Masks and Invisibility

During the social climate when techno was becoming prevalent in people’s lives and especially their social lives, racism and discrimination was still an issue for minorities, especially those responsible for creating the musical content. By concealing their identities, techno artists held the power in how their brand was sold and portrayed to the outside world. They could control when, or if, they disclosed themselves to the public and in what manner it occurred. The Electrifying Mojo, a radio personality said that he kept his identity concealed because “it’s easy being a voice on the radio, a face in the crowd, a figment of the imagination. You could get with a lot of people that you could not have gotten with before”.

Some understood the methodology, while others resented the artists, as fans felt they were being excluded. Some critics went so far as to claim that by not disclosing their identity, the artists were ultimately displacing racist tactics. Producer and DJ, Brendan M. Gillen said that “techno was not going to accept the previous paradigm of the Black man being exploited in music and being taken for a fool.” Some of the artists felt that by keeping their identity secret, they were able to make a bigger difference and even keep aspects of their lives separate from one another. Detroit Techno was extremely popular and despite the choice to conceal their identity or not, the genre exploded and became a large part of the city and musical culture.

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