Juan Akins was born in Detroit, Michigan on September 12, 1962 and seemed to have brought the future with him. He taught himself how to play the guitar, drums, and bass at an early age by playing along with the radio, he was even in a small band that would practice out of their garages. Then he discovered Electronic music.
While the rest of the country was listening to Motown, Rock, or Disco, he, was listening to WGPR and DJ Charles “The Electrifying Mojo” Johnson’s radio show. It was Johnson that turned Atkins on to Parliament Funkadelic, Giorgio Moroder, and Kraftwerks’ synthesizer laden music, all which he has cited as major influences. Inspired, he added a synthesizer of his own to his collection, later on adding some turntables as well as a Korg MS10, and began practicing and recording himself playing.
In high school Atkins met Derrick May and they formed the duo Deep Space and began DJing local events, including battling against other DJ crews. They even sent Mojo Johnson some of their mixes, which he played on the air. Add Kevin Saunderson to the mix and the partnership which came to be known as the Belleville 3 was born; little did they know, a new era was about to be born as well.
Though his partnership with May and Saunderson continued, Atkins had his own ideas, and he quickly set them into action. He formed a band called Cybotron, which as you can easily tell by its name, was all about creating a new future. He did just that when they released their debut album “Enter”. On it was the single “Clear,” and it was this track that would not only open doors for Atkins, but also set off a cultural revolution. Atkins had no idea the influence this track, heralded as one of the first Techno tracks ever, would have on the youth of countries thousands of miles away in Europe. Fact is, though he is called the Godfather of Techno, Atkins could easily be called its father.
Techno swept tough Europe in the late 80’s and through the 90’s becoming its own monster of a genre, and Atkins kept busy throughout it all releasing his own work under the aliases Model 500, Model 600, Infiniti, or simply his own name.
Though Techno’s commercial popularity might have fallen on hard times after the 90’s, Atkins has continued to inspire and influence those abroad and in the states with every new release, remix, or production he puts out. He remains in demand as a DJ as well, spinning in every corner of the globe and bringing down the house wherever he goes. Of course, by now, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, Juan Atkins is always a step ahead.