Jeff Mills


there are no accidents
Thank for linking to my Wire interview, hope it's an interesting read.

good job man. it is indeed an intereting read.

to someone at the beginning of the thread: so what are some interviews where he sounds like a nutter? because in this one he is not only quite articulate, but manages to articulate the sense of reaching for the unknown, capture the sense of transcendence which is in his music, in pretty concrete and particular terms:

I think that I’m beginning to realise that the physical aspect of this music is becoming, not a liability, but an obstacle... my goal is to put the music in more of a journey, it really takes the listeners mind on a journey. And I realised that one way to be able to achieve that is basically to make it so interesting and unique that it’s not something that I’m saying, it’s something that’s between the person that’s making it and the person that’s listening to it. It’s like the sun in the sky, it has nothing to do with me or you, but it’s just there. And it’s very important, but it’s doing something while we’re doing something else. It’s a third aspect to the way music has always been.

I’m creating the third person. I’m making the music, and as a DJ a lot of times I’m playing the music for the third person or the third thing. Not so much for the crowd, and the crowd can be thousands of people. And I feel it’s the only way that electronic music is going to move beyond what we’ve already heard before. And when I’m in the studio I’m imagining there's something else that’s going to be touched by this music. It has nothing to do with dancing, it has nothing to do with 88 keys, it has nothing to do with what is right or wrong. Basically I’m trying to communicate with something else. It’s all imaginary, but what it does it drags my mind into basically the unknown. Because then things like scales and key and semi-tones… it’s kind of hard to label what I’m trying to achieve. And so I just kind of chuck all those things away. And then I’m kind of using this as like a conceptual tool.

And somehow I figure by doing this we all might hear something unique, something unusual, and that’s how I think electronic music progress, by exposing people to things that they’ve never heard before. ... So it has nothing to do with equipment, it has nothing to do with the type of club, it has nothing to do with any of that. And that’s how I’m producing. I’m trying to communicate with something, a third entity.

OK so he's not a rhetorician or theorist. but this third consciousness becomes pretty convincing the way he describes it. a real part of the creative process, in the studio and on stage, this imaginary entity for whom he plays...
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there are no accidents
I have some early Wizard mixes I'll try and find, they are pretty amazing, the cuts and blending had me rewinding to get to grips with how it was done, proper how the fuck moments.

i diddy on the hollerboard provided this link to Wizard mixes. checking now... awesome.

as for the "how the fuck moments":

... towards the end of the 80s the shows were getting so complex, that it would take literally ten hours to make a 45 minutes. ...

When I first started I did everything by hand. So the station would give me Tina Marie, for instance, and they would say ‘we want you to make a mastermix of this track’. So I would take two copies, and mix it and reorganise the track by hand, within like five minutes. And so I would have to do all that without making a mistake, it had to be perfect, because I didn’t know how to edit tape at the time. So I was doing these mastermixes by hand. And then they bought me an Atari tape machine, and that’s where I learned how to edit. And I began to do the mastermixes by cutting the tape. And then I was combining the two together, and I brought in a multitrack machine, and I was layering things, and editing it…. I had a lot of competition at that time, so you had to really be prepared. It was another station, and theirs was the Electrifying Mojo. That was my direct competition, we were on at the same time, I was hired to basically battle this guy, and I grew up listening to him. The whole city would tune in to him to listen. I was young, and it was my job to dethrone this guy, so I needed any and everything I could use to do it.

It got to the points where I needed to have music which Mojo did not have, or I needed to have versions that were not available. So I began to bring instruments into the radio station. And I was making drum patterns on a drum machine and mixing them into the music. To give the impression that those were records, because no-one would do that at the time. I would have rappers to come in, to rap over those tracks, to give the impression that these were records. One guy was Doug Craig, who did Technicolour with Juan Atkins. We were best friends. So he would come in and we totally redid that track. So that’s how I got into really understanding how a sequencer worked, how a drum machine works.

And all while this was going on in the mid-80s, Chicago was really happening, so Farley Jackmaster Funk, JM Silk, they were using drum machines regularly in their DJ sets. And also New York was really happening at the time, the radio stations with Tony Humphries. And I would listen to these things to get ideas. As you can imagine it was a very exciting time radio wise.


i diddy on the hollerboard provided this link to Wizard mixes. checking now... awesome.

as for the "how the fuck moments":

fuck yeah the latin rascals megamixes and all those new york radio mixes and edits from shep pettibone, humphries, timmy regisford, fucking amazing, alot of them using reel to reel and drum machines to do the mixes with.

Bang Diddley

Well-known member
The Sleeper Awakes interview. . .

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Well-known member
whenever i saw mills live (circa 1994) the music was always waaaaay too punishing - like the mixing was more important than the actual music - jut so compressed and airless. suffocating, but not in a good way.

i'm a fan of his but......

Bang Diddley

Well-known member
Only ever seen him DJ one. Was too hard and loopy for me.

But as a producer One Man Spaceship was brilliant and it seems like he is suggesting this is where his productions are heading.


village elder.

nah he just sounds quite refined and effeminate. never really heard a dance music producer talk like that before. but then i don't really know anything about him.

what's the best jeff mills mix to start with??

the more jawdropping mixing the better..

Bang Diddley

Well-known member
Live at the Liquid Rooms often gets credit for being closest to his live experience but that's from 98ish.

edit : routes beat me to it


Well-known member
He played a gig here not too long ago in LA at a rooftop party he played a classic detroit set, it was an awesome party. But you have to see him play, he's a literally a mixing machine (at one point he had 3 decks, a cdj and 909 firing simultaneously in perfect mills like fashion). Alien like hands and fingertips flying like a retarded octapus all night, it made me dizzy to watch. I only heard a maximum of 2 minutes of each track then abruptly in came some next storming stomper.

Ever the entertainer.


Well-known member
I agree with what the guy said:

It is kind of hard to describe what happened for the next few hours. It was hypnotic, insanely intense, pummeling, yet at times with the most wonderfully subtle, even light, touches – especially how he incorporated the 909 - that it generated a somewhat psychedelic and wholly entrancing experience. It felt like my feet were literally glued to the floor and any sense of time or space just seemed to disappear; it was anything but your average techno performance.

Local Authority

bitch city
Was at that Corsica show.

Great set, amazing atmosphere. Asked him about the aliens and he seemed quite offended lol. Last time I speak to a DJ on pills.

He's playing London again later on in the year but I can't say much on it. Look out for August.


Wild Horses
Yeah it was a pretty good night on Saturday at Cable - he only played for 4 1/2 hours :p

I thought James Ruskin was pretty good beforehand too.