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Juan Atkins

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Juan Atkins

Years active


Metroplex,Om Records

Techno, Electro

Associated acts
Music group
Juan Atkins ClashMusic Dj Mix Podcast Juan Atkins Features Clash

December 9, 1962 (age 61) (

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Korg M3, Korg R-3 Sequencial Circuits Pro-1, Roland TR-808

High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music

Borderland, 20 Years 1985 ‑ 2005, The Berlin Sessions, Classics, MM: MasterMix - Volume 1

Also known as
Model 500, Infiniti

Juan atkins in the lab ldn

Juan Atkins (born September 12, 1962) is an American musician. He is widely credited as the originator of techno music, specifically Detroit techno along with Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. The three, sometimes called the Belleville Three, attended high school together in Belleville, Michigan, near Detroit.


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Juan atkins boiler room detroit dj set

Early life

Juan Atkins RA Detroit Special Juan Atkins Beroshima Live amp Support

Born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of a concert promoter, Juan Atkins learned how to play bass, drums, and "a little lead guitar" at an early age. After moving to rural Belleville, Michigan, Atkins met Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. The three were among the few black students at their school, and would later be known as the "Belleville Three", and the originators of Detroit Techno. As teenagers, they were exposed to the electronic and funk sounds from a 5-hour late-night radio show called "The Midnight Funk Association" on WGPR to hear DJ Charles "The Electrifying Mojo" Johnson's genre-defying radio show.

Juan Atkins RA News Juan Atkins cancels Australia visit due to 39life

At the age of sixteen, Atkins heard electronic music for the first time, which would prove to be a life-changing experience. In late-1990s interviews, he recalls the sound of synthesizers as being like "UFOs landing." He soon had his first synthesizer and abandoned playing funk bass.

Deep Space Soundworks & Cybotron

Juan Atkins Juan Atkins Deejaybookingcom

He bought his first analogue synthesizer, a Korg MS-10, and began recording with cassette decks and a mixer for overdubs. He subsequently taught Derrick May to mix, and the pair started doing DJ sets together as Deep Space. They took their long mixes to Mojo, who began to play them on his show in 1981. Atkins, May, and Saunderson would continue to collaborate as Deep Space Soundworks, even starting a club in downtown Detroit for local DJs to spin and collaborate.

The 1982 single "Cosmic Cars" also did well. Cybotron recorded their debut album, Enter, and were soon signed to Fantasy Records. One track, "Clear," struck out in the direction that Atkins would pursue with what would later be called his "techno" music. The song took Kraftwerk-like electronic elements and fused them with club music.

Atkins considered Cybotron's most successful single, "Techno City" (1984), to be a unique, synthesized funk composition. After later hearing Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" (1982), which he considered to be a superior example of the electro funk style he was aiming for, he resolved to continue experimenting, and encouraged Saunderson and May to do the same.

In 1985, Atkins left the group due to artistic differences with bandmate Rik Davis. Davis wanted the group to pursue a musical direction closer to rock, while Atkins wanted to continue in the electro-style vein of "Clear".

Model 500

Atkins began recording as "Model 500" in 1985 and founded the Metroplex label. His friends Eddie Fowlkes, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson all recorded singles on the label.

Atkins' first single as Model 500, "No UFOs," was a hit in Detroit and Chicago. He followed it with a series of landmark techno tracks, earning him the nickname "the godfather of techno." Within a few years, Atkins' work was re-released in Europe.


Over the years, Atkins has also released works under the name Infiniti, Infiniti consists of Juan Atkins and Orlando Voorn. He explained the difference in a 2007 interview: "Model 500 is really a continuation of Cybotron. That's one thing that I've always stayed the course with and I've always wanted to not deviate when I do stuff with Model 500. In the past year it's probably what Cybotron would have done had the partners not split. Its more song-oriented with melodies, not just dance track - that's always been my experiences with Model 500. Now if I do stuff under the name Infinity [sic], that would be the more straightforward form of pure techno, the purest techno what is deemed as techno right now in North America and in Europe."

Musical style

Atkins' earlier works are generally considered electro. Over the years, his sound matured and grew in complexity, and many of his more recent works are heavily layered rhythmic soundscapes. Today, this techno is considered its own genre.


Atkins and other Techno artists have cited the long-running Detroit radio show of Charles "Electrifyin' Mojo" Johnson as a musical influence. Electrifying Mojo, a local legend in radio, played an eclectic mix of music including Parliament, Kraftwerk, and Prince. Atkins and May got their start recording from the radio and remixing for the radio, specifically, Mojo's show; after this apprenticeship, they began producing original music.

The Detroit Sound

"Maybe techno coming out of Detroit had more of the black experience involved, and of course what we've grown up with is soul music and R&B stuff, and then there's funk itself," Atkins told Melbourne magazine Zebra in 1999. "It would be only natural that more of these elements would show up."


  • as Cybotron, with Rick Davis (1981–1985)
  • "Alleys of Your Mind" (1981), single
  • "Cosmic Cars" (1982), single
  • "Clear" (1983), single
  • Enter (1983)
  • "Techno City" (1984), single
  • "R-9" (1985), single
  • Clear (1990), digitally remastered re-release of Clear
  • as Model 500 (1985–present)
  • "No UFO's" (1985), single
  • "Night Drive"" (1985), single (includes "Time Space Transmat")
  • "The Chase" (1989), single
  • "Jazz is the Teacher" (1993), 12-inch joint production with 3MB
  • "Pick Up the Flow" (1993), 12-inch
  • Classics (1993)
  • Sonic Sunset (1994)
  • Deep Space (1995)
  • Mind and Body (1999)
  • OFI / Huesca (2010)
  • Digital Solutions (2015)
  • as Channel One, with Doug Craig (1986-1987)
  • "Technicolor" (1986), single
  • "It's Channel One" (1987), single
  • as Infiniti (1991–1995)
  • Skynet 1998
  • "The Infiniti Collection" 1996
  • as Model 600 (2002)
  • Update 2002, single
  • as Juan Atkins
  • The Berlin Sessions 2005
  • Filmography

    Atkins appears in a documentary film High Tech Soul (2006), which investigated the deep roots of techno music alongside the cultural history of Detroit, its birthplace. High Tech Soul focuses on the creators of the genre — Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson — and looks at the relationships and personal struggles behind the music.


    Juan Atkins Wikipedia

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