Bleep Interviews R&S Records – Part 3
Model 500 (aka Juan Atkins)
This interview is part of of our special R&S feature which includes 2 label samplers for £1 each (including the likes of Aphex Twin, Model 500, Joey Beltram, Pariah and James Blake to name a few), and interviews and Top 5 charts as well as a sale on all R&S back-catalogue.
BLEEP: Why did you choose that name Model 500?
Juan Atkins: I chose that as a kind of repudiation of ethnic designation. I wanted to get away from people trying to put a tag on who I am and where I’m from. It’s simply a model number.
B: Recently, you have decided to take Model 500 on the road as a live act. Can you tell us why you have only just decided to do that in the past couple of years when Model 500 has existed since the mid-80s?
JA: I thought that with technology changing and people downloading music, to me, the only way for an artist to exist nowadays is to be able to perform live. That’s where most of the income is going to come from for artists and a lot of new artists. I think that selling records is more of a promotional tool nowadays.
B: The first Model 500 record came out in 1985, but your first album, ‘Deep Space’ didn’t happen until ten years later. Can you tell us why this took so long?
JA: The mid-80s was a ’singles’ market at the time. Everyone was so into just releasing single after single. I wanted to do a proper album project at the time, but nobody was prepared to give me the budget to do it.
B: Has the way that you make music differed at all over the years?
JA: I like to try new things that adds to the creative process; this has always stimulated my creativity. With all the software and plug-ins that are available, I’m having a great time doing stuff on a laptop!
B: Why do you think that techno started in Detroit?
JA: Well, to make this a simple answer, I guess it’s because I’m from Detroit! The bleakness of the city was inspiring, as was the transforming industrial history of the city. The music that we made transformed right along with it.
B: If you could pick any musicians, alive or dead, to ’session’ on a Model 500 record, who would they be?
JA: I would love to work with any of the members of Kraftwerk; that has been talked about before. Bernie Worrell [Parliament]; George [Clinton], of course, but he’s more on the lyrical / song tip.
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