Keith Tucker

Début des annees 1980, Keith Tucker tourne dans de nombreuses fêtes, dans les quartiers Est de Détroit en tant que DJ. Il mélange les disques de Kraftwerk, Parliament, Cybotron, Human League, Derrick May, Soul Sonic Force…En 1985, il rencontre, Tommy Hamilton et Tony Horton. Ensemble, ils forment un groupe, RX-7.

Le groupe se produit dans des lycées et des festivals. Au fil des années, RX-7 se constitue une solide réputation. Ils reprennent des morceaux de Cybotron, Kraftwerk, Soul Sonic Force, mais jouent aussi leurs propres compositions. Le groupe se sépare en 1990. Keith Tucker envoye une demo à Juan Atkins. Il est signé sur Metroplex sous le nom de Frequency. En 1992, il active un nouveau projet musical, Aux 88 avec la complicité de Tommy Hamilton. Avec Aux 88, Keith Tucker et Tommy Hamilton reviennent à leurs premiËres amours, l’Electro et la Miami Bass. Signés sur 430 West/Direct Beat, ils réactulisent l’Electro, multiplient les sorties et les projets musicaux (Optic Nerve, Alien FM), développant ainsi le concept de Techno Bass.

Depuis peu, Keith Tucker a entamé une carrière solo. Interview de DJ K-1, dont le talent est encore, malheuresement, trop peu reconnu.

Name ?

K1: My real name is Keith Tucker.

Age ?

K1: I am 29

Aliases ?

K1: Hmm, some of my aliases, well: DJ K-1, Optic Nerve (Children of the Universe), Alien FM, KT 19941, Frequency and former Aux 88 member.

Activities and interests ?

K1: Experimenting, I enjoy watching Sci-Fi movies, japanese animation and scoring music to them, also doing computer art for my musical projects.

Keith Tucker’s first electronic music experiences ?

K1: I would have to say as early as 11 or 11 years of age I was able to spend summers with relatives in New York and Virginia. There, I was lucky to bear witness to the very early stages of the rap, funk and earlier DJ age. With such funk groups as trouble Funk, Parliament Funkadelic as well as seeing first hand cutting by DJ Red Alert in a park in Queens New York. I’ll never forget that.

Electrifying Mojo ?

K1: Perhaps, the only true DJ in the USA. Mojo hipped everyone from Juan Atkins, Jeff Mills, Mike Banks to music that made any and everyone, once and for all, not even give thought to the color of the person who made the music. He hipped Detroit in any given night to a musical set of Kraftwerk, Human League, Cybotron, Parliament, Devo, Yellow Magic Orchestra, need I say more ?

Keith Tucker’s first electronic music experiments ?

K1: I was a local mobile DJ from about the age of 13 or 14. After high school, I hooked up with some other guys who were Mojo friends. One of the members was Tommy Hamilton who is still with Aux 88. We formed RX-7, we did festivals and local talent shows performing live Clear (Cybotron) and a few of our own original tunes like Lost in space. We were armed with one Doctor Rhythm drum machine and 4 keyboards. We turned out every rap talent show, we entered. We never thought of this as being strange, we just played what was being heard in our hood every day, the East Side of Detroit.

Frequency / Metroplex ?

K1: Frequency started after all the members in the group started pursueing totally different styles of music. I just decided to hook up with another local DJ, Jesse Anderson. We formed Frequency, so that in our opinion make some more Cybotron shit. No one else was making what in our neighbourhood was everyone wanted to hear.

Juan Atkins / Model 500 / Cybotron ?

K1: I know when everyone hears me says this, they will be like “Yeah right”. But after finally meeting Juan, any and everyone assumed he was a white guy because Kraftwerk was; There was trully a big difference to me in the two groups. Cybotron and Model 500 had true funk to flow with those fast beats. He is and always was the guy. ! Anytime a DJ went to recordstore before he did a gig; If you saw a metroplex records on the wall. You’d just grab and would not ask the store owner to play it. That is true shit. I don’t care what anybody says, Model 500 moved on to something different. Now to me, that is true growth with his sound. I can say one day that I had a chance to perform with him as Model 500 on october 14 1995. He asked Aux 88 to perform with him as Model 500. we did No UFO’s, Technicolor, Clear. No one caneven take that away from me. I was a part of Detroit techno history.

East Side Detroit techno scene ?

K1: The East Side techno scene is weird; It is the only form of music you can hear standing on any street corner, jeep, school yard club and street party ! And still here the classics Cybotron, Planet Rock, Kraftwerk, etc…

Aux 88 / Tommy Hamilton ?

K1: What can I say ? We got together to make music for what we and the East Side craved. We didn’t care if anybody else liked it. The one thing i learned and got out of Aux 88 was finally getting confidence to follow my vision of what techno is. Sometimes we all have to follow our visions.

Optic Nerve ?

K1: We are trying to convey a mood with your mind, instead of looking with your eyes. Escape with your mind, like your dreaming.

Alien FM ?

K1: Alien FM was a concept created by me and Tony Horton. It was the alien radio dial in space, what you might here musically in another world. Switching from dial to dial.

Aliens and other lifeforms ?

K1: I believe they are here and have always been here ! Techno is the only form of music or language anywhere near that discussion.

Musical influences ?

K1: I am a big R&B lover. I like ballads and Jazz, Parliament, Stylistics, Miles Davis, Ojays to Jefferey Osborne.

How would you define your sound and music ?

K1: My music can move anywhere from a 20th century music score to jeep funk from the hood.

430 West / Direct Beat ?

K1: I think Lenny and Lawrence burden are great guys. they put our material out when everyone else was following the break beat, house, techno scene. They saw what everyone else had forgotten about, they gave us and others at least a listen.

Puzzlebox / Anthony Shakir ?

K1: Puzzlebox is a outlet for us to put out entirely what we want. It is unraveling like a puzzle. We are still experimenting and learning. Anthony Shakir is in my opinion one of the true techno innovators who was instrimental in it all.

Optic Studios ?

K1: Optic Studios is the name of my recording studio. Tony Horton and I (Cloak) are involved in making a comic strip of artwork concerning Optic nerve. We are going to be doing out work to accompany records and also to make T-shirts with various artwork. Videos are something I envision in the near future. I hope one day to do some music to computer animation and movies.

Movie scores ?

K1: I try to make a score for every Optic Nerve project. I’m currently trying to contact any all who can help me of give my sound a listen. I envision Japanese animation used some of the ambient Detroit sound in the future.

Average Sci-Fi movie sound tracks ?

K1: I feel that the closest they ever get is with orchestra in movies like Star Trek, Batman. The avrage movie still thinks heavy metal conveys all moods.

For which director would you like to do tracks ?

K1: James Cameron, Tim Burton and John Carpenters.

Keith Tucker’s gear/favorite machines ?

K1: I like all the old toys like Prophets and analog gear. And that’s all I’ll say !

Soul in the machines ?

K1: The soul is put into the machines. Any Detroit techno artist you talk to throws the manual away and just fucks with the machines until he or she learns it. Soul is put into the machines.

Technology ?

K1: It’s moving so rapidly. It scares me to think when I am dead and gone what I will miss.

Electro revival ?

K1: I have always wanted to be a part of a small tour of anyone from Submerge, Transmat and KMS, +8 camp. I think that putting live acts together to tour and take this shit to a new level. People just don’t realize how many true geniuses we have in Detroit like Mike Banks, Drexciya, Derrick May and Juan Atkins.

Drexciya ?

K1: These guys are on a whole other plane. Their music can be compared to no ones. I have much respect for their style and concepts. The shit is real, their titles convey everything they want to say.

Early Detroit techno was mainly about dream, mind journey…

K1: I try with all my music to convey the title to you usually and then convey it mental as you let yourself drift just as you would in a dream. If you have ever been to a true party you know that when the music is good you leave every piece of negativity behind and release.

DJ’ing ?

K1: The DJ role is and always will be to control the mood of the crowd. Just like here in Detroit the true DJ can play any style of techno and house, if mixed right, it can make the crowd dance to anything.

Projects ?

K1: I’m working on my live performance incorporating all my styles. It will be sort of the Magical Act like in Lord of Illusions by Clive Barker.

Jean-François Baum
February 1996

Quick facts

Name : Keith Tucker
Alias : Optic Nerve, DJ K1, Aux88 with Tommy Hamilton
Location : Detroit, MI
Labels appeared on : Puzzlebox, 430 West, Electrecord, Direct Beat

Related interviews

Not all records on Delsin are or have to be, but on the label there is space for innovation. When I first heard Aardvärck’s tracks – well, it sounded at least pretty different as I’ve heard before…

Anthony Shakir
When I was at Metroplex, my concern was always what could I do to seperate myself from Juan, Derrick and Kevin. This eventually moved into working hard to have a distinct musical identity…

Martin Bonds (Brian Bonds’ brother) worked for KMS. Antonio Echols ran Serious Grooves out of the same studio. We hung out at KMS a lot and somehow Antonio heard something we did and wanted to put some stuff out…