Record Labels and the Success of Techno: KMS

Alex Calhoun —  November 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

L 290 1200600145Detroit’s KMS Records can easily be seen as one of the greats in the history and development of Techno music. As one of the longest, continually running labels in Detroit, the secret behind KMS is all too apparent; quality releases and dedication from people who love electronic music. But in a fickle genre like Techno, quality music and people dedicated too it for the long run can often be difficult to find.

KMS was one of the earliest Techno labels in Detroit, started by one of the pioneers of Detroit Techno, Kevin Saunderson, in 1987. KMS is actually a play on his initials, Kevin Maurice Saunderson.  Like other labels that sprang up in the early years of Techno, KMS was used heavily by Saunderson to release the numerous productions and projects he was and has been involved with, including Inner City, E-Dancer, and Reese & Santonio, including now classic tracks like “Good Life” and “Big Fun”.

Over the years, KMS, as well as its many sub-labels, have released techno and house tracks by some of the greatest producers from Detroit and beyond. Blake Baxter, Ron Trent, Chez Damier, D Wynn, and Greg Gow have found a home for their releases on KMS. Saunderson’s creativity and drive created sub-labels like Trance Fusion and Spinnin Records that released tracks by underground favorites like Terrence Parker, Shake, and Eddie Fowlkes. Many of these artists’ releases bridged the sound of Detroit Techno with the groove of Chicago House.

KMS has definitely done it right for the last 26 years. Looking at the back catalog that can both define the sound of Detroit Techno as well as break far beyond its boundaries, it’s no wonder why this labels has had its long running success. Let’s hope the drive and creativity of Kevin Saunderson and like-minded producers keep it going for another 26.

Alex Calhoun


Alex Calhoun is a writer, vinyl collector, and lover of all things odd and electronic. He currently lives in the Detroit Metro area.
November 2013
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