Words by:
Photography: Jacob Khrist

This feature is part of The Click series, taken from Issue 140. A podcast version of this feature is available exclusively to Supporters.

There have been a few ‘click’ moments in my career, but the first dates back to the mid-to-late 80s. I was an undergraduate student [at college] studying art and taking the necessary classes for the architecture curriculum. At the time, I was also starting to create music and [work] with Mike Banks in Detroit. We’d just started Underground Resistance – we were making music at night and I was going to school during the day. On the weekends, I was DJing in Europe. It was a pretty full-on schedule.

One Monday, I’m sitting in class, and the instructor says, “Today, we’re going to study significant architectural structures around the world.” So she gets a textbook and stops at a page with a picture of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. She asked how many students have been to Paris and seen this structure. A few of us raised our hands. She turns to another page and asks how many people have seen that one, and a few of us raise our hands again. Then she lands at the Colosseum in Rome. She asks, “How many of you have visited this?” I was the only one to raise my hand. Jokingly, she said, “Jeff, if you’ve been to all these places, what are you doing here?” I said, “I would like to be an architect.” She goes, “Well, if you’ve travelled this much at your age…”

I never returned. That was my last day [as a student] and the first day of becoming a full-time musician. It was a tough decision – my parents were not happy at the time! They were curious as to what it was I was trying to do, because to be a musician is not a foreign thing in Detroit – but it’s not easy. If I could go back and whisper in my ear, I would say, “You should listen to your inner self. Listen to what this instructor is really saying.” If I had continued and got a degree in architecture, I’d probably be in an office right now. I’d probably not have the life that I have now. I think I made the right decision.

 Metropolis Metropolis is out on 3 March via Axis Records