Eddie Fowlkes

Eddie Fowlkes was born on December 24, 1962, in Detroit. His first DJ moment. After attending a 1980 Charivari party at the famed Park Avenue Club with his older sisters where he saw DJ Darryl Shannon mixing records, Fowlkes requested a mixer for Christmas and then made his DJ debut in the early 80’s.  He credits his mother (RIP) purchase of this mixer a transcendental moment in him living his dreams. “She was a single mother, raising three kids and making things work out.” He learned about promoting parties as a member of the Motown Varsity Squad along with Derrick May and others. He sold mix tapes at Benedictine high school. And was further influenced seeing both Detroit legend Ken Collier and Chicago House icon Frankie Knuckles play. 

As a new DJ, he was part of the Deep Space DJ collective, which included Juan Atkins, Art Payne, Keith Martin, and Derrick May who was also Fowlkes’ roommate. In the 1980s, Fowlkes performed with three turntables, a mixer, wah wah pedal and the 808 & 909 drum machines.

He would find great practice time in college pairing his mixer with the turntables of fellow DJ and friend Tony Hunter. This led to his first solo party in 1982.  Techno legend and friend Kevin Saunderson said that seeing Fowlkes DJ a fraternity party in Kalamazoo inspired him to get involved in the Deep Space Crew and become a better DJ.

After hearing a Cybotron performance, Fowlkes moved from being interested solely in DJing to creating his own records. Borrowing equipment from Juan Atkins, he trained his ear and taught himself to play the keyboard over the months. While Fowlkes and May were roommates, Fowlkes built his studio in his bedroom and started working on his first record. He credits Atkins brother-in-law Andre Smith (RIP) for helping him get the studio up and running. His first release under his own name was issued in 1986. That release on Metroplex Records, “Goodbye Kiss”, helped establish what would come to be known as Techno and Eddie as a founder and one of its rising superstars. (Note • Techno. Not Detroit Techno. Just Techno.) 

“But first and foremost, I am a DJ. I created music to have some music to DJ with that the next DJ didn’t have. I’m just a DJ who decided to make music.” And somewhere in the mix, Fowlkes also found time to attend Eastern Michigan University and proudly pledge Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

With the 1991 M.I.D release of Detroit Techno Soul, Fowlkes introduced the concept of Techno Soul because “Detroit … is both house heads and techno heads.”   Techno Soul is Techno, 70s Funk, the Motown Sound, Parliament, and Chicago House. Eddie’s DJ sets reflect his productions that are an evolution in one track, from House to Techno and back again. Then followed the 1993 Tresor release The Birth of Techno Soul with 3MB (Moritz von Oswald and Thomas Fehlmann. 1993 also heralded the formation of Fowlkes own label City Boy Records.  City Boy has also released music from Amp Fiddler, Santonio Echols, Niko Marks and others. Though he has helmed his own imprint since then, he can count a string of releases on acclaimed labels like Back to Basics, Peacefrog, Play it Again Sam, Electric Records, Sony Records and Tresor. A brief stint with Carl Cox’ label and agency Ultra and colabs with Loco Dice as the D Town Players.

Eddie Fowlkes’s handprints are cemented on the Detroit Historical Museum’s Legends Plaza as a Techno music pioneer. His mantra of his style, “I bring that neighborhood, more funky Techno that changed the World!”  Whether with Deep Space, Peaches & Cream, City Boy Players, or as Eddie “Flashing” Fowlkes , he continues to create, to push boundaries, to release music on his two imprints City Boy Records and Detroit Wax Records, to charm dance floors worldwide, and to represent Detroit Musical talent and DJ culture at its best. “My goal is to stay healthy and make good music so my kids and grandkids can enjoy my publishing.”

This Friday, come on down to Spotlite and celebrate a milestone with a Detroit legend. “I want everyone to come to the party and listen to some good tunes from a crew with decades of dance floor knowledge.  Cohost John Collins appropriately named the series the Soul of Detroit. And when me, Delano Smith and Norm Talley get together all we talk about is music so that will be reflected in the sets.  Rick Wilhite was added to bring his soulful flavor and Brian Bonds for those grown man grooves. It’s the holiday, my kids are home, this will be a family and friends love fest. Detroit Fowlkes!”

 What does 2023 look like for Eddie Fowlkes. New logo. New looks. Two releases from Defected London. Two releases from ReKids Germany. Exclusive mix for Apple Music. Detroit Wax Clothing Line.  Bimonthly residency. More music releases and remixes and more bookings. “And most importantly, riding my bike and jet ski and spending time with my wife.”

Happy Birthday Eddie Fowlkes. Sixty years young! One of the founding fathers of Techno since 1986, DJ pioneer, quick mix master, outspoken Detroit musical Ambassador and label owner. His 30+ years of moving dance floors and his 150+ deep catalog of electronic soulful classics speak for themselves.  Most important… 1. Family • Husband to Stella. Father to Tia and Zoe. Brother to two sisters. 2. Music. In that order. #detroitfowlkes #technooriginal