From Detroit to Deutschland: The Origins and Influences of Techno Music

Algirdas Janilionis KAUNAS

Very few music types can get people dancing. But techno music has a way of uniting people to dance in clubs, on the streets, or at house parties – in other words, everyone can enjoy techno music, as it’s a type of tune for all occasions.

But how did techno become a globally loved music?

Algirdas Janilionis Kaunas says that first, we must find out where it all began.

The Birthplace of Techno Music

Most musical historians credit Detroit, Michigan, as the birthplace of techno.

In an article by Nitin Yadav (published by the Music Gateway), they noted that in the 1980s, young Detroiter musicians (Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson) experimented with synthesizers and drum machines to mimic the music of Kraftwerk and Gary Newman.

But the musicians also wanted music that encapsulated the dynamic essence of their bustling city. The result was unique, and, at the time, the music sounded futuristic and timely.

For those who weren’t alive in the ‘80s,

Sci-fi and retrofuturism shaped the 1980s, as several futuristic films were released during this decade – such as Star Wars, Back to the Future, Star Trek, and many other movies based in fictional universes.

Soon after techno music was created, people enjoyed listening to its repetitive (yet catchy) beats and booming bass lines.

But Americans weren’t the only ones who enjoyed techno.

Techno Music Echoed Throughout Continents

Europeans, too, loved the sound of techno. To some people, they might even associate techno with Europe. And by the time the 1990s came in full swing, Europeans (particularly Berlin natives) would blare out techno music during raves.

Fun Fact:

The rave culture was an underground movement that promoted peace, tolerance, and free-spiritedness.

While raves may have been once an underground culture, the catchy tune of techno music was resounding – and many wanted to create, recreate, and listen to more techno music.

Algirdas Janilionis KAUNAS

Evolution of Electronica

As more techno fans emerged in the ‘80s to ‘90s, so did techno musicians. But these musicians also wanted to produce unique techno music that resonated with their style.

In the UK, the group 808 State produced techno music with acid jazz and jazz funk influences.

Around the same time, Belgians also discovered techno when DJ Dikke Ronny mistakenly played “Flesh” (by the group A Split Second) at a faster speed. Ultimately, this happy accident paved the way for DJs like Joey Beltram to amass a massive following in Belgium.

In Canada, Ritchie Hawtin released techno hits like “Vortex” in collaboration with Joey Beltram and Mundo Mystique.

And in Germany, Paul Schmitz-Moormann released a techno-trance song, “Café del Mar.”

With all the new subgenres of techno music, it was clear that the sound of it was evolving – and it continues to this day.

Techno Today

Techno may have several subgenres today, but most still fall under the electronic music category. Therefore, many modern-day EDM (Electronic Dance Music) DJs and musicians still technically play electronic and techno music.

These days, we can listen to techno DJs like Carl Cox, Nina Kraviz, Charlotte de Witte, Amelie Lens, and many other talented musicians – and we can expect there will be more DJs in the future who will produce catchy tunes.


Techno-music has come a long way. From underground raves to its worldwide listeners, it’s hard to believe that techno was once an experiment made by young but talented Michiganders.

Lastly, the continuous love for techno’s hypnotic rhythm and the pounding bass of the subgenre is solid proof that techno is here to stay – and evolve.

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