Juan Atkins – The Beauty Of Decay


There are many, many different documentaries on the city of Detroit; about its high crime rate, its urban decay, and, as of recently it has been on the media forefront as one of the biggest municipal bankruptcies in American History.

One thing they don’t mention however (and they never do) in most of these “tragic” documentaries is the long-lasting, self-sustianing and still ever-growing music scene here in Detroit. The Avant/Garde Diaries, a lifestyle blog run by Mercedes-Benz, took some time out to do a feature on one of the godfathers of Detroit Techno, Juan Atkins. In the video, it shows Juan walking around abandoned areas in Detroit (one looks like the former Michigan Theater, part of which is a parking lot now) and talking about how the city has shaped his sound, most of which is explained in his opening lines:

“Detroit is very cold and bleak, even in the summer time, even when the weather’s warm… It’s a very hard and industrial city… We wake up and we look at this every day, and it affects how I make my music, how I make my art. That’s the beauty of the decay; it gives you that creative energy.”

As a native of Detroit (I do live slightly outside of there as of now), it is always good to see documentaries that are about the people that help keep the musical makeup in the city going, when others have simply walked away from it – the space that is left is what makes people really come up with strong ideas and keep the city so unique. What Juan is saying about his work has never ringed truer.