Every time I finish an interview with a musician, DJ, or event promoter, I usually come home and exclaim, “That was the best interview ever!!” And always with two exclamation points, just ask my husband! This gigantic ethnographic project that I am doing has been so intense and satisfying, and I often develop a strong affection for each interview. This affection is all summed up in the interview participant(s), the experience of the 1, 2, or 3+ hour span of time, the location and time of day/year giving me a particular context for the conversation, and then the recordings of all these interviews that I get to cherish forever. I interviewed Carlos Souffront over the weekend. We communicated via email for a few weeks, he asked me to email him my interview questions and then sent me his thoughtful responses to them and let me know that if I wanted to get together to talk further, then that would be fine. I started reading his responses and felt immediately certain that I wanted to meet with him. It’s great to get written responses from people because people express things in such different ways when writing as opposed to speaking. And, I am so happy that we got together in person to talk because it really was fabulous. He spoke of genre, race, history, identity, and contextualization. During the whole interview, on the outside I was trying to keep it together, stay composed, but on the inside I felt like a little girl jumping up and down and clapping my hands and giggling from time to time – there were so many moments of extreme brilliance and listening to it and transcribing it right now is just knocking my socks off.
Talk about brilliant fucking interpretations and elegant descriptions of techno and house music in Detroit, while simultaneously embracing the eclecticism and complexity that is characteristic of electronic music in Detroit. Carlos’ thoughts on music, genre classifications, collective and individual identity, time and space, and the centrality of the music event in techno and house are so exciting to me and so profoundly developed. Believe me, I’m going to spend a lot of time with this in my dissertation. Oh, I’m gushing again…I love doing interviews and meeting all these people and learning all this STUFF!
We talked about Jive Turkey, Zoots Coffeehouse, his Crush Collision radio show on WCBN, Raving for Christ, Maurice Joshua and Phuture, School Kids Records, and letting young big pants ravers come to his party.
He even spoke about contextualization and recontextualization as major forces in the continuing vitality, or sometimes lack of, in techno and house music. And I tell ya, I’m so excited about that because those words are already major concepts for my dissertation, and he just fueled that ember a little more.