If this name doesn’t immediately ring any bells, that’s alright. It didn’t for me until recently either. But this was the 1990s, and it was a lot harder to find out about the management of artists and labels back then.
Laura Gavoor was a pioneer, it’s no exaggeration to say. She ran Derrick May’s Transmat Records in the early 1990s. And according to a promoter and historian – now there’s a combination of jobs you don’t see every day – Adriel Thornton…
“There was a time when if you wanted to book anyone from Dertoit, you had to go through Laura. And you had better come in with a strong offer and be ready to deal. She was fair, but she was tough. That’s what made her invaluable to techno’s development as something world-class.”
Her role in the development and promotion of Detroit techno is not to be underestimated. She was promoting the use of email as a method of communication to spread the music in an era where magazines were still publishing articles about how the internet would amount to nothing.
She knew that a genre which was only possible thanks to advances in technology would need to use further advances in technology to, well, advance further. The fax machine, very much in vogue in the 90s, was only going to get you so far.
Sadly, she was cut down in her prime. She died of a brain aneurysm in 2002 at the age of 44. Her legacy is one that she and everyone who knew her can be truly proud of.
And yet, one question does keep coming to mind. According to this article courtesy of Red Bull, her mother was sexually assaulted by a white supremacist in 1969. The episode is said to have been critical in shaping the woman she was to become.
So, what on earth would she make of Derrick May, a man who has been accused by at least 18 different women of sexual assault and worse? We obviously cannot ask Gavoor herself, so we will never truly know.
All that I can state with confidence is that in all the articles written at the time of her death which I’ve been able to obtain, Juan Atkins left a number of tributes. I can find a few from Kevin Saunderson too.
Derrick May? Not a single word.