Blog: Dan Sicko

Detroit is proudly pegged on world maps as the motherland of techno. Lest we forget, author and Organic, Inc. Creative Director Dan Sicko has released a new edition of his book, Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk. This week Dan writes about sound waves and why he kept his feet planted in the Motor City.

Post 1: A Moment of Doubt

I wanted to leave Detroit.

It hurts to admit it, but for a period at the end of 2008, it's all I could think about.  I'm sure you'll remember that wonderful period when the economy took a nosedive and the future of Ford, GM, and Chrysler were all in question. Seem like forever ago? Does the phrase "Let Detroit Fail" refresh your memory?

It wasn't fear that motivated me. My usually annoying, logical brain somehow skipped over the obvious problem: the possible collapse of the American auto industry (and by extension, my day job). Instead, what got me was shock. The ignorance and bile directed at my hometown was overwhelming, frustrating, and depressing. This wasn't just your random Facebook status, but "considered" opinion in editorial pages and on the floor of the Senate. It still rattles me when I think about it. Along with Cleveland, we've been the butt of jokes for decades, but I didn't realize how deep-seated they really were. Even if I had wanted to leave, I was going to drag this perception of Detroit and a portfolio full of automotive work with me. My prospects didn't look good.

As I started to look around at other cities in the Midwest, things slowly but miraculously began to change at home. Just the act of thinking about leaving made me reassess my core skills and aggressively pursue others. I wrote more, got on stage (more on that later), and rediscovered what an amazingly talented city this is. I went from an all-time low in confidence and security to feeling more energized than ever.

My agency diversified. I diversified. After a little luck and a lot of pain, I came out of 2009 stronger and better equipped to defend Detroit's rightful place at the center of the creative universe.

Revisiting Techno Rebels during all of this was very fitting, and very comforting. Techno music is one of Detroit's greatest cultural stories—one that begins when the rest of the country had given up on it the first time. I forgot how much I loved delving into its earliest origins in the post-Motown era—where the vacuum of the early- to mid-1980s forced out this amazingly potent new music. More importantly, techno created a lasting mechanism for keeping Detroit in the context of "the future."

Techno Rebels helped me find that Detroit again. I never want to leave it.

Techno Rebels is available now through The
Ghostly Store and in bookstores mid-April.