#rpDetroit Co-Curator Dimitri Hegemann on Detroit's Music Scene and Potential
As co-curator for the track "Arts & Culture" at #rpDetroit, Dimitri Hegemann is leading the music programme and jointly responsible for the selection of submissions for the Call for Participation. In our interview, he discusses his enduring connection to Detroit, the current challenges of the local music scene, and the city's potential.
How is your relationship to Detroit?
I have been working with artists from Detroit ever since the fall of the Wall. In 1987, I founded a small independent record label in Berlin, which also worked with various musicians from Michigan. In 1988, for example, we released the album "DEEP INTO THE CUT" by the group Final Cut. We had collaborated with Jeff Mills, who is world-famous for creating the legendary Detroit Sound. Those were my first contracts with the creative and music scene in Detroit.
How would you describe the current music scene in Detroit?
There is always so much happening in Detroit. It truly is a mecca for music in the U.S. – it's where all styles of music, from BeBop to Hip Hop (Eminem) to Motown (Stevie Wonder, The Temptations) and Detroit Techno meet. Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, MC 5, White Stripes, Aretha Franklin, and many more have left their mark on Detroit's music scene.
But what Detroit still lacks, in my opinion, is a thriving club culture. There aren't enough stages for the many musicians to perform. Despite the city having so many empty spaces to use! Unfortunately, Detroit has a curfew. Last call is at 1:30 am and by 2 am you're on the street outside the club.
What potential do you see in Detroit?
There's so much space! Over the years, Detroit has shrunk and there’s not enough people. Everyone should stop by sometime – it might be the city for you. Detroit has room for another 500,000 inhabitants. So move there. MOVE TO DETROIT!
I also think there’s huge potential for Detroit in the marketing of its music. Which means the curfew should be lifted. Not only would it allow for more clubs, but it would also create jobs. I have been working with the initiative Detroit-Berlin Connection (DBC) for several years to have the curfew lifted and we've made a lot of progress. Starting in November the curfew will be set for 4 am – a great success!
What is special about the Berlin-Detroit connection?
That it’s everlasting. Which is a wonderful thing to experience in the fast-pace of “show business”.
What are your hopes for #rpDetroit?
re:publica bringing the Sequencer Tour to Detroit in September is sensational. Of course, the "digital society" is growing, even in this injured city which has been through so much. Young Detroit is thrilled about re:publica's visit. And it will certainly also strengthen the relationships between creatives from Berlin and Detroit!
The Call for Participation is open until August 1!