Remembering Mike Huckaby

mike huckaby in front of Tresor

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.

Mike mentoring children

 

Mike mentoring children at a music school in Berlin

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. 

mike huckaby in front of Tresor
In front of the original Tresor in 1997

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.

Nightlife and Covid 19

Dear Artists, Venues, Promoters, and Supporters
of the Creative Economy:

We recognize that these are hectic times. But even in the most hectic of times, our creative community has risen to the opportunity to support and protect eachother.

Now is the time to support your local artists, venues, and production companies in CREATIVE ways while practicing the crucial exercise of social distancing.

We are urging you all to cancel your events and social plans, stay out of public scenarios if possible, be responsible with heightened sanitation methods, and most importantly, act in the best interest of your neighbors.

While some individuals possess a strong immune system, studies have proven that even the strongest immune systems can act as carriers. It is NOT worth potentially harming the most vulnerable citizens of our community.

The art will still be hanging, the music will still be playing. And after this is better contained we will be able to look back and truly celebrate how resilient we were!

So please, explore creative ways to engage with your audiences and each other in the coming weeks. Let’s demonstrate how the creative community can responsibly and proactively stand together in the face of uncertainty!

Well wishes and best regards,
Detroit-Berlin Connection

#GivingTuesday

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Join the global giving movement by making a donation to the Detroit-Berlin Connection for Giving Tuesday! Your tax-deductible donation will be used to help us send an up-and-coming Detroit artist to Berlin for a 6-week creative residency abroad. This life-changing opportunity will help expand their mind while enhancing their craft and their professional network. Change a life and donate here. #GivingTuesday #SupportDetroitArtists #DetroitBerlin