DJ Stingray: Detroit’s master craftsman…

Part of the ‘second wave’ of Detroit artists to emerge in the early 90s – Jeff Mills and Carl Craig are among the others – Sherard Ingram, aka DJ Stingray (as well as Urban Tribe), has been a powerful force on the electro scene for more than 25 years, and given his trademark balaclava, he’s one of electronic music’s original ‘mystery men’…

In this candid interview with The Wire, from 2010, Ingram recalls how his career first got started, playing Miami Bass records at a motorcycle club – “almost no DJ would have the guts to come to that club and play those records that we played. We were forcefeeding these people techno and electro” – as well as his early work with Kenny Dixon and Drexciya.

But the interview is most notable for its beautifully poetic ending, summing up why, regardless of genre, ability or experience, those that are in the game… are IN the game.

“It’s about craftsmanship. Sure, any doorknob can get behind a computer and crank out some bleeps, blips and squelches. But it takes a craftsman to get behind a keyboard or a drum machine, and make something that people enjoy, and that’s pleasing to the intellect as well as the ear, or pleasing to the soul, or whatever that inner thing is that makes people appreciate music.

“It takes craftsmanship and hardwork, and I think if you look at some of the more elite guys and people who left a legacy, and have made an imprint, you can hear the quality in their music. It’s simply different from a run of the mill person, who goes out to the mall, or goes to their local music store and decides they want to make music.

“You know, it’s about suffering the pains of having some months where you don’t have a lot of money, and you’re suffering. You may play a club and not a lot of people turn up. But you love what you do, and that’s what separates the run of the mill guy from the guy who is a craftsman.

“It’s taking that machine and putting feeling, putting part of you into the that machine, using electronics to not just make a song, you’re trying to move people with the melody, the structure, you’re trying to peak interest. And make people sit up and pay attention to what you’ve doing…”

Well put. Check out this brilliant 40 minute Boiler Room set from the man himself, recorded in London in 2014.

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