Detroit is a city of struggle.
Historically, economically, and artistically, Detroit has had to fight for survival. And it’s had to fight even harder for recognition. The spirit of that fight is epitomized by GOD SAID GIVE ‘EM DRUM MACHINES, a documentary which traces the birth of techno music to its unlikely origins in the D.
Detroit’s African-American cultural roots cultivated musical movements like jazz, Motown, and disco. By the late ‘70s, DJs like Ken Collier were infusing underground clubs and public airwaves with radically danceable sounds, and in the early ‘80s groundbreaking technology like the infamous Roland TR-808 was falling into the hands of a new generation. The merging of these artistic and technological forces would bring about one of the most significant musical breakthroughs of the modern era.
GOD SAID GIVE ‘EM DRUM MACHINES tells the tale of the young visionaries who made that breakthrough happen. Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Blake Baxter, Eddie Fowlkes, and Santonio Echols were the vanguard of a new musical style they dubbed “techno,” which would soon become the most celebrated and profitable genre in the world.
And yet their names are largely unknown to most fans of that very genre.
Despite the best efforts of musical historians and journalists, the story of how a handful of black kids from Detroit invented techno has never fully been told. It’s a story of damaged friendships, mismanaged success, and broken dreams. But it’s also a story of inspiration. While the originators of techno may not enjoy the fame and fortune of those who cruised to success in their wake, they have seen their music touch lives around the globe. And they find comfort in knowing their creation will live on for generations to come.
Like Detroit itself, the artists who created techno struggle for survival and recognition. GOD SAID GIVE ‘EM DRUM MACHINES documents their fight, and hopes to help them achieve both.
Motor City native Kristian Hill is celebrated and respected as one of Detroit’s most talented creative professionals. Excelling as a filmmaker, videographer and rising director with more than 20 years of experience in the business, Kristian has long cast his own distinct glow in the Film, Video & Entertainment industries.
Straight out of the controversial, yet dynamic Motor City, Jennifer Washington was inspired as a child by her musical family. Today, Washington’s most pressing mission is to help uplift her hometown’s image in the media. As a film producer, she is exploring the expanse of Techno music and documenting its influence all over the world.
David is an award-winning multimedia producer. He is currently Dir Of Instructional Design for Yellowbrick where his team has created innovative video/VR education projects pairing brands like Complex Media, Billboard, and TeenVogue with institutions like FIT, NYU, and Columbia. He has led production on thousands of award-winning educational animations for AMAZE.org and BrainPOP.com. He is also co-creator of DIYdoc, an iOS App that enables anyone to crowdsource the creation of short films. David specializes in creating interactive content that makes learning fun.
A native Detroiter, Chris has over two decades of strategic planning, on the ground community organizing and social activism experience across issues of women’s rights, economic justice and LGBT civil rights. She has consulted for various political campaigns and organizations, and served as Field Director for both MassEquality and Equality California.
Far from her home in Queens, NY, Mary O'Byrne's finishing her final year at the University of Michigan studying Film, Television, and Media. She's bridged her passion for film and music through working on GSGEDM, interning at Jam in the Van, and by photographing and making videos for Empty Mug Records and the Michigan Electronic Music Collective.