We mourn the loss of Mike Huckaby, a DJ, producer, remixer, mentor, influencer and global ambassador par excellence of Detroit electronic dance music. He was in recovery from a prior illness when he died Friday April 24 from complications from the coronavirus.
Known by his many friends and fans simply as ‘Huck,’ Mike represented the best of Detroit creative attitude, curiosity, inspiration and expression; a man of few words, he let his and other people’s music he performed in his sets do the talking.
He was fluent in house, which was the foundation of his Deep Transportation label; and in even deeper house and dub techno, which was more likely to land on his sub label, SYNTH.
In 2005, he collaborated with Deepchord’s Rod Modell on the enduring classic ‘Electromagnetic Dowsing,’ before producing a string of limited edition white labels and CDrs called ‘My Life With the Wave.’ The last of that series was released in 2017.
Huckaby was a teacher, and he led instructional workshops around the world for Ableton and Native Instruments. He was a manager and buyer at Record Time, where the influence of his keen ear made the store’s ‘dance room’ – a pioneering concept in itself in the early- to mid-1990s – a regular and repeated visit by local and international DJs.
He was a tireless performer. Resident Advisor reported Huckaby played over 40 gigs in eight countries in 2019. He played Detroit’s Movement and DEMF festivals several times and was scheduled to appear again at Movement in 2020.
He was also, as Resident Advisor pointed out, a ‘crucial link between Detroit and Berlin,’ first playing Berlin’s famed Tresor club in 1997.
For the Tresor label in celebration of its 20th anniversary in 2011 Huckaby delivered the three-track ‘Tresor EP,’ an acknowledgement of the powerful bond at the heart of the connection between Detroit and Berlin. The track was also part of a mix released by Tresor as a double CD.
Huckaby was a presenter and panelist at the first Detroit-Berlin Connection conference in Detroit in 2014. He remained a friend, a guiding light, simply by being true to himself and to the music he loved.
From Berlin, his old friend Dimitri Hegemann, founder of Tresor and honorary chairman of the Detroit-Berlin Connection, wrote: ‘Mike was always a quiet and humble person. My impression was that he was an honest artist, never crazy, more kind and open for cooperation, Never a mean face when something went wrong.’
Mike Huckaby, a gentleman to the end, was 54.
Honest. Open. Quiet. Humble. All true words spoken by many of us who knew this man. May he rest in peace, and power, and never be forgotten.