Somewhere In Detroit and Submerge
The building at 3000 E. Grand Blvd. is a space occupied by numerous entities important to the techno world. One key business is “Somewhere in Detroit” a space where you can find the techno capitals latest & rarest vinyl records, specializing in hard-to-find UR records and merchandise. “Somewhere in Detroit” (S.I.D) was originally started over 15 years ago by Mad Mike Bank’s sister Bridgette Banks. “Somewhere in Detroit” began as a roving shop that she used to distribute rare Detroit muscle car parts, rare synths, rare records and other items. The shop traveled to a variety of swap meets, flea markets in the mid-west, and even to a few locations outside the country. Bridgette eventually grew the business via mail order as well to share her brother’s street-oriented business with the world. Bridgette’s expertise in international shipping and customs clearance was important to the early success of the business that became Submerge. This business eventually grew into the mail-order/walk-in store division of the infamous Detroit vinyl record distribution outlet “Submerge” that Mike launched in the space.
Submerge Records started out located at 2030 Grand River but moved to 3000 East Grand Boulevard between the years of 2000-2002. The original site is a vacant parking lot. Mike Banks and Jeff Mills started the label Submerge out of a need to help unite multiple labels so that they could develop and become stronger businesses. Submerge Record labels included: Underground Resistance, Transmat, Red Planet, and Distorted Soul. Christa Weatherspoon who now runs Submerge keeps the sub moving forward.
Mike Banks in a rare interview from a 1994 article “A House in Detroit”, says, “Submerge was founded out of a need. There were a bunch of small, unorganized labels struggling to survive. None of them had any formal business classes, and for any record label to survive, you have to produce music. Jeff (Mills) and I were signing acts, back when he was here, trying to collect money, bill people, send invoices, and it was cutting into our music. We couldn’t afford a staff. So my idea was to accumulate all these labels and one person run the ship as far distribution, paying bills, invoices. Christa Weatherspoon runs Submerge and she is co-owner. It can’t work without her. She runs it completely.”
This space on East Grand Boulevard is also a place where some of Detroit Techno’s fiercest tracks have been conceived. In addition to being the home of Submerge, 3000 E. Grand Blvd. is also the world headquarters of the seminal techno collective, Underground Resistance (UR), led by Mad Mike Banks, the wunderkind DJ, producer and composer who, via his satellite group Galaxy 2 Galaxy is responsible for such global hits as “Jaguar”, “Transition” and “Kill My Radio Station.” To learn more see the 360-degree video clip below with an exclusive tour given by the local legends, John Collins and Mike “Agent X” Clark:
Explore Techno History at Exhibit 3000
Another key space in the fortress housing UR, is Exhibit 3000 and the Metroplex Room (seen in the video clip above). It is a museum, and a monument to the giants of Detroit techno, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Buzz Goree, Mark Flash, Rolando, Cybotron and the best of all things Detroit Techno. An assortment of historic electronic gear, synthesizers, drum machines and turntables are displayed along with their stories. Original records from the golden era of techno, as well as Gold and Platinum copies of the tracks; “Good Life”, Strings of Life, and many others, are showcased in custom-made glass cases. A record lathe (seen in the video below) that etched many historic tracks into vinyl can also be found on display at Exhibit 3000.
Over the years the building has served as an artistic enclave in Detroit, housing Dirt Tech Reck record store and the Soulful Underground production studio and radio show, as well as, offices and studios for legendary groups like Aux 88. Visitors can only access the museum and record store in the basement by appointment. Contact John E. Collins at the email below for more info. However, making one is well worth the wait, as the techno lover in you can be transported back to another time and place, and revel in the one-of-a-kind sound that is Detroit Techno.
(written by Karriem Holman and David Grandison Jr)