Words by:
Photography: BreAnn White

This feature is part of The Click series, taken from Issue 139. A podcast version of this feature is available exclusively to Supporters.

It must have been summer 2006. I had just come off a high point in my career; I produced a record as Platinum Pied Pipers, and it was doing really well independently. I had been asked by my A&R at the time to consider doing a co-production with someone they had just signed to the label. I’m young and arrogant, like, ‘Who the fuck is this guy?’ His name was Roy Davis Jr.

I didn’t know much about Roy. When it was mentioned that he was from Chicago, [the collaboration] made sense – in terms of Midwestern pride, house and techno, and Black folks leading these genres. I spoke to Roy, and how he spoke felt familiar – it was like talking to an uncle. So I agreed to do it.

Roy changed not just my perspective towards music, but towards life. Roy had this Southern mentality; my mom was from the South, so I recognised it when I came to Chicago [to meet him]. After we produced the track – it took ten minutes to make in total – Roy invited me to come down to Miami Winter Music Conference with him. Based on the vibe in the studio and ourshared energy, I said, “sure”. Little did I know what I was getting into.

When we touched down, we went straight to a party. To witness the magic of an alchemist – the way he concocted this spell over the dancefloor – blew my mind. I had never seen anything like that – [everyone] was under his control. As someone born in Detroit, the home of techno, I had seen DJs play and was very familiar with [this world]. But to see this in action split my fucking wig.

He played maybe 40 minutes at this place. Then we jumped in a taxi, touched down in another club, and he did it again, second record in. To see people sweat and dance to soulful, Black music being orchestrated by a Black puppet master is life changing, you know?

Now, keep in mind, I came in with my hip-hop swagger. The music that I understood was music made for the neck. But this music was made for the body. Three clubs in, my brain filled up with ideas. I decided that day, on that flight back home, that I will make dance music. I will make music to carry on the Detroit legacy in a way that only I can.

Memoirs of Hi-Tech Jazz is out now via Tresor Records