Founded in 1987 by Kevin Saunderson, KMS Records is one of the most important Techno labels created in Detroit before 1990. Label owned by Kevin Maurice Saunderson and used his initials to name his label. Originally with a Ypsilanti address, this address on Techno Boulevard, is important because it is listed on the “Techno 1″ compilation.
“Saunderson’s comparatively late start as a producer – kicking off in ’87 under the moniker of Kreem, with E-Dancer and Reese two of the more well-known names to follow – inadvertently gifted him a headstart. With the eruption of house music a few hours down the I-94 in Chicago, Saunderson married Detroit’s raw sound to more tactile, pop-leaning sensibilities. Inner City was born, and global success followed.
Between “Big Fun”, “Good Life”, debut album Paradise and a number of follow-up singles, Inner City (Saunderson and vocalist Paris Grey) amassed 12 UK top 40 hits and over six million records sold worldwide during their peak. A dancefloor-dominating remix by Luciano in 2008, and a globetrotting reunion tour in 2012, underscores the longevity of Inner City’s classic sound.
Explore Kevin Saunderson via this playlist:
His nickname of ‘The Elevator’ is apt: for his role in transporting Detroit’s new sound to a wider audience; as anyone who has seen him perform live can attest, his high-energy, high-spirit and high-impact DJ sets; and for spending the past 35 years of his life progressing the culture he helped create.
Operating in tandem to his golden run as a producer in the late 80s and early 90s, Saunderson’s own KMS record label – a remarkable 30 years strong in 2017 – has chronicled the early footsteps of R-Tyme, Blake Baxter, MK, Chez Damier, Derrick Carter, Bicep and even Saunderson’s son and regular DJ partner Dantiez more recently.
Explore KMS artists via this playlist:
Operating in tandem to his golden run as a producer in the late 80s and early 90s, Saunderson’s own KMS record label – a remarkable 30 years strong in 2017 – has chronicled the early footsteps of R-Tyme, Blake Baxter, MK, Chez Damier, Derrick Carter, Bicep and even Saunderson’s son and regular DJ partner Dantiez more recently.” (Via Armada)
1249 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, Michigan 48226
Techno Blvd’s Service Street side has hosted an Artists’ colony’ for Decades
Around the corner from KMS was “Service Street.” “Ron Scott, a Service Street resident who also happens to have co-founded the Detroit chapter of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, remembers the block from his days growing up in the nearby and now gone “Black Bottom” neighborhood. Then it was full of shops doing business in furniture, clothing and servicing Eastern Market butchers.” (Via Crain’s Detroit)
For many years from the Gratiot side, the view of what locals call “Service Street” looked like just another underdeveloped Detroit block. Recent facelifts to building on the Gratiot site is changing this perception and revitalizing this Eastern Market landmark.
On the opposite side behind the boards and cinder blocks, there has been an artists community that has been surviving for decades, since the 70’s. In recent years the Gratiot-side that hosted the seminal Detroit Techno Labels Metroplex and Transmat is making improvements will let the rest of the world know the arts still thrive on this block.
The block, including the tallest building on the block, the Atlas Building, has never gone dormant in the tough years following the death of the auto industry in Detroit despite how it looks from the outside. The Atlas building has also been home to artist lofts since the 80’s yet it looks vacant to passers-by.
“It’s been that way so long, people don’t even look up anymore. When I tell people that there’s people in the Atlas building, their response is, ‘I thought that building was empty,’ ” says Roger Gentry, property manager for Rocky Investment Co. LLC, owner of four buildings on the block, including the tallest, the six-story Atlas building, former home of the Atlas Furniture Co.