August 28, 2011


The original 1999 edition of Dan Sicko’s Techno Rebels is one of techno’s defining documents, a social and critical history of an oft-misunderstood genre with worldwide relevance. This 2010 edition of Sicko’s techno tell-all—copies of which are now available at the Wayne State University Press—focuses more deeply on Detroit as an incubator for the music’s creative heroes and biggest proponents (including, full disclosure, a nice spotlight on Ghostly International) and fills in the history up to the present day’s kaleidoscope of styles. [Buy a copy of Techno Rebels at the Wayne State University Press.]

We recently sat down with Mr. Sicko to discuss music, Detroit, and, well, mostly Detroit actually. After the clickthrough, Five Questions with author Dan Sicko…

1. In exactly 13 words, how would you describe Techno Rebels to a stranger?

Simultaneously demystifying and celebrating techno’s Detroit origins. Don’t flip straight to the index.

2. What was your most meaningful techno-related musical experience?

The first time my friend Hassan brought me to the Music Institute. I was very lucky to experience this small, very dark club, ridiculously alive with sound. In 1980s Detroit, this was a real anomaly.

3. What are you doing at this exact moment, and what will you be doing one month from now?

Working in New York; recuperating in Detroit.

4. What’s the one record you can’t live without, and why?

I still go back to R-Tyme’s ‘R-Theme,’ which is still this amazing collision of melancholy and joy to me. It’s hard to describe and very representative of Detroit techno.

5. How about a piece of sage advice for the younger generation?

Say nice interesting, nuanced things about Detroit.