Mad Mike interview

Posted Feb 20 2007

Interview with techno label head "Mad Mike" Banks. I didn't write this, but it's worth spreading the word. An amazing man to know who kicks plenty of knowldege in this interview! This interview is from the Feburary 10, 2007 edition of Germany's De:Bug magazine. Also, I had my high school students read this article and part of their assignment was to write letters to Mike. Read some of their letters here.

Mike Banks über Underground Resistance
"You will find the strength in the sound and make your transition."
Sven Von Thülen in De:Bug

Underground Resistance always stood and still stands for more than just music. Please explain for those who don`t know yet your philosophy behind the label. How do you find new talent, what do you do beyond the label work?

The idea of "resistance" is very old. A more important question is what are the conditions that cause it? The spirit of resistance survived in us African Americans throughout the ages and manifested itself into me and Jeff Mills as kids as it did in many of our friends. Our parents were educated and had survived the turbulent 60`s and supported the "resistant" Dr. Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement and anti-war campaigns. Consequently both Jeff and myself were AWARE.

We both had grown tired of seeing the 80`s era commercial media portraying African Americans once again as they were in the 70`s Black Exploitation movies as happy clowns who wanted nothing more than a big fat ass, Diamonds, Furs and Gold, a ridiculously flashy car and a pocket full of cash earned from "Hustlin". These same themes were and still are being broadcasted over the radio and television further spreading the stereotype. So we lived and grew up in an environment that was being bombarded by audio and visual stereotypes that are essentially a guide for failure. I still live in the results of this poison as we speak.

We noticed that history was being repeated all over again. Thru various artists their consequent videos and their parent Major Record labels that propagated all this sh**. Chuck D of Public Enemy summed it up in his lyrics when he said: "You singers are spineless as you sing your senseless songs to the mindless you general subject love is minimal its sex for profit"!

We wanted a label and a sound that depicted brothers in a different darkness and a different light. UR wanted something that would inspire others to create technologies that would enable us to compete with this stereotypical audiovisual "mind beam" being broadcasted daily 24/7 by "Programmers" who didn’t give a f*** about us. And obviously still don’t. We wanted to build a better community by expanding, inspiring and transporting minds and spirits via unexplored sonic potential. We want a "Sonic Revolution for Change" something that would affect our neighborhood positively somehow as "The Electrifying Mojo" did for us with his "Midnight Funk Association" radio show that ran during the 70`s & 80`s. Mojo’s show was a serious counterweight to the programmers "mindbeam" that essentially laid the blueprint and planted the seeds of Detroit Techno. It was a good show not only for our community but ultimately for the world.

Underground Resistance is slowly approaching its 20th Birthday. Has your initial motivation to start the label changed over the years?

UR is nothing new, it’s just a different resistance with another name fighting another ignorant fanatical Tyrant this time for freedom of sound. We exploit newer technology now and will continue to do so as it evolves. Our conditions here in Detroit are exactly the same if not worse as when we started. So due to our inability to inspire change here we will keep trying as best as we can.

Looking back on the development of the label what would you say were the turning points?

Japanese music technology, The fax machine and the development of the internet. Three technologies that functioned as transporter beams for our purpose.


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