Thursday, June 9, 2011

Detroit Techno: Archer Record Pressing

A big part of the Detroit Techno story is the independent spirit that permeates the music. From Juan Atkins’ Metroplex Records to Mike Banks and the Submerge team to Carl Craig’s Planet E record label, techno musicians have often purposely stayed away from the major labels, running big international distributions out of their Detroit studios. Part of was lack of interest from the American music industry in what they were doing, but another part of it was wanting to stay in control, to not repeat the story which Black innovators get cheated out of their own musical creations.

Afropop producers Marlon Bishop
and Wills Glasspiegel in front of Archer Record Pressing
Archer Record Pressing, the plant where all the classic techno records were pressed, is part of the music’s indie history. It’s run by Mike Archer, the grandson of the original founder who started the place in 1965. Since the 80s, techno was a big part of their business. They pressed the old Metroplex and Transmat records, basically everything that came out of Detroit, and they continue to press techno records today. In fact, producers in London or Berlin send masters to Archer to be printed just so they can say that their records were pressed in Detroit on the same presses as Atkins and May.

Mike Archer at his pressing plant

According to Mike Archer, there are only 14 record plants still operating in the U.S., and many of them are small businesses with a handful of presses, like Archer.

When we called and asked Mike for an interview, he said no. So we decided to try out luck and show up.

Here’s audio from our tour of the plant:

Afropop Visits Archer Pressing in Detroit by Marlonious Thunk
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