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Octave One: “Thousands of people still want to experience Detroit techno”

Techno is a family affair. Arriving onto the electronic scene with “I Believe”, featured on the monumental 10 Records compilation ‘Techno 2: The Next Generation’ in 1990, Octave One is the brainchild of the phenomenal native sons of Detroit, the Burden Brothers.

For over two decades they have been bringing their techno live sounds to hundred of worldwide cities and producing classic dance floor anthems that continue to resonate as fresh, groundbreaking tracks.

We caught up with Octave One to talk about their musical setup, Detroit life and upcoming plans.

Electronic Groove: Hello all, thanks for your time. You are renowned for playing live with an amazing set of kit. How do you approach the preparation for the set? What outer factors do you take into account?

Octave One: Thanks to you. Repair, rebuild, construct, tear down and ship. It’s as simple as that, or maybe not that simple… Gear gets damaged on the road and needs to be repaired and/or rebuilt, you have to set up the entire stage to make sure everything works probably even after its repaired, break it back down and ship it out. That’s not taking in account any new tracks you might want to develop for the show or learning any new equipment to include into the kit… Believe us we put in serious work and by the time we finish those guys who just carry USB sticks look mighty appealing to us. Just kidding, we love our gear! And it’s still pretty much the same as when we started…Repair, rebuild, construct, tear down and ship… You get it 

EG: How much analogue equipment do you carry normally when you are touring. Can you describe the different devices and machines for us?

Octave One: We carry a lot of, we mean a lot of equipment as well as some backup pieces that are not always seen onstage, for those just in case moments. Not all of it is analog as many believe, some of it is digital too but all of it is hardware. Our setup the ‘Mothership’ as we call it has layers of sequencers  – MPC1000, Arturia BeatStep Pro, synthesizers – Moog Minitaur, Dave Smith Instruments Mopho & Tetra, Roland JU-06, Mutable Instruments Shruthi, MeeBilp – , Drum Machines – Korg EMX, MFB522 -, various effect units, a strong sampler and even a Roland TB-03 running through meters of midi and audio cables, control by a mixing desk and various compressors. That’s the short version of it all for entertainment purposes only not the deep tech heads 

EG: You have passed through different periods in the world of club culture. Do you prefer the intimate club experience or the big festival gigs?

EG: Having played all over the world, do you think there is a difference between American and European electronic music scene?

Octave One: The European audiences are a lot larger in size and their musical education is higher, but it’s been a part of their scene for a lot longer than it has been in America. Anyway both audiences are just as passionate about the love for music. And isn’t all that matters?!

EG: Where did the Octave One name come from?

Octave One: We had the opportunity of having a song make it onto the ‘Techno 2’ compilation and we were put on the spot by Mr. Derrick May when we were asked what was the name of our band, which he needed for the track listing of the compilation. He left the room and we did a very, very quick ‘huddle’ to come up with a name on the fly that we felt best described us, and the name Octave One was born. And it meant and means all of us (Lawrence, Lenny, and Lynell) working in one accord almost as if sharing the same octave.

“Repair, rebuild, construct, tear down and ship”

EG: Being part of the Detroit music movement, do you think it still have is an inspiring reference for the new generations?

Octave One: What has been built and what is being built, is built upon the foundation of Detroit. Whether it will be acknowledged by the new generations, time will tell, but we’re still here. Thousands of people still want to experience Detroit techno that was born from the struggle of our lives. From that, inspiration can be born.

EG: You now live in Atlanta. Why did you leave Detroit and moved to Atlanta?

Octave One: We had lived in Detroit for a lot of years and saw everything we ever wanted to see and do and we used to spend a lot of time in Atlanta visiting friends. We would go there about four to five times a year at one point and after one bad winter we decided that’s it, “we are not gonna go through another winter like that again ever!”.  Atlanta’s winters are a lot milder, it’s not Miami’s winter but it’s not far from it either!

EG: What’s next for Octave One?

Octave One: We’re working on a new EP for Random Noise Generation entitled ‘The Power of Endustry’

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