4 Acts you should see at Movement this year

he Saunderson Brothers are next generation Detroit techno.

As the sons of Kevin Saunderson, one-third of the techno-originating Belleville Three (which also includes Juan Atkins and Derrick May), the duo extends a heritage that found its footing in dusty Detroit warehouses and has since grown into a worldwide techno culture; take into account the rise of Movement Electronic Music Festival, which began as a family-and-friend-oriented event that now draws more than 100,000 fans to Hart Plaza each year.

Performing on the final day of the fest, The Saunderson Brothers-Dantiez, 23, and DaMarii, 26-are playing together for the second year in a row. “I still get butterflies each time,” says Dantiez, who has three years total under his belt, including one solo performance. “It’s really special being in Detroit and playing this festival where it all started.”

Growing up, the brothers recall playing near the fountain at Hart Plaza while it was still a potential venue for the inauguration of the festival, which celebrates its 16th year this Memorial Day Weekend and its 10th year under the Paxahau handle. As children, they didn’t understand the music’s reach-the drum beats up in their father’s studio seemed natural. “It took us a while to catch on,” DaMarii says, “but when we did, we understood the magnitude of how big this (techno) thing was… and how big it was getting.”

“It’s techno, Detroit techno,” their father would say. But as athletes, neither brother had plans to get into music-making-Dantiez played basketball, while DaMarii played baseball (he was even drafted and played professionally for several years). “I didn’t envision this at all,” says DaMarii of his music career, which began at age 22. “It just happened to be something that I fell in love with.”

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Dantiez, on the other hand, took piano lessons as a child-but never finished them. “We just didn’t pick up on the music thing, especially techno, because it wasn’t popular with our generation (back then),” says Dantiez, who got into DJing and production at 18. “I think it’s something you have to find at your own pace.”

Although their knack for the art of Detroit techno seems ingrained, most of it is self-learned and self-crafted. “I think (our father’s legacy) has shaped our ideas, but we try to keep it original with our own ideas,” says DaMarii. But they’re still influenced by the classics. “You have to know what was hot before to know what’s coming next,” adds Dantiez. They might play together, but the two brothers have opposing sounds. While DaMarii’s style dips into dark and deep tech, Dantiez leans toward a funkier edge. “I think (our sounds) come together when we play together because you get to hear both of our vibes,” says DaMarii. “It’s a little more melodic.”

Both have solo albums in the works, yet together as The Saunderson Brothers, they’re putting forth their first joint effort, set for release on Marc Kinchen’s label Area 10. To them, the future of Detroit techno is bright-the scene is on the rise, according to Dantiez.

“You gotta keep moving forward no matter what,” says DaMarii. “It’s discouraging at times, but you gotta keep it moving, as my dad likes to say.”

Ones to Watch

ZelooperZ

Representing the hip-hop-oriented side of electronic music is ZelooperZ, part of rapper Danny Brown’s Bruiser Brigade. Through hard-hitting dark beats layered with rowdy vocals, the man behind ZelooperZ-22-year-old Walter Williams-is often regarded as one of hip-hop’s most promising young acts, frequently compared to rapper ODB. With his first Movement performance in line, Williams exemplifies the growth in hip-hop-fused electronic music, which has become a bigger staple in Movement’s bookings as of recent-also performing this year are RZA (the Wu-Tang Clan’s main producer) with live instrumentalist Stone Mecca and booty music queen Big Freedia. Last year, Snoop Dogg and People Under the Stairs were on Movement’s roster.

DJ Sliink

In a similar vein to Williams is DJ Sliink, 25-year-old Stacey White. Incorporating a unique blend of trap, hip-hop and dancehall with aggressive up-tempo rhythms smoothed out by pop and R&B samples, White’s music falls neatly in the middle of mainstream and underground. With releases on Fool’s Gold, Mad Decent and Ultra-all big-name bass-oriented labels-this New Jersey-born artist is well into the process of crafting his own hybrid mix of dance music.

Kyle Hall

Meanwhile, on the house side of the spectrum, Detroit native Kyle Hall continues the lineage of the Motor City’s electronic music landscape, just like the Saundersons. The 24-year-old learned how to spin records under the guidance of DJ Raybone Jones at the young age of 11, getting his first break as a producer five years later at 16. With his debut release on deep house master Omar-S’s imprint FXHE, Hall now runs his own label Wild Oats, which he launched in 2008. Together, these artists bring a fresh perspective to a festival that prides itself on one thing: preserving, celebrating and carrying on the ever-evolving culture of electronic music. 

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