A founding father of techno, a DJ pioneer, a quick-mix master, a musical ambassador and a label owner— Eddie’s impact on dance music is eternally entrenched in the history books.
Growing up listening to Motown and Soul in Detroit, Eddie Fowlkes was born with the groove embedded in his DNA. The summer before entering high school, he attended a party at Park Avenue with his older sister and saw Darryl Shannon mixing records. It was a Sharevari party, and what Eddie saw would change his life forever. “I was fascinated by the mixing aspect of DJing and tried to figure out how he [Shannon] was creating the music,” recalls Fowlkes. He had caught the DJ bug.
Eddie received a mixer for Christmas in 1978, a pivotal moment in his life that not only led him to actualize his dream of becoming a DJ but also allowed him to understand the power that music could have on people. That first piece of music equipment eventually led him through the doors of music production, inspiring him to make his first record, the legendary hit “Goodbye Kiss,” released on Metroplex Records in 1986. This was one of the very first techno songs ever produced and is still considered a classic dance anthem today. Beginning a domino effect with “Goodbye Kiss,” Fowlkes led the way for Detroit upcomers Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May (roommate at the time), changing the landscape of techno forever.
Earning the nickname “Flashin Fowlkes” for his quick mixes, Eddie could be seen performing with three turntables, a mixer, wah-wah pedal and the 808 & 909 drum machines—a new way of DJing that was unique to him and the Deep Space crew he was part of in Detroit in the early days of the scene. With his revolutionary style of DJing, Fowlkes’ hybridized performances inspired DJs in Chicago, NYC and eventually overseas to push the boundaries of what a disc jockey could be. With a firm grasp on the DJing aspect of his profession, Eddie turned his focus to music production in 1986.
Early in his career he made a trip to Berlin in 1990 that culminated in a record deal with Tresor. The result was a conceptualization by Fowlkes entitled, “3MB” (3 motherfuckers in Berlin), a collaborative effort with Mortiz Von Oswald and Thomas Fehlmann (of The Orb) that led to the LP, “The Birth of Technosoul.” In 1993 he began City Boy Records, which has 23 releases to date—all considered underground classics. In the late 90s, Fowlkes took a break from music production to start a family. More recently, Eddie began Detroit Wax in 2004 as a subsidiary of City Boy. Featuring a more mature sound, Detroit Wax embraces the funkier side of techno, featuring thumping percussion and funky basslines. In addition to running his two imprints, Eddie has releases on both major record labels and various independents, such as: Sony, BMG, Warner Brothers, KMS, Desolat, Azuli, and most recently, Defected. He has remixed and produced countless music stars throughout his career, including but not limited to: The Pet Shop Boys, Moby, Martha Wash, and popular European artists. His latest edits of for System of Survival, Robert Dietz and Man Without a Clue demonstrate that Eddie is still bringing the heat and his sound is fresher than ever.
For nearly three decades, Eddie Fowlkes has been championing dance music, even pioneering a new brand of techno referred to as “technosoul” and reaching the top of Billboard dance/club charts with his single “Let us Pray.”
Touring for over 25 years, Fowlkes has rocked dancefloors in a majority of Europe, Eastern Asia, North America and Australia. He has played countless festivals and all of the biggest clubs such as Ministry of Sound, Panorama Bar, Fabric, DC 10 and more. As an international ambassador of techno, Eddie has been recognized for his historic contributions by various organizations in the Detroit. Last year, Eddie was honored by the Detroit Historical Museum’s exhibit, “Techno: Detroit’s Gift to the World,” documenting his 30+ years of experience in the music industry and inducted into the Detroit Legends Plaza where his handprints are forever set in cement. More recently, Eddie was honored at the Ford Freedom Awards alongside Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May for being pioneers of techno music.
With a catalog of songs reaching nearly 30 years, Eddie’s longevity is further proof of his profound impact on the techno scene, a now million-dollar enterprise. The legend has a renewed focused on spreading the technosoul sound far and wide, and is putting together tours in Europe and North America for Fall 2015.