After Ash Lauryn suffers a backlash from her native Detroit appearing on Defected Croatia bill, why ARE the record label suddenly so interested in the city’s music?

Some years ago now, Defected label boss Simon Dunmore spoke about how he acquired the old MK catalogue. Although MK – real name Marc Kinchen – was probably best known in the 1990s for his endless remixes, he did create a few decent originals in the process too.

Dunmore explained the logic behind the process. Firstly, the price was low – a good thing for an independent label which doesn’t have an endless budget and must exercise strategy when buying catalogues. And secondly, he believed that MK’s sound would come back into fashion at some point. Which was entirely possible due to the cyclical nature of house music.

Recently, Defected has been pushing a number of genres which it has traditionally veered clear of. One of those has been Detroit techno. For example, they’ve been promoting artists such as Carl Craig, and the song “Strings Of Life” has been mentioned a few times – although Defected stick to the 2004 remake from Soul Central when promoting it. I can’t think why…

A few weeks ago, it was confirmed that upcoming Detroit DJ Ash Lauryn is on the bill for Defected Croatia next year. Lauryn isn’t a fan of this blog – blocking my site’s Twitter account after accusing me of spreading “lies” about her. And as I reported  previously, a number of the old guard in Detroit aren’t happy with her being booked.

Yesterday, Defected put a message out on their social media platforms simply asking “What is your favourite track from Detroit?”. Which has immediately got me wondering – what is the Defected machine playing at? Why the interest in a genre which they’ve taken no notice of previously?

I asked my industry insider about this, and for once, he wasn’t entirely sure. He told me “I’ve known Simon for a long time and most things Defected do are part of some longer term vision. His label could have their eye on an old catalogue of Detroit techno classics. Detroit was always a bit overlooked, meaning catalogue prices could be low, and Defected are good at bringing things to a modern audience.”.

And the prospect of the independent label buying up Detroit catalogues might not go down well. A well-connected source in the city tells me “Some of the guys would see a big British label buying their old s*** as colonialism. Simple as that. Irony is though that some of the same guys would take a pay cheque for their s*** anyway.”.

If you start seeing artists from Detroit doing remixes on major Defected releases over the next few months, it means they’ve made in the eyes of the label. If that happens, just remember you read it at Amateur’s House first…

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