Detroit’s annual Movement Electronic Music Festival is the pinnacle for those who eat, sleep and breathe techno. Taking place in Hart Plaza over Memorial Day weekend in the city that birthed the futuristic genre in the ’80s — thank you Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson — the event’s three days of performances are always memorable. The Motor City holds a special place in Rotterdam DJ/producer Jochem Paap’s heart. Having pushed the envelope to become one of the genre’s most respected and trailblazing artists, connecting with two kindred spirits from Windsor, Canada, Richie Hawtin and John Acquaviva, two decades ago through a cassette demo he mailed them allowed him to take another step in establishing his Speedy J moniker as a force to be reckoned with.
Paap and artists from his mighty Electric Deluxe label/event series — DVS1, Lucy, Mike Dehnert, Jeff Derringer, Subjected and Mike Gervais — will host Movement’s opening party on May 23 at The Works. He will also perform a live set on Sunday at Movement with Zeitgeber, a collaboration he casually began with the Stroboscopic Artefacts label boss Lucy. All of this comes during a year that has seen his imprint celebrate its sixth year of championing the next wave of techno talent.
“The best part about having your own platform is that it’s another thing you can put your creativity into,” says Paap, talking from his home in Rotterdam. “Being able to direct the look and feel and curate events is very satisfying. It’s more interesting than just going from gig to gig and not being able to predict what you end up with and having no say in the lineup or sound. To be able to have your hand in there is just another way of being creative with music.”
Here Paap speaks about the significance Detroit holds for him and how his visit all those years ago played a role in putting the wheels of his grand musical vision into motion.