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An open conversation with Techno legend Juan Atkins

On April 27th we had the honor of attending a special event with techno pioneer and one of the most influential figures in electronic music, Juan Atkins. The panel talk took place in the Vidre Art Gallery at Pueblo Español in Barcelona. Sponsored by the club Les Enfants Brillants, it featured an exquisite catering service with fresh fruits, savory snacks, and a variety of drinks, providing the perfect backdrop for a memorable conversation. At the end of the interview, Juan performed a DJ set at Les Enfants Brillants.

Juan Atkins took us on a fascinating journey through his beginnings and the evolution of techno. Speaking about the origin of the term ‘techno,’ he explained that it comes from the word technology, highlighting synthesizers’ crucial role in its development. He fondly recalled his first exposure to these instruments, thanks to a Korg his grandmother bought him when he was just 14 years old—a gift that would mark the start of his passion for electronic music.

The influence of bands like Kraftwerk was another highlight of the conversation. Atkins shared how listening to  ‘We Are the Robots’ was a pivotal moment that ignited his love for electronic music. This inspiration led him to collaborate on significant projects during the 1980s, such as the musical collective Deep Space Soundworks. Founded with Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, this collective became a cornerstone of Detroit’s music scene, culminating in the creation of the iconic Music Institute club, a meeting point for techno enthusiasts.

Juan also spoke about his creative process, emphasizing the importance of keeping an open mind and being patient. For emerging producers, his advice was clear: dedication and exclusive focus on music are essential for success. Additionally, he highlighted the need for adaptability in music production, noting that his studio setup evolves with his creative mood and changing tastes.

The interview with Juan Atkins not only offered a deep insight into his personal and professional journey but also reflected his relentless spirit of innovation. His ability to explore new sounds and stay inspired continues to be a source of motivation for musicians and electronic music enthusiasts worldwide.

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