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Mike ‘Agent X’ Clark – environmental activism inspired ‘Activate’

The Detroit techno cadet on his new four tracker

Mike Agent X Clark has been telling Juno Daily how environmental activism inspired the lead track from the ‘Activate’ EP.

The producer – known as ‘The Detroit ambassador’ among the city’s scenesters – returns to the Third Ear label with four cracking new tracks that mark his first release for the label in six years. Spanning his unqiue take on techno, house, disco and even futuristic jazz funk on closing track ‘Mr Mitchell’, it’s one of the finest among many top quality releases to emerge from the city this year.

“E Man – one of my close circle – and I were talking about forming a brotherhood, some kind of voice for change.. mainly environmental, actually… and the lyric came out of that. He sent them to me, the recording of the voice and said, “here, put some of that Detroit Tech-y shit on it”, so I did (laughs). The recording of the words took me back to that old school Chicago vibe, jacking shit. So that’s what I did.”

“‘Going Off The Wall’ was a track I made when I got the MPC X (sampler),” the techno scene veteran says of the EP’s second track, “I was using the MPC3000 since the earliest days, so I was familiar with the instrument. I used the Michael Jackson sample and started playing with it and then I thought let’s see if I can finish a track with this, and ‘Going Off The Wall’ was the result.

“‘It’s Coming For Ya’ is a track that came out of a discussion I was having with another DJ, can’t remember who. We were talking about those tracks that we play in a big room or festival where you play a very minimal track to get comfortable with the sound system and the crowd and the vibe. So this is a track I could do that with. I was imagining being in this situation when I was making ‘It’s Coming For Ya’. And it works. I’ve used this track in this situation. Build the tension in the room while you’re making sure everything’s tight.”

The ‘Mr Mitchell’ of the final track, meanwhile, turns out to Los Hermanos’ Gerald Mitchell.

“I asked him to teach me some Gospel changes and runs. So he came over and gave me the lesson and said, “I’ll be over again in a week to see how you’re doing with it. Make sure you put in the practice, because I’m expecting results!”. Gerald Mitchell I regard as one of my teachers, like Mike Banks and one or two others.

“So, I thought, OK, I’m going to practice the shit out of it. Which I did, and once I listened back to it, I thought it sounded like some real underground shit. So I put some late-night drums on it, kinda of percussion-y and then played it out and the reaction surprised me. People were asking “What is that?” It’s kind of an edgy tune but it was touching people.”

Third Ear release the ‘Activate’ EP on October 23 – pre-order you copy here