Profile - Kenny Dixon Jr


Name Kenny Dixon Jr

Occupation Modern-day torch-bearer for the Detroit techno sound, and indefatigable producer, label boss, alias collector and live DJ.

Where might I have heard of him? If his given name doesn’t ring any bells, his arguably more famous Moodymann moniker is probably the one you’ve heard. Or maybe his work with the groups 3 Chairs, Pitch Black City, or Sherard Ingram’s Urban Tribe (alongside Anthony ‘Shake’ Shakir and Carl Craig)?

Where did he come from? Detroit, Michigan, of course, where he ventured into production in the early 90s while working in several record stores in the city, including one owned by Blake Baxter. He made early inroads with the Detroit techno mafia when Carl Craig released his debut album Silent Introduction in 1997 on the Planet E label, with Dixon subsequently releasing albums and 12ins on Peacefrog and other high-profile techno labels. He also owns his own imprints, producing records under the KDJ and Mahogani umbrellas.

What does he sound like? Straddling the barrier between house and techno, Dixon might also fall into the category labelled ‘deep house’. His music is dark but dynamic, and mixes the crucial elements of the early Detroit sound with a plethora of leftfield samples, from obscure soul and jazz records to Blaxploitation and B-movie lifts. These days he seems to make a point of not doing interviews, but his previously stated intention is to keep the Detroit techno genre close to its roots as a style originated by black musicians - and his modern update of the classic sound accomplishes just that.

Kenny Dixon Jr plays the Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 27 Apr; Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, Sat 28 Apr.