Jeff Mills is part of the glorious history of electronic music. Born in June 1963 in Detroit (the historic capital of today’s techno), Jeff is of the same generation as its illustrious pioneers such as Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. His career is just as precocious as theirs, having built his early reputation in his town of birth, hosting his own radio show on local WDRQ and WJLB radios. With six shows a week, the young Jeff (under twenty years old at this point) was so talented on the turntables that he was rapidly nicknamed ‘The Wizard’.
But it wasn’t until 1988 that Jeff got into music production as Final Cut, which was originally a house duo that soon evolved into a more industrial sound. In 1990, Jeff left Final Cut to found Underground Resistance with Mike Banks and created one of the most mythical of all techno collectives. In 1992 Mills left Detroit for New York and then created his own label, Axis Records and collaborated with the Tresor label in Berlin. And so he commences his rapid conquest of the global techno planet, thanks to powerful music and a mixing technique as fast as it is ingenious.
This former architecture student is also a film buff, ‘2001, A Space Odyssey’ remains for Mills a model of the total work of art. In 2000, he embarked on the composition of a new score for Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ and admits attempting, by all means possible, to flee his ‘techno wizard’ image to return to his first motivation which feeds off utopia, futuristic thought and a real passion for the worlds and ‘extraordinary scenarios’ of science fiction. A year later, he signs ‘Mono’, a sculpture-installation dedicated to Kubrick’s film, which is exhibited at the Sonar Festival at Barcelona. But it’s even more recently that Mills has fused his love for music and image and reframed his DJing. In 2004 he released ‘The Exhibitionist’, which was the first DVD on his label Axis. It’s a multi-angle filmed DJ set, allowing him to both approach video production and to beautifully complete his career on the decks.
In 2005, at the request of MK2 he composes a new soundtrack for ‘Three Ages’, the silent masterpiece by Buster Keaton. In the same year, he remains receptive to new experiences, like the concert alongside the Montpellier National Orchestra, directed by composer René Koering on the 20th anniversary of Unesco’s classification of the Pont de Gard as part of Humanity’s World Heritage. In 2007, he was invited by the movie director Claire Denis to create the sound environment of the exhibition « Diaspora » at the musée du quai Branly in Paris. That same year, Jeff Mills received the title of « Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres» from the French ministry of Culture. In 2008, Jeff Mills was commissioned to create a contemporary installation for 100 Year Anniversary of the Futurist Manifesto at the Pompidou Centre, Paris. And in 2011, his work “Dancer” featuring Josephine Baker is again featured at the Pompidou Centre as a part of the exhibition, “Dancer Sa Vie” through April 2012.
While DJing at about 100 events a year all around the world, Jeff Mills is involved in numerous projects at this time, including several film soundtracks collaborating with Cinematheque and Cite de la Musique in Paris including cinemix projects of “Cheat” (Cecil B. DeMille), “Oktober” (Sergei Eisenstein), “Woman In The Moon” (Fritz Lang) , “Fantastic Voyage” (Richard Fleischer) and “Etudes sur Paris” (Andre Sauvage).
In 2013, the album “Where Light Ends” – a collaboration with a Japanese astronaut, Dr. Mamoru Mohri is out in the Spring. The sixth instalment of “Sleeper Wakes” series, “The Jungle Planet” will be out in September, among other 12” releases.