Kevin Saunderson (Spain)
There’s a lot to be said about Kevin Saunderson: platinum-selling recording artist, label boss, festival promoter, a true innovator in the pantheon of popular music, cultural champion, cracking DJ. His influence runs deep, through both adopted hometown of Detroit, and music culture as a whole: as one of the Belleville Three, the high school trio which also includes Juan Atkins and Derrick May, he irrevocably changed the face of electronic music; with Inner City, he gave it some of its most memorable tunes.
The genesis of today’s techno scene can be retraced straight to Kevin, Derrick and Juan, as their formative experiments on rudimentary hardware sketched a blueprint for a genre that was yet to exist. By absorbing Kraftwerk, cutting-edge funk, local radio stalwart The Electrifying Mojo’s eclecticism, and all manner of new synthesiser and drum machine-led pop music, the Belleville Three broke new ground as musicians and DJs in the 80s.
Saunderson’s comparatively late start as a producer – kicking off in ’87 under the moniker of Kreem, with E-Dancer and Reese two of the more well-known names to follow – inadvertently gifted him a headstart. With the eruption of house music a few hours down the I-94 in Chicago, Saunderson married Detroit’s raw sound to more tactile, pop-leaning sensibilities. Inner City was born, and global success followed.