Five questions for Detroit Underground

Sohail Azad (aka Kero and Detroit Underground mastermind) is at the forefront of entrepreneurial audio / visual design. Having cultivated precision experiments in electronics for over a decade with notable acts across the globe, Detroit Underground (and its affiliated subsidiaries including audio design, video, radio and just about any other creative outlet) remains at the tip of next-level exploration. Igloo Magazine collated five questions to describe the who, what, where, when and why of Detroit Underground’s magnetic oeuvre. With their tagline, “This spatial environment brings together friendly integration,” DeTund is primed to capture global ears itching for sliced and diced electrical perfection.

Detroit Underground

Igloo Magazine :: When did Detroit Underground start up and what was your inspiration?

Sohail Azad / Detroit Underground :: Detund was set up in November 28, 1999 after making a website dedicated to Detroit graffiti, local raves and cracked software. The original website can be found here.

Igloo :: Who were some of your initial artist relations and did your location help or hinder progress?

SA :: The initial artists were Kero, Derek Michael, Richard Devine, Modeselektor and Direktjive (R.I.P.). Our first record was released after Derek and I were living in Berlin for a couple of years. There we met with several distributors and artists. These contacts and some secret informatics helped us start the label.

Igloo :: What were some of the challenges (if any) starting up a label? …and how did you envision the label to stand apart?

SA :: The music we try to release is first and foremost experimental. This means our artists take risks and we support them. So some of our earlier releases from 10 years ago are being bought by DJ’s today thinking that they are brand new releases because of the futuristic sound on the vinyls. Obviously we want as many people to enjoy our music but essentially we don’t care about sales, what we care about is quality and hi-fidelity. We are also deeply committed to innovative visual design and packaging.

We believe music brings people together, is the route to happiness and experimental art is truly the way forward.

Igloo :: What is your motivation in keeping the label moving forward into the next decade?

SA :: The need for new art and especially music is stronger than ever, given the state of the world. Consider perpetual war and homeland security, or the debt situation in the US. Or waste from nuclear energy. Or the millions, literally, now behind bars. Our motivation at DU is to keep moving forward, thanks to the great demos and album art from our crew and friends, friendships made from years of friendly integration. We believe music brings people together, is the route to happiness and experimental art is truly the way forward.

Igloo :: Tell us more about how you (and your staff?) take the label’s “sound” to the listeners and fans. Distribution, campaigns, live shows, word of mouth etc.

SA :: We rely on word of mouth, linking this to web-based promotion. Like many other electronic labels we got caught up in a debacle in the 2000’s where our records were sold to stores worldwide but the money was kept by our Frankfurt distributor. But we overcame that by diversifying distribution channels, building our site www.detund.com. This is the best way to ensure our “sound” gets out to listeners and fans.

Visit Detroit Underground at www.detroitunderground.net.

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