Out Come the Freaks: Electronic Dance Music and the Making of Detroit After Mot

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


In Out Come the Freaks, Detroit-based music journalist Steve Miller tells the story of the city’s electronic dance music scene and its impact on the city’s post-industrial revival.

The Freaks Come Out at Night

After years of decline, Detroit is once again a destination for music lovers from all over the world. Thanks to the city’s rich history in electronic dance music, Detroit has become a mecca for techno and house fans.

The term “freak” was originally used to describe people who were outside of the mainstream. In the 1970s, the term was applied to the gay community. By the 1980s, “freak” had become a positive term used by the black community to describe someone who was proud to be different.

In the 1990s, the word “freak” was used to describe fans of electronic dance music. The word came from the title of a song by English DJ Trevor Reilly, “The Freaks Come Out at Night.” The song became a hit in Europe and America, and it helped to popularize techno music around the world.

In Detroit, “freaks” are considered to be trendsetters and innovators. The city has always been home to a large number of creative people, and this is especially true in the world of electronic dance music. Detroit is home to some of the most famous DJs and producers in the world, including Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and Matthew Dear.

Due to its status as a hotbed for electronic dance music, Detroit has attracted attention from all over the world. In recent years, the city has been host to numerous music festivals, including Movement, Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF), and Decibel Festival. These events have brought thousands of people to Detroit from all over the globe.

The popularity of electronic dance music in Detroit is not only good for tourism; it is also helping to revitalize some of the city’s forgotten neighborhoods. In particular, many abandoned warehouses in Detroit have been converted into clubs and event spaces. This has helped to create new jobs and bring new life to areas that were once considered unsafe and desolate.

The resurgence of electronic dance music in Detroit is just one example of how art can help to regenerate a city that has been through hard times. As more people are drawn to Detroit because of its creative culture, it is likely that other aspects of life in the city will continue to improve.

The Birth of Techno

In the late 1970s, a new style of music was emerging in Detroit that would come to be known as techno. This new genre was influenced by a number of different styles of music, including funk, soul, and disco. Techno was also heavily influenced by the electronic music that was being created in Europe at the time. Detroit’s techno scene was shaped by a number of influential figures, including Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson.

The Second Wave of Techno

In the 1990s, a second wave of techno hit Detroit, led by artists like Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson—the Belleville Three. By this time, the genre had begun to be known simply as “techno,” and it had spread around the world. In Detroit, techno found a home in two very different scenes: the underground rave scene and the mainstream club scene.

The underground rave scene was based around illegal parties held in abandoned warehouses and other spaces. These parties were often organized by collectives of DJs, producers, and visual artists. They were typically all-night affairs, with music that was heavier and more experimental than what was being played in clubs. The parties were often drug-fueled and sometimes dangerous; in 1991, two ravers died of drug overdoses at an event in Detroit.

The mainstream club scene was centered around a club calledMotor that was owned by three of the Belleville Three: Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, and Carl Craig. Motor was known for its sophisticated sound system and its cutting-edge dancefloor design. The music played atMotor tended to be more accessible than the music being played at rave parties; it was still techno, but it was not as experimental or avant-garde.

The Third Wave of Techno

In the mid-2000s, a new wave of techno artists from Detroit emerged, led by Jeff Mills and Carl Craig. These artists built on the work of their predecessors, but also drew inspiration from other genres of music, such as house and Hip Hop. This third wave of techno helped to solidify Detroit’s reputation as a global center for electronic music.

The New Detroit Sound

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a new sound began to emerge from the underground clubs of Detroit. This sound, which came to be known as “techno,” was a blend of electronic dance music and African-American soul music. It was created by a group of young African-American musicians who were influenced by the European club scene.

This new sound quickly gained popularity in the United States and Europe, and it soon became an international phenomenon. Today, techno is one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music. Detroit is now widely considered to be the birthplace of techno.

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