With over 20 years in the game, Detroit veteran and champion of the underground Eric Dulan, AKA DJ Bone, has always done things on his own terms. Learning the tricks of the trade via DJ residencies five nights a week at several high profile Motor City parties, as Bone’s profile began to rise so did his circle, regularly finding himself amongst local innovators and heroes like Juan Atkins, Derrick May, The Electrifying Mojo and Jeff Mills.
His uncompromising vision and dedication for the art forms of both DJing and production over the past two decades has seen him endlessly push the boundaries of dancefloor focused electronic music. Be it via his highly technical mixing abilities, his ownership of two of Detroit’s most rarefied labels or his production output under various aliases, the soul controller continues to dominate the globe with his high-powered strands of electro and techno.
Catching up with him for a minute, Bone sheds light on his new projects, tour life and the importance of working hard to become the best YOU possible!
What are your favourite mixes/ blends of tracks that you’ve played or are currently playing?
Hard to say since I’ve done so many mixes. I really do love the part from my mix Subject Detroit Vol. 2 where I go from The Martian’s ‘Firekeeper’ into Rhythim is Rhythim’s ‘Icon’. But I seriously love that entire mix. I did it in one take and left it raw. I was very blessed to have so many legends allow me to include their tracks on this one.
Your bookings until the end of the year are mainly in Europe, do you miss playing in Detroit?
I do miss playing in Detroit, but times changed and I’ve evolved to a point where I’m playing globally on a regular basis. This has made for such a busy schedule that now I really have to plan whenever I wanna come back and play. Actually, I’ve been coming back to play at least once a year for the last few years, but my mission had changed. I don’t get many offers to play there be honest so I decided to mainly just do our own small events which raise money for our Homeless Homies Foundation. I’m proud to now be able to give back to the city that made me who I am.
Which was the best party you played so far in 2019?
Wow! There have been too many great parties this year to name just one. 4GB in Tbilisi was amazing! The Mother’s Finest event in Mumbai, House of Mince in Sydney, Australia, the Boiler Room I did at 1896 in NYC (which I requested not to be streamed or recorded so people could experience a genuine moment in time), our Homeless Homies Fundraiser and Movement in Detroit and the Krankbrother’s Shoreditch Street Party (and After Party) we’re all very good this year.
As a true underground pioneer, what advice would you give to younger people who want to become DJs today?
Too many young people today are kinda backwards in their thinking about what it means to be a DJ. A lot of them simply want to be famous, adored and rich but without having put in any real work, paying any dues or even leaving from in front of their computer.
My advice to any aspiring young DJs is to work hard at being the best YOU possible, also to be unique. Don’t follow trends and most importantly don’t chase likes/followers. Let the music and your skills do the talking. There’s very little need for endless cheerleading, crowd conducting or any other unnecessary antics. If you’re feeling it then show it but don’t fake it. If you have to spend all your time selling the crowd on how good you, your set or your songs are by waving and dancing more than actually DJing then you probably need to slow down and look inside yourself, then emphasise what separates you from all the other DJs. Realize what you bring to the party that others don’t or simply can’t.
If you could play a track or release from your label Subject Detroit right now, which one would it be?
It would be ‘Rosedale Park’ from my album BEYOND. Always soothes me.
What should we expect on Subject Detroit?
Well I have my third album titled HYPER from my BEYOND trilogy coming soon as well as the Cheat Codes Project and two very special secret side projects. You’ll just have to wait for info on the secret ones tho cuz they’re super classified.
You describe yourself as “an uncompromising, hype hating, 100% independent, real Detroit native come auditory striker and soul controller that cannot be bought”. How do you manage to communicate this message today, as techno is becoming more and more commercialised?
It’s easy…just stay me, be genuine and continue to push things forward by taking risks and being original. I’ve noticed over the years that this often makes it easier for others, inspiring them to step outside of their safe boxes and take chances themselves. I know several DJs that do this but if even more were braver it’d make the scene better and stronger.
Tell us about the new Cheat Codes project and your involvement there?
Cheat Codes will be coming soon. Its focus is releasing usable tools for DJs, but on an enhanced level. When used properly the DJ will be able to create their own original track live on the spot, different every time. I’m very excited about the Cheat Codes. The possibilities will be endless
Plus the 3rd album is on route, can you tell us more about that and the release date?
HYPER will be the third album of the BEYOND trilogy. With this one I wanted to explore the uncharted waters of music for me. I thought of how Stevie Wonder brought in an orchestra to record Village Ghetto Land or how Quincy Jones asked various artists to collaborate with him for his Back On The Block album. I wanted to try impossible things and mold the results into a tangible, workable audio experience.
Now as for a release date, I can’t say. I always struggle with deadlines because I feel that when it’s finished it’s finished. No sooner, no later.
ADE is a povthol part of the DJ and producers tour this year, what makes its so special for you?
ADE is special in the fact that it gives DJs and artists a huge platform to display their talents and also network with people on the business side of things. It’s also informative and most of all it’s a one-stop shop for people/ravers/clubbers to be able to hear all of their favourite artists night after night in one city.
Tell us about you performance at Dockyard also – are you excited for that?
Yes, very excited for Dockyard. And this one will be special since I’m doing a B2B with my man Ben Sims. It’s always high energy and really jackin’ when we play together so I hope people are ready to dance!! We’re going to be playing a bunch of unreleased material as well I’m sure. The entire lineup in our area is quite great!
Finally, two top secret projects coming up – top secret means you can’t tell us too much but when can we expect those?
Realistically these will happen in the Spring of 2020. Maybe later… you know me and release dates.
Catch DJ Bone at Dockyard Festival ADE, Saturday 19th October.
Words: Rob Chadwick