get away. Experience other things. Keith called me just before I got to the recruiter and convinced me to come over to his house.

“I go over, and Keith comes home from working for GM. At that time, GM had the go-to jobs in Detroit. He comes in and tells me, ‘I just quit my job. I want to do music.’ I was sitting there like flabbergasted, like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ He didn’t say anything, and I was like ‘Okay.’ So that cut my military idea right on out (laughing). I’ve always admired that. We both would’ve become very different people had I went away or he stayed at his nice job. I think of that often.

“From there, we just started experimenting with music, with different groups. Over the years, Keith and I just kept gelling. We were in and out of AUX88 and when we got together, we were working on different personas – Optic Nerve, Alien FM or whatever. We were trying to keep up the pace for the music at the time. It was growing and receiving respect all over the world. A very amazing time in our history.”

On his code name Blak Tony and Scan 7 (Track Master Lou, Blak Tony and five other mystery artists)…

“In the 90’s I got recruited to Scan 7. My first overseas tour was with them. Did a couple of records. I did the vocal for and wrote You Have the Right, one of our bigger tunes. Big song. Yeah, I’m bragging. That’s a big brag (laughing). I learned so much.”

“At the time, I wasn’t thinking about producing, that was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to be a writer.”

“I had the chance to write for a lot of people, but once I got a hand on producing, I had to raise that talent level. My peers are always watching. Then things just started happening for me. I did The Caddy Soul EP for Dockside Records in France, some stuff for Soul City as a member of Sight Beyond Sight, and more with Submerge, Elypsia and Tresor.

“When Scan 7 did the first DEMF, that’s when I had to figure out a code name. I’m on the microphone announcing everybody up there and I’m like, ‘What the hell am I going to call myself?’ So, I picked the name that everybody used to tease me with. I was the darker guy in the group. It was just a way to let people know this is me.

“But don’t get it wrong, I’ve always been very proud as a black man. I grew up in an Afrocentric/Black Pride household. If I was going to do this, I wanted to portray a positive black man in the future. I want to represent that and make my ancestors proud.

“As the years got on, I got tired of wearing a mask when touring and doing the group thing. You know what I’m saying? If I’m going to be a producer, I want people to know me at face value and the music. I got tired of being invisible all the time, I wanted to be like the musicians I was a fan of. The secret persona thing grew tired to me. And you don’t get credit if no one knows who you are. It had its time, man. I was the first to unmask and benefit from it with the works I’ve done since then.

On concept bringing music to life…

“You create an atmosphere with a concept. You read a book, watch a movie and get inspired from that – and you’re not trying to copy them – but you’re envisioning something for yourself and that can be the start of a concept. Use your imagination.

“A lot of people aren’t doing that now, though. There’s this copy culture; I don’t understand it. You need to use your imagination, exposure yourself to stories and get deeper into it to help develop your concept into something real. That’s what people attach to, something that makes them dance or makes them think. We’re trying to get back to those days where things were funky, where the music moved your mind as well as your body.

“Miles Davis was constantly changing and growing with new musicians and new music, and he was changing popular music at the same time and expanding. Parliament-Funkadelic, too. You need to take different avenues, spread the concepts out. You’ll never be bored with that.

“I see people, man, they’ve got tracks and tracks of the same shit, and I don’t want to hear it. Don’t try to sound the same, try to elevate your sound to something else. People look at me and Keith, all they talk about is the old stuff. It’s like we’ve got new stuff that would knock all that out of the box. People don’t seek out or investigate music like they used to, they’re used to being directed. Things changed. The story didn’t end, it grew.

“Concept is key. Somebody from UR doesn’t even have to have their name on the record, you just know that’s a UR record and who it is if you really listen. UR artists don’t try to copy Mike Banks, they just get on the same concept. Not everyone has truly lived the culture, and maybe that’s the difference. It’s not some fad.

On Alien FM’s music…

“With the track Nightmare, there happens to be an actual story.

“Keith and I used to be insomniacs – we didn’t get much sleep, and when we did, it wasn’t the best sleep. We would have nightmares or whatever. So, I recorded that feeling. I went up to the microphone, not knowing what I was going to say, and just said the first thing that came to mind that worked with the tone of my voice, and we mixed it with the sci-fi theme. ‘I’m drifting in and out of space’ but going through a mental thing at the same time from lack of sleep. Keith was like, ‘That’s odd.’ I said, ‘Let’s do a tune on it and it will work, because it’s truth.’

“Now I’m getting my sleep, but back then I had so much energy, I had to burn it off. If I didn’t burn it off, it was like I fucked up the day. I could have done this, been more proactive or whatever, man. It just took the worst toll on your mental state.

“With the Large Mechanics EP, it had been a decade since our last release. That’s the odd thing about this group, it just disappeared for a while, but we were still around and working on different projects.

“I said to Keith that we needed to bring Alien FM back because that’s the concept where we can get away with murder because we’re supposed to be two guys thrown out in space making this broadcast. Nobody can stop us because we’re out there on a radio station running amok.

“So, he sent me parts for Large Mechanics, and I put a couple of things to it but felt we needed to make a statement with the vocals – and I’m known for making shit-talking lyrics. We’re currently talking about an Alien FM live show and the possibility of an album.

On doing vocals for Alien FM…

“It’s funny because I grew up in the church, going every other day of the week, and when I finally got out, I had a tank full of swear words (laughing). So anytime I get the chance to cuss, I’m cussing.

“With Scan 7, I got to do a cussing preacher, and with the stuff I do now, I get a chance to show off. I’m surprised nobody has come at me with the hip-hop argument of ‘I can do lyrics better than you.’ No, you can’t. I’m going to light you on fire every time, every record. I’m a real MC. This IS who I am.

“My MC influences came from rappers. Plus, I used to be a B-boy and listened to hip-hop music. I realised that I could emcee but I couldn’t rap. So, when electro came along, I was like, ‘I can do that.’

“Keith had a vocoder that we used on Alien FM tracks, but Keith liked my voice better than the vocoder, so with Large Mechanics, he put a little echo on there so that it sounded like something.”

“Every time I went to the mic, I would do different things. Keith would ask about them, but I wouldn’t know how I did them – it was just something that came out when I projected my voice a certain way. It works.

“Most people in Detroit have a southern drawl. Keith and I have a southern drawl and southern roots, but his voice is a little higher than mine in the register. Keith has asthma also. He didn’t want to do vocals because of that. I told him, that’s going to be your character, nobody will ever be able to copy that voice.

“We upped the ante every time. As soon as somebody thinks they’re on to it, like a style or format, I’m going to change it up again, so they’ll have more to listen to every time they turn the record back. Keep them thinking, like, ‘Damn, what did he say?’

On AUX88 (Blak Tony, DJ K-1, Tom Tom and Posatronix)…

“I did the vocals for AUX88’s You Don’t Want None of This. Keith sent me the track. I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I did it so quick. Keith was like, ‘You going to talk shit on it?’ I said, ‘I’m going to cuss all the way through it if I can.’

AUX88’s Counterparts came about because we had a reunion with all four original members. I was standing there with top producers, but as the new guy in the production rank as well as the lead vocalist.

“On that album, I got to blast up – you know what I’m saying? I hadn’t been in front of this group in a while and I just cut fucking loose on the tracks.

You Don’t Want None of This with Keith was my first production for AUX88 since Phantom Power, which I did with Tommy decades ago. My solo track on Counterparts was Pothole Paradise, the jit track. Jit tracks are very popular in Detroit. It’s one of our signatures.

On drum ‘n’ bass and the current electronic scene…

“I’m the only one in the group that is a drum ‘n’ bass head. I look at it like it’s all bass music and I feel like people in the States are missing greatly on some of the stuff that’s coming out.

“Bass has changed all over the world. If you’re going to do bass music, you need to represent every part of the world. I want to bring that all in and make it more of a delicacy for American audiences. They want the street shit, but they don’t know anything about London. That’s the street shit over there now.

“The way electro is going, I just want to change it some days. I want to make it more palatable, and I want the people who listened to electro back in the day and the new fans to hop on it because of the beats that sound like their part of the world.

“A lot of electro sounds the same now. Producers have the equipment, have the money, but can’t produce shit because they expect the machine to talk for them. That’s not how it goes. When you buy a record, listen, figure it out. You come up with your own sound by figuring out how the music is made. A signature.

“Music has always been an exchange and a challenge but that’s not happening in music anymore. They’re just copying each other because they figure this type of track will be number one on Beatport because it sounds just like number two on Beatport. Nobody’s hardly working on crafting something different, and if so, it’s rare.

“What works in my favour is I can perform it. If you can’t perform it, it’s just running a lie. Hell, you could shut down all the equipment and I can do it acapella. You got to have yourself immersed in that – you know what I’m saying? It should be a rule of thumb. Most think so in Detroit. You don’t copy that person’s record. Do your own thing. You won’t get the credibility or respect otherwise. You’re only as good as your last record until the next one. Don’t bite.

On environmental influences…

“Music comes from being a product of your environment. If you’re deep into Detroit and you’re a DJ at a strip club or seeing gangster stuff, that influences your music.

“We just happened to choose a concept that you can constantly change. That was the whole purpose of going to space with our music, going anywhere but bringing it down to Earth so people can take it the right way.

“Everybody used to laugh at us. They used to call us the ‘Black Kraftwerk’. They’re not laughing now. They’re not laughing at all now. They’re looking like wow. People are like, ‘Oh, electro is the new thing.’ It was never a new thing; it was just an underground culture and grew globally. As time passes, it pops up again.

“In Detroit, people don’t care if a track is jungle or speed rap. As long as it sounds good, it will make it. Most people around the world are like that too, I believe.

On creativity and collab with influential artists…

“Right now, because of COVID, everyone is on online, in their basements. All this stuff started as a basement culture back in the day. You start collecting records because you ain’t got nothing to do.

“Back in the day when we were kids, you couldn’t go outside, so you were in the house being creative. We were playing with synths and drum machines and experimenting and we had our records. We’re now in those same particular times where we can create. Take advantage of it.

“I’ve talked to some of the people that influenced us to help get them back in the game. I tell them we need you to come do a remix or some vocals, so people know that you’re still viable and that you’re an influence.

“It’s like the My AUX Mind remixes. They came from touring with Egyptian Lover and Keith working and releasing tunes with Juan Atkins on Metroplex records. It was nothing to get them on that record. So now we’re just making more of that happen.

“You have to keep in mind the people who are buying records; they want to be excited too.

On pressing music to vinyl and Alien FM’s Record Man

“I was told and I repeat it: If you want to be in the record business, you have to make records. That means vinyl.

“Being a music collector is a totally different thing than somebody who says, ‘Oh, I’ve got that music.’ It’s like, ‘No, do you have the record?’ I can smell wax. I can see the artwork. It’s something tangible. It’s real. You’ve got to have something real, man.

“Shake [Anthony Shakir] told me that having a record was your calling card. That meant that you meant business.

“When people see a record, it’s like ‘Oh, shit!’ It’s cool, it makes an impression. It’s not the same to say, ‘You got an MP3?’ Anybody can do that. A record says that you’re ready to compete in the industry head on.”

“With Record Man, Keith was going to throw it away, delete it. I was like ‘Whoa, whoa, let me listen to that.’ I listened, told him to save it so we can build on it. I knew it was going to be a different thing for us. I’d say it’s one of the most “ballsy” things we’ve done.

“The lyrics were inspired by one of our friends, Claus Bachor. We were doing the AUX88 documentary and Claus was interviewed for it. He was talking about his love for music and how he sacrificed for it because he wouldn’t let up the music. His soul. He was the inspiration for Record Man.

“He was just impressive. He sacrificed but didn’t give a damn. That’s the Record Man. I wrote the lyrics about him, ‘I need something tangible in my hand. I’m a record man. I don’t give a damn.’ There are three voices in there, not just mine. Keith is in there and his daughter, Kelyn McKnight. Now, we got a sing-along track.

“Can you imagine when COVID is over and we do that record live after enough people have heard it? I’ll probably cry on stage, man, I’m telling you (laughing). I’ll probably cry on stage. People will know that record. It’s very personable.

On science fiction…

Omega Man. Soylent Green. Dune. Blade Runner. I was into that kind of stuff. My first record I bought was the soundtrack to The Exorcist. I got the Star Wars soundtrack after that.”

“I was listening to different scores of music, and at that time, Motown was blown out. I lived a couple of blocks away from Motown. But instead of listening to that, I was listening to all this space and horror music shit. I was a totally different kid.”

“Shit, if we didn’t have money for the toys that I wanted, I would go and get cut wood, sit in my room and paint. I grew up by myself. I’d sit in and paint a futuristic city, pumping music in my head or on the radio. My action figures had a world to be in.”

“I remember my mother came in one day because she thought she heard other people in there, but I was doing all the voices myself, orchestrating my own thing. She saved money because she didn’t have to buy a lot of toys. The last thing I wanted to get into was the music. I just couldn’t see myself sitting at a piano or computers or whatever. But things change, you know.”

On writing and drawing…

“My mother was a poet, and I do poetry every now and then. I’m going to write a poetry book. We don’t have a lot of literature out by artists in underground culture, and I still have all this stuff written that I want to put out, so I’m going to transcribe it and create a poetry book.

“Back in the day, they used to put the lyrics on the back of the albums so you could follow along. Reading them and listening along taught me how to flow. I was writing my own little things, running around doing little commercials. I was drawing a lot too.

“In school, I was drawing for The Free Press, but I had an adult mindset about it. I would draw women. Of course, a kid wasn’t supposed to do that, but it looked anatomically correct, and you couldn’t deny that it was art. It all came from paintings by Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo and that type of thing.

“I started reading the Conan stuff and it was more interesting than what’s going on outside. All kids wanted to do was fight and get into it. I’d rather sit there and read a book. And if you wanted to chase them away, all you got to do was open a book.

“I was probably 12 at the time and I had to lie and say that my favourite comics were Charlie Brown, Peanuts, or whatever. I couldn’t tell them that it was Boris and Frank. I was too young to have that type of stuff, but I was reading Heavy Metal and had a subscription for Playboy. I had to have that stuff to learn how to draw.

On Drexciya…

The Book of Drexciya comic is in the library. I had to get it. It’s a deep story.

“A lot of people won’t know this, but I know one or both went to Kettering High School, and I went there too. So, we were in the same high school together, plus both groups came from the east side of Detroit.

“So, that’s funny. Both electro groups came from the same side of town. I don’t know what it is about the east side of Detroit that just gravitates to electro. We just like that funk and that groove. More of the house sound and four-four stuff was coming from the west side of Detroit.

“I knew both James and Gerald through Submerge. I actually met James at the Submerge store when we were going to a UR meeting. A friendly guy. I didn’t know who the hell he was until somebody told me. We got to kicking it. Good guy and very, very creative.

“It’s easy to hook up with people like that because everybody is thinking about what can be in the future. Your conversation is worth a damn – you know what I mean? They’re not talking all, ‘Oh, let’s go get drunk or whatever.’ It’s like, ‘Oh, man, I watched this movie the other day, we could sit in and watch this. You want to check. Trust me, cousin, you want to read this book.’ You know, enlightening each other on different things and theories that you’d both use in the music.

On Alien FM’s It’s About the Banging and techno’s future…

It’s About the Banging is my Scan 7 side coming out. Club banger. You’ve got one light in the place, 50,000 people and they’ve got no shirts on, sweating. They ain’t fighting, they barely drinking. They came there to dance. That’s what that track is.

“We’re getting back to more of that, but right now it seems like everybody’s left techno to the side and jumped on the electro thing. When techno does come back into the fray again, I wonder how it’s going to sound because a lot of people are not doing the same techno that we did in Detroit.

“That’s going to be a new project for us, to do some of the old 90s style stuff. Instead of just the floor filler Tresor thing, we’re going to make songs not tracks.

On Detroit techno and one spiritual moment…

“What is the difference between techno and Detroit techno? All people know is the boots and pants. They don’t know Detroit techno has a mood attached to it. The Calling (reprise) by Fade II Black has the mood. It starts with those strings.

“I was coming out of the grocery store, crossing the street. There’s traffic moving, I’m in the intersection. I don’t live that far from downtown. So, I’m looking, and I see the Renaissance Center. It’s foggy, manhole covers, wintertime, dark. It looks like a dystopian future. I got my headphones on and The Calling (reprise) comes on and I’m like this is the fucking soundtrack to this city and only a few people hear it. I’m standing there in traffic looking like this is some bad ass shit. When a song paints a movie in your own reality, you have to keep listening – you know what I’m saying?

“But a lot of people can’t get it because they haven’t been attuned to have that soul or emotion. They go for the colder stuff, but you’ve got to have a balance. Everybody can’t be Jeff Mills, you know what I’m saying? Somebody’s got to balance it out.

“Some of the best stuff from Detroit was the heavy stuff. If you can find a copy of Relics, the Transmat compilation – oh, man – in between each track is an interlude by Derrick May and Carl Craig. Just out there, futuristic type stuff, man. Just mental as hell. You can sit there and have a spliff and just relax and listen to this type of shit and really get into your headspace.

On Detroit’s east side and cabaret DJs…

“On the east side of Detroit, everybody plays the electro stuff. They don’t know what it is. They just know it sounds good. You’ll hear Time Space Transmat or an AUX88 track and you can’t do nothing but laugh because people don’t get radio in the hood – you know what I’m saying?

“You tell them it’s techno and they go ‘I don’t listen to that shit. This is what it is right here,’ and you’re like, ‘That’s my group, you don’t even know.’ They just know that it’s good music and they can play it.

“We have cabaret DJs. That’s another culture that other people don’t even know about because you have to dress up to get in. You got to be proper. You’ve got to have a shirt, maybe a tie, a jacket and nice shoes.

“You get in there and the music is totally different. The DJ, he’ll play electro, maybe some techno if he can get away with it, but then you have these tracks where people will do ballroom dancing, guys out there jitting and slow beats. You bring your own liquor. It’s strictly late at night. Everybody looks like they been to church until 3 o’clock in the morning, then everybody looks wasted. It’s a totally different thing. A lot of people from overseas never get to see that because they don’t want to dress up.

“The sad thing now is things have gotten so dangerous. Some of us just stopped going out because you got tired of going through the violence that’s going on here. People are not working now. Everybody’s income is chopped in half. There are barely any restaurants. Everybody’s got to go to mass.

On his studio…

“I have three computers and they’re set up for different things.

“One laptop is set up for making videos when I get around to that. The other one needs an upgrade to handle more modules. The Shuttle X computer that I got in 2004 is the one with that old copy of FL Studio. Every time I’ve made a record off that, it’s been record worthy.

“I don’t switch up my workflow. I work fast and master and EQ tracks at the same time. A lot of people wait until after the process. I start with EQing to get a feel for it because I know this has to go to record. Every project I’ve pulled out of that computer has seen the light of day.

“Within FL Studio, I can do a whole solo in there, programming each note digitally with my keyboard, then drag different sounds in there to try different stuff. I don’t use any of the factory sounds. I’ll go make my own sounds or I’ll snatch some from somewhere or I’ll use something that’s in the keyboard or my modules. That’s the key. Don’t use any of the factory sounds because people will be able to tell.

On his secret weapon and new takes on electro…

“Ears. I cut out everything. It took me a long time to get Keith to do that. Nothing matters until you can cut out all your atmosphere of where you’re at.

“You can’t be in space if you keep hearing jackhammers down the street and the soap opera in the other room. If you cut yourself off from this world, you’ll find another world lurking in that. You know, the imagination, man.

“You limit your surroundings and your input of what’s in your ear and you’ll be able to concentrate on the different sounds. So, you can develop your character and people who know will be like ‘Oh, that’s a Blak Tony track,’ you know.

“Actually, I would say ears and voice. I don’t put my voice to everything but that’s changing because I figure people like it because they don’t hear voice a lot in tracks. I’m going to probably do one album – it will be all vocals on different topics.

“People don’t think about life. You know, they’re so used to hearing different things in electro, you know, with a robot voice like ‘We’re in space, we’re gonna jam.’ Okay, there’s other shit going on too – but they don’t talk on it. They either don’t know they can talk on it or they’re scared to change from the format. So, what I’m going to do is take some of those influences and different things about bass music and put them in the sauce, so people either like it at that time or it will grow on them because it will be more personable.

On The Rogue and his in-progress album…

“Stingray playing The Rogue surprised me. That track’s just straight up attitude. On the label picture, I got a daishiki on. I just took my camera and gave it that look. That was the first time people ever saw me face-on on a record, and I’m looking with this mean look like, ‘What the fuck?’

“I still have Deep Chord sounding dub techno that I’ve done. I love dub techno. I’ll have to master those tracks and send them over to Dark Side Records for a bass album I’m working on. It’ll have a drum ‘n’ bass track on it, an ambient one, and jit tracks.

On production and mastering his own work…

“I EQed and mastered my last few records, sent them off and got messages from the mastering engineer who was like, ‘You’re the greatest thing that ever happened to records. All I had to do was push the volume up.’ That comes from closing off your environment – you know what I mean?

“I’m not trying to listen to them loud. I’m trying to listen to them to where they’re EQed and palatable to other people’s ears so when they hear it, it makes sense and everything is not overlapping, you know. Giving them an experience.

“I’ve learned to premaster the track while I’m doing it, so when I give this project to another label, it makes it easier for the engineer to get it right. He has the legroom to do what he does, but it’s already pumping. So, when he turns that volume up, it’s like, ‘Well, shit, I’m gonna get paid to just turn up the volume.’ That’s exactly how I want it.

On club culture in the States…

“It’s like they will not take club culture seriously. It can be financially beneficial for the industry in whatever city, but in the States, they won’t do it because they just can’t beat the fact that half this shit was made in some little black boy’s basement.

“Everybody knows how it began. If they don’t know, then the story is just going to be told. It was independent music that they couldn’t control by some people that they couldn’t control, that didn’t give a fuck, that just put it out there and it started hitting the charts, and when they couldn’t match it, they made their own stuff. They came out with all the cheesiest shit to counteract it and we became an underground culture. You drove it underground. We didn’t do it. We didn’t have the money. You drove it underground. You did this. So, don’t be mad. You know what I’m saying? Catch on to the rest of the world. We’re making music for the whole world. We’re from Detroit but we’re not immersed in Detroit anymore. We’re more globally conscious.

On his new production company Infinite 12’s…

“This is an old concept. Back in the day, we worked with other people to do remixes for them, brand new music, soundtracks, voiceovers, theme music, backing and stuff. I’ve done music for ICP Radio and Insane Clown Posse.

“Infinite 12’s is our new company that offers this type of work to people. We have a bunch of remixes we’re getting ready, a website in the mix, and a Facebook page. We’re still building on it but since we announced it, there’s been people coming at us for work.

On moving on from AUX88 and advice for you, dear reader…

“Now that Keith and I are older, we know what not to do and that we need to go in a different direction with things.

“AUX is the past, you know. We’re moving onto something else. The other guys are doing something else. It’s time to elevate. We’ve seen this music come and go and it’s always been a constant with us.

“For people who want to do techno, you need to understand it. You have to study the roots and everything about it. What is it about this particular music that was made in the ghetto and travelled around the world? It was a response to when and where it’s from.

“When you live in this little petri dish of the ghetto, the last thing you would expect is somebody across the pond getting it, and then sending something back over to you, and you listening to it in that same way, discovering its own character.

“When you come into music, you have to remind yourself to have your own character, not somebody else’s, and get in there and make a difference. You’re going to need to if you’re going to be serious about it and have a career.

“Break those boundaries because you don’t want to be known as somebody that copies somebody else. You burn out quick or people get tired of you or see you as target practice.

“You want to have your own identity. That’s where the respect comes from. When you do electro, you want respect for what you did, not because you sound like this cat. Trust me, it’s not appealing. You do better, you change the game. Be proud of who you are. It will come out in the music.


Transmitted by Acid_303 (aka Saboteur), a writer and DJ from Melbourne AUS, whose machine-brain is wired for funk.

One thought on “Focus On: Blak Tony (Alien FM, AUX88, Scan 7)

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