Is THIS the price of being attached to Derrick May? Juan Atkins was interviewed by DJ Mag editor Carl Loben last week – but there’s no trace of the interview anywhere…

This blog believes people should choose their friends very carefully. Quite simply, if something seems off about a person, that’s because it usually is. And now, we’re starting to see the consequences for people who have chosen to stick by Derrick May amidst his current difficulties.

For example, I wrote recently about how one of the problems now with booking Derrick May is you can’t promote it without running the risk of a huge backlash. Literally the only option you have is to announce his appearance as late as possible in the day and just hope the ticket sales more than compensate – and not just financially – for the inevitable furore.

Asking him to do interviews to promote the event is clearly out of the question. Any journalist worth their salt will enquire about the allegations surrounding him – assuming they agree to speak to him in the first place. And any who didn’t ask him would inevitably get crucified by the likes of me.

What I didn’t realise at the time was it also affects people who are tied to his mast. Last week, DJ Mag editor Carl Loben interviewed Juan Atkins at the Most Wanted: Music conference in Berlin. But had Loben not mentioned it on social media, I wouldn’t have even been aware it was happening.

The Most Wanted: Music social media platforms made no reference to the interview in advance and nothing has appeared in the days afterwards. A source who was present at the conference last week offered me an explanation for the silence – after all, Rebekah Teasdale’s appearance to get her beleaguered #ForTheMusic movement going again was mentioned.

He told me “The Loben/Atkins event wasn’t exactly a best seller on the day. Atkins preferred to answer his own questions than the ones put to him – but the questions put to him were the same crap he’s been asked for years. It was a pretty boring interview. And yeah, your blog was right when you said Loben wouldn’t ask him any tough questions.”.

Juan Atkins might well feel loyalty towards his old friend – but the price of that loyalty is starting to get paid…

Straight from the horse’s mouth! Derrick May and his “passport” girlfriend are back in touch – just don’t expect craven DJ Mag editor Carl Loben to ask about it (or anything else, for that matter)

I think Derrick May is trying to troll this blog. Having tried to maintain a masquerade online over the past few months by limiting comments on Instagram and deleting anything which remotely mentioned the allegations against him, he’s now taken to making coded references.

Why do I say this? I’ve written quite extensively about Sofia Tsagaraki, Derrick May’s girlfriend (or is it still ex? No one’s too sure) from Greece. She’s a thoroughly unpleasant woman, having dismissed the people who made sick allegations against May as somehow being motivated by money or the need for the attention.

The two got back in touch recently after a less than acrimonious split a few months ago. Rumours persist a physical reunion took place between them on his recent trip to Europe – sources in Detroit who know him say he’s staying very tight-lipped on the subject.

Well, it appears May has acknowledged online talk about him, whilst not revealing any new information, on none other than Instagram stories…

It does, however, confirm that Tsagaraki and May are back in contact – because he shared her own story. One source in Detroit mischievously jokes he’s thinking of setting up a sweepstake so friends can bet on how long it’ll last this time.

Or at least I think he was joking…


In other Derrick May related news today, I’ve discovered – via the indefatigable Michael James – that DJ Mag editor Carl Loben has been flogging tickets to an interview with Juan Atkins in Germany yesterday. The process no doubt involved the usual – let Atkinz wax lyrical about the Belleville Three myth yet again and give him space to boast about how much of a genius he allegedly is.

And whilst this was going on, Loben will do the same as every other dance music publication editor. Namely adopt a venerative, craven tone and not dare ask any awkward questions – like his long-running problems with drugs, or the fact Rik Davis contributed far more to techno than he ever will.

But more than anything, you can be absolutely Atkins would not have been asked for his thoughts on the allegations against Derrick May. A nice easy earner for Mr Loben indeed – and proof that as far as the dance music press is concerned, where there’s muck, there’s brass

Juan Atkins is doing a gig next week and invited Derrick May’s friend Ash Lauryn to tag along – it couldn’t be worse than Awakening 2010, surely?

Apparently, Juan Atkins is due to do his first gig in a long time next week. On August 19th, he’s due to appear at The Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre in Detroit. According to the listing on Resident Advisor, he’s due to play for five whole hours.

And joining him there? No, not Derrick May – the strategy these days is to put him on the flyer, then take his name off whilst not announcing he’s not playing anymore, because he still is. No, it’s none other than May’s friend – “the type of person who’d crawl up your ass and stay there until something better came along”, apparently – Ash Lauryn.

Quite how she got the gig remains something of a mystery. I can only assume everyone else in Detroit is busy that night. But perhaps it’s just as well that she has – because if history repeats itself, she could quickly find herself promoted to being the main act of the evening.

You see, Atkins hasn’t performed much in recent years – it’s an open secret in Detroit that he’s had problems with drugs flaring up and down for over a decade now, hence why he comes across as a bit of a recluse.

And one of his most recent gigs as part of the so-called Belleville Three was an unmitigated disaster. On May 14th this year, I detailed what happened when he appeared at Awakening in 2010. He seemed to be having trouble getting his laptop to work properly, and later in the day managed to confuse Adam Beyer for Jeff Mills. My understanding is that around the same time, the issues which Atkins had with drugs were sadly flaring up once more.

And word is the pandemic has not helped matters one little bit. Whilst I don’t know whether Atkins has had the Covid vaccine, one of my sources was telling me that several of Detroit techno’s bigwigs met up a while ago and the topic of the jab came up. Opinions were split. Carl Craig thought it was stupid not to get it, Derrick May thought taking what he called an “experimental vaccine” wasn’t a good idea.

Craig reportedly told May he was a “d***weed” at the same discussion and questioned whether May could even spell the word “experimental”. They can’t agree on anything, this lot…

Then again, Ash Lauryn is well versed in the ways of Detroit. The in-fighting between the scene’s figureheads in the city do make advancing her career easier…

It’s not like you to have nothing to say, Derrick! Why two of the so-called Belleville Three had no comment to make last week on the death of Kelli Hand at the age of 56 – and one person who should have just kept their mouth shut

I pondered whether to write about this one at all. Then I remembered the purpose of this blog – writing the stuff about dance music that others won’t – and I quickly changed my mind. So here goes.

Last Wednesday, the world found out about the tragic death of Detroit DJ and producer Kelli Hand. Tributes came pouring in over the next hours s and days – but some voices have not been heard. And the reason? Because they curiously have nothing to say.

Out of the so-called Belleville Three, two of them remain silent, even five days later. Only Kevin Saunderson – the only one of the three men who seems to possess any integrity whatsoever – had the decency to say anything. So why do Juan Atkins and Derrick May have nothing to say?

A source who knows both men well said “They didn’t see her as one of them. That’s the truth. Detroit people only see you as family if you do the same as they do. K-Hand’s music was inspired by New York, Chicago and other places – not by Detroit. So they didn’t see her as being like them”.

And according to another source, Hand had few dealings with the two men – and this was entirely intentional. He said “Let’s just say she saw straight through their bull****. She never met them much, but she got the impression the two were in way over their heads”.

Still, at least May and Atkins had the decency to stay silent when they almost certainly know Hand thought so little of them. The same cannot be said of Ash Lauryn, real name Ashleigh Teasley, who publicly fell out with her mentor last year – calling her “one little groupie’s black friend” in one podcast afterwards.

Lauryn never apologised for her disgraceful comments towards Hand. Still, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. According to one Detroit source, Lauryn – who was in a relationship with Derrick May for a time, by the way – “was always the type of person who’d crawl up your ass and stay there until something better came along. The only person Ash Lauryn gives a f*** about is Ash Lauryn.”.

Ouch…

Is he just another musical fraud, then? Damning testimony from Michael James – who was there when it happened – explains why Juan Atkins suddenly doesn’t want to talk about the past anymore

I have to start this post by making a confession. I’ve gone somewhat easy on Juan Atkins over the past few months, mostly because I understand he is in very poor health. You see, I’m not completely heartless, despite the impression I give. Just mostly so.

However, he’s recently started telling everyone that the past is not important or relevant. This is quite the 360⁰ turn from someone who’s spent most of the past 30 years talking about what has gone before, and his role within it. And now Michael James – who was present when all this stuff was going on – has decided to write it all up for everyone to see.

You can read the whole thing here, but I’m just going to concentrate on a few things. Because the many things that Derrick May has done have been documented and continue to be – trust me, I’m nowhere near finished yet – but Atkins hasn’t received anywhere near the same level of scrutiny.

Juan Atkins, in the words of Michael James, stole “almost the complete identity, philosophy and creativity” of his mentor Rik Davis. It is Davis who should be in the history books. Atkins is barely worthy, in comparison, of being a footnote.

This detailed testimonial of the early days of Detroit techno raises the question of what Juan Atkins can actually do. Can he play? It’s been established now well beyond doubt that Derrick May cannot. Is the same true of Atkins? Is he also a fraud taking credit for things that he didn’t do?

It also leaves Kevin Saunderson facing questions. James does not mention him much in his Facebook post – and on the rare occasions he has, he’s been pretty kind – so what was his role in the middle of this? Was he the Dr Jekyll trying to balance the two Mr Hydes?

We all know now that Derrick May and Juan Atkins did next to nothing worthy of note – so what did the final member of the so-called Belleville Three do all this time? He’s had by far the longest career of the three and also the most stable private life. I can’t help but think I should read something into that…

This one has been running for a while now. I’m not stopping.

Can’t they all play nicely together? Derrick May making up facts, Juan Atkins bickering about the past – it’s as if there’s underlying tension somewhere…

Something must be in Detroit’s water at the moment. They’re all arguing like rats in a sack. I’ve been told about a blazing argument about why Hagi, Carl Craig’s wife, has now agreed to manage Derrick May. A number of names in the city are privately unhappy – although no one has broken cover. Yet…

Juan Atkins is currently on Facebook telling us he doesn’t care about the past – having spent some 30 years now telling everyone at every opportunity that he does – and Derrick May has decided to post a fact online that is probably free of facts.

Elsewhere, a row has flared up between techno originator Richard Davis and his student Juan Atkins. I’ve been hesitant to write about Atkins up until now, as the same sources that have been helping me with my investigations on Derrick May have told me he’s currently in very poor health.

However, things are the way they are. So a few weeks ago, Atkins wrote this. Davis did not respond publicly, but my sources tell me he was furious…

I haven’t heard the podcast yet – it’s on an incredibly long list of things to do. Anyway, Davis wrote this on Facebook the other day. Notice the first comment…

36 years is a surprisingly long time to remain silent when someone is claiming sole credit for your work.

Still, I’m personally enjoying seeing them all fighting about this. They may not be publicly saying anything about Derrick May, but they’re aware of what’s being said – and tensions are fast boiling over…

Ever wondered why the Belleville Three don’t perform out much? The story of how Juan Atkins flipped out over his laptop and Derrick May “earned” his money by pretending to play – again!

The Belleville Three was meant to be an inspiring story about how three men from Detroit defied the odds to become the legends of techno. A traditional rags to riches sort of tale beloved by tabloid journalists.

Or so goes the cover story. In reality, that’s all it was. The three men came from relatively well off families and the story was concocted by journalist Neil Rushton and a couple of London-based bigwigs at Virgin Records. It was nothing more than a marketing strategy.

But don’t take my word for it. Take a look at what happens on the very rare occasions they do accept offers to appear as a trio. Here’s footage taken at the Awakening Festival in 2010.

According to someone who was there at the time, all was not well in the Belleville camp. For starters, they arrived later than planned, meaning they had little time to rehearse anything – and boy did it show in their performance.

Juan Atkins spent most of his time playing around with a laptop that just didn’t want to co-operate. And Derrick May, we’ve already established, cannot play a single note – so he spent the entire performance pressing the high notes on the synthesiser in his usual haphazard style.

Only Kevin Saunderson did any work. However, May was said to be visibly annoyed with Atkins at the end of the show – computer issues aside, Atkins did not seem to be himself that day. Another source told me that Atkins mistook Adam Beyer for Jeff Mills earlier in the day.

The depressing truth was confirmed in an interview by Derrick May himself conducted later on the same day. Speaking to a Dutch magazine, May said the performance “was really very, very bad. We tried to make the best of it, but it was just not good. I think this is the first and the last time”.

So what motivated them to do the show in the first place? Money is the answer. A source who knows all three men told me they initially turned down the offer from Awakening, but when they returned with a significantly increased offer, they felt they couldn’t say no.

They made one further appearance in 2017, with no such issues reported. Will we see them again? If the pile of money is high enough…