Though the techno scene boasts an impressive list of talented artists who are each making names for themselves in their own way, few of these names are as iconic as that of Jeff Mills. Hailing from the birthplace of the genre, Detroit, Mills practically has techno in his blood, rising to recognition around the same time as the Belleville Three, Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and Kevin Saunderson, who are commonly credited with the invention of the genre.
Early on in his career, Mills, spun under the moniker The Wizard, growing in popularity through frequent gigs at local venues such as the Lady and Cheeks, as well as The Nectarine Ballroom in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Under The Wizard, Mills also held popular slots on several local radio stations, which also exposed listeners to his unique sounds and built him a devoted fanbase.
After beginning to produce in the 80s, Mills became a founding member of the group Underground Resistance, alongside “Mad” Mike Banks and Robert Hood. Together, the group became synonymous with their gritty, pared-down take on the genre, and enjoyed a great deal of success with their unique sonic voice. They also were known for their overt political stances.
In 1992, Mills made the decision to explore the possibilities of a solo career. Armed with a residency at Limelight and newly signed to the Berlin-based label, Tresor, the artist set off to make it on his own in New York City.
Today, Mills is still regularly performing, offering today’s audiences a taste of the origins of techno. In recent years, he’s made appearances at festivals such as Amsterdam’s Loveland Festival, Awakenings, and Crssd. He’s also at the helm of his own highly influential label, Axis Records, which has given voice to many techno names of today, in addition to being the home to Mill’s own releases.