Techno Interview – 10 Questions 2 – SANTONIO ECHOLS
Techno Interview – 10 Questions 2 – SANTONIO ECHOLS
Santonio is a member of the first generation of Techno Producers to emerge from Detroit, MI, in the late 1980s. His discography spans 1987 to date and he is currently in production on the Liz Torres “Mind Games – Remix” on Third Ear Recordings. Echols is well known for his role in the famed duo “Reese & Santonio,” who are responsible for timeless underground classics spanning 1987-89, “The Sound/ How To Play Our Music, Bounce Your Body to the Box, Truth of Self Evidence and the internationally renowned “Rock to the Beat” which was distributed in 1988 on the UK label “ffrr” (Full Frequency Range Recordings.)
After completing production in England with ffrr, Echols had the confidence to continue his passion for producing techno and house music. He developed a relationship with Paragon Productions and James Pennington aka Suburban Knight and the compilation, “There’s No Way Out” featuring the track “It’s Not Over,” was released. Additionally, in 1989, Santonio remixed “Take me away” by Bridgette Grace, written by Jeff Mills and T.Srock for Paragon Productions. Santonio Echols has toured in Europe including gigs at Tresor Club in Berlin and Club Slam in Cologne.
He started DJ’ing when he was 19 years old with his brother Duane Evans in the old school traditions of the West Side of Detroit and never stopped being committed to going to the next level. 2007 saw the release of “Extraction of Identity” on Cyren America Records. During the last two years Santonio has worked Nikolaos Moiré Patterns, Clemens Neufeld, Oliver Lieb, Combinator, Jonas Asp, Duane Evans, Orlando Voorn, MoBlack, Dj Deep, Greg Stafford, Claude Young, Blake Baxter, Eddie Fowlkes, Raquel Roberts, Gospel singer QuWonna Toney , Mike Anderson (Italy), Robert Doubledee Mills. Santonio has a list too long to name of people he thanks keeping him committed to the dream and reminding him to never give up, however he would be remiss to not recognize the loving support of his wife and children, as well as friends in music and life including Blake Baxter, Eddie Fowlkes and his brother Duane Evans.
01. Can you tell us more about your music history, do you have formal training, maybe something many people don’t know about you?
Well… I noticed a lot of my new followers/fans do not know I was a part of the famed group named Reese & Santonio. The audience does not associate Santonio Echols as the producer/artist with Reese & Santonio group. Even though I do not have formal training, I always had an ear for music. My oldest son Santonio Jr. had some musical training and plays four different instruments. I wrote the baseline to 2 ½ steps a track on the B side of Chez Damier’s hit record “Can u feel it” on KMS (035) Records and was never credited. I have a twin brother and my full name is Santonio Manuel Echols.
02. How did you get into the techno scene and what are your first memories of techno music?
I got into the scene by being a huge fan of music scene in Detroit in my teen years. I watched and learned from DJs like Eddie Fowlkes, Al Esters, Jeff Mills, Ken Collier, Kevin Dysard, Darryl Shannon, Duane Bradley, Steve Dunbar, etc…. I wanted to become DJ first, so I remember buying a mixer, turntable and some bull frogs speakers. In my late teen I followed Direct Drive and looking forward to see where Eddie Fowlkes and Al Esters were playing. I listened to Jeff Mills on the radio and went to see him at the club named Cheeks while he played. I entered the scene by being introduced to Kevin Reese by my twin brother. My memories are listening to the electrifying mojo on WGPR radio station, he played futuristic tracks by Juan Atkins and Kraftwerk, Prince and B-52’s.
03. Where do you see the techno scene in 10 years? And how do you see yourself in 10 years within the scene?
10 years hmmm…the techno music getting creative with world music sound and different influence with new talented artists. The techno music scene is now a million dollar business and techno music will continue to evolve from Detroit techno and from the Chicago house music scene. Today we have several different genres of music from drum and bass to tech house to electro…. I see myself staying relevant and creating new sounds, new genre’s and film scores, producing new artists and producing a documentary that emphases on how the true techno scene began and finally giving credibility to those who were the originators.
04. Where do you most enjoying playing? Crowdy festival places or more intimate clubs?
My first time out in my career was in Berlin around 1995 with Tresor Records when I recorded my first Album. Playing at The Tresor club was very intimate and personal for me I loved the experience and the exposure but, Playing at Dubmission with Ellen Allien was the ultimate. I enjoyed both rather it is for two people or two thousand people. As long as I’m spinning records for those who love my music it doesn’t matter where I play.
05. Do you prefer to play live/dj or is it all about the music production?
At this moment it is all about my music production I enjoy being creative by working with different artist and vocalist, producing music for my label “D” records and developing new artists. Playing live/DJing is my first love and that is how I started my journey, but searching for booking agencies is quite difficult in this saturated business. However, if the right opportunity comes along I would be playing every weekend internationally.
06. Tell us your most proud moment in your career to date?
Being an original member of a Detroit’s Gift to the World (which is techno), that included Juan Atkins, Eddie Fowlkes, Blake Baxter, James Pennington, D May, and K Saunderson. The most I am proud of is the recordings of my classic tracks “forcefield” and “structure” on the KMS / London Records. My current proud moment is working with my sons on producing our first album.
07. What music/genres do you listen to when you’re at home?
I listen to my fiancé sing Indian Classical songs. I also enjoy listening to gospel music, classic house and techno, hiphop/R&B, Motown classics.
08. What parties and festivals should we not miss this year (2018)?
It depends on the individual but, I would say the Charivari Festival in Detroit, Movement Festival, ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) in Amsterdam. Chosen Few DJs Chicago.
09. Do you have any does or don’ts regarding tips to upcoming talents?
Control your music and own your publishing. Being a success does not happen overnight you have to be willing and dedicated and put in the hard work so stay focus and follow your heart and dreams. Don’t do any deals without a written contract this is a cut throat business and you should not trust just anyone.
10. Can you tell us more about your plans for the coming 12 Months? Do you have any new productions/collaborations projects?
I have remixes being release on Rever label featuring Mike Anderson, another remix release on Third Ear recording by Liz Torres “Mindgames”. Other label pending release: EP on Shift Imprint. The collaboration with Eddie Fowlkes on his Detroit Wax label is in the works. I am also working on an album with my sons Santonio Jr. and Manuel Echols expecting to be released last 2019 or first quarter of 2020, this album will feature Lot 6, Mike Anderson, (One+1), Nathan Surreal and Camilo Gil.
To connect with Santonio Echols on social media visit here:
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