Inner City, 2014

Inner City, 2014: Paris Grey, Ann Saunderson, Kevin Saunderson

When did you first hear people referring to the Reese bass?

When I went to London. I used to hang out with Fabio and Grooverider so I was right there when drum and bass was taking off. They was like, ‘Ah yeah, man. That Reese record. The bass is fat!’ then I went to their night at Heaven [Rage] and there were all these records that sound like Reese bass. Almost every record. And it sounded great, too!

What was the original synth for that?

It was a CZ-5000. A 5 or a 2, but I think it was the 5000. No samples, just straight-up parameters, getting down with the oscillators, and I found some magic.

I went to Fabio and Grooverider's night at Heaven and there were all these records that sound like Reese bass. Almost every record. And it sounded great, too!

Has anything changed about your motivation to make music since you were younger?

It’s a little different because back then my inspiration came from disco. You know, I was from New York, I used to go back every summer and visit friends, I got to experience the Paradise Garage, I went to the Loft.

Disco’s rarely spoken of as a major influence on Detroit techno.

No. And that’s why I’m kind of uniquely different from the other Detroit guys.

Bundling the whole of Detroit together is ridiculous anyway, but the usual story is the Kraftwerk and George Clinton thing.

Right. And that’s the other side of me: once I moved to Detroit, I found out about that through Mojo and Juan. I’m a typical New York kind of producer. Most New York producers back then sounded very New York, very downtempo. When I started creating, that’s when you got both sides. Detroit brought that out of me. That’s why when I DJ I can play disco-influenced tracks, I play house, I play deep house and I can bang it out too.

So now my inspiration comes from the records that I play, not so much what I listen to. When I hear a good record it’s always inspiring. New music. There’s still a lot of great music that I enjoy playing and that’s what inspires me. I’m very much in it just because this is what I love doing. When I look at my vision of the world dancing as one, it’s really happening. I probably thought it would never be possible back then, but it happened, and that’s really amazing. I’ll keep going as long as I’m healthy. As long as I can move around good enough. Then once I stop DJing I’ll just sit in the studio.

Maybe then you’ll get enough time to compete with the kids.

[Laughing] Right!

How about Derrick and Juan, are you still tight?

Yeah yeah. We met a few months back because we thought about working on an album together and doing a tour. I think it was just talk, so I’m not going to say it’s [definitely] gonna happen. It was just, if we want to do it how would we do it? I see them every now and again on the road. Me and Derrick do our tag team. I talk to Juan every now and then. We keep in contact.

You’re not letting Derrick wind you up any more then?

Noooo. The way to keep Derrick from winding you up is just don’t be around him too much. [Laughing] He knows that. We did a tour of Australia together about three years ago so I said, I know how to handle this. I’m not going to go to dinner with Derrick, I’m not going to go to every lunch. I’m gonna space my time out, make sure we enjoy the whole tour together. It works. When I get in the hotel I cut my phone off, he can’t reach me.

What’s the next plan for you? Will there be a new Inner City album?

Yeah. I’m still working with Paris, she still sounds amazing. We’ve worked on six or seven songs towards the album.

My inspiration came from disco... I’m a typical New York kind of producer.

Just Paris on vocals?

And Ann. She’s done some vocals and she always did some co-writing with Paris.

And a tour?

If there’s an album there’ll be a tour. We’ve got a one-off show in London in September. So I’m doing that, I’m working on a Kevin Saunderson EP, which is more E-Dancer style, I’m working with both my boys on a few tracks…

You seem very happy with life.

Yeah. I’m healthy, that’s the first thing. I’ve been doing this for years and it’s a dream when you can do something you love. Not everybody can do what they love. It’s not a bad life at all.


Kevin and Inner City play Ceremony Festival, Finsbury Park on September 13th. Find him on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.

Author Greg Scarth
1st August, 2014


  • Top bloke!

  • Some great insights. Thx

  • Definitely the nicest and most grounded of all the Detroit guys. Class act all the way around. So glad he’s continued with the Inner City project.

  • I’d go to Naples just for the pizza too. I think I’ll be playing his E-Dancer stuff until the day I die.

  • Never heard of this guy before, glad I do know him now!

  • Yea great interview! Love this mag.


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