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Innovator Kevin Saunderson celebrating 25 years of techno

for Journal Register Newspapers

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When Kevin Saunderson created techno with friends Juan Atkins and Derrick May -- aka the Belleville Three -- he felt like it was "future music." But he could not have guessed how far that future would extend.

At this year's Movement Electronic Music Festival, Saunderson will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his KMS Records label and production company, and of his group Inner City, which reeled of seven Top 10 Dance chart hits -- including "Big Fun" and "Good LIfe" -- between 1988-94. Saunderson, May, Atkins and a variety of friends will perform at KMS 25 -- Tribute to Detroit on Sunday, May 27, at Saint Andrews Hall, while Saunderson himself takes to Movement's Main Stage at 9 p.m. Monday, May 28.

"Twenty-five years and still going, still making music," Saunderson, 47, notes with satisfaction. "A lot of artists from Detroit came up through my label and were inspired by me. We're going to celebrate the fact that the label and myself have been around that long."

And are still going. Saunderson remains creatively active both as a touring and recording artist. And he's re-launched Inner City, putting out a new single, "Future," last year with plans for more in the near future.

"We're going to be as active as we were back in the day," Saunderson promises. "Maybe it's a good time for America to catch up to us a little. I feel like America missed the boat with us back in the day, but we were ahead of our time. Maybe it's a little more balanced now."

Saunderson, who splits his time between Novi and Chicago, is also pleased to be spending KMS' silver anniversary at Movement. He was part of the festival's prototype event -- World Party in 1994 at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena -- and has been a major proponent of the event since its 2000 launch, even stepping in to run the 2005 edition in order to keep it alive. These days, however, he's satisfied to just play and see the eyes, ears and glo sticks of the electronic music community come to his home town.

"I'm happy the way it's still going years later," Saunderson says. "Obviously I wasn't happy with some of the nasty stuff that went on years ago, but I'm glad we got past that. It went through stages to get here and it wasn't an easy hurdle, but it's great that I can go and do my career and the festival can happen and we have a big place to play at home." --

Kevin Saunderson performs at 9 p.m. on Monday, May 28, on the Movement Main Stage. KMS 25 -- Tribute to Detroit starts at 10 p.m. Saturday, May 27, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Tickets are $25-$40. Visit www.kevinsaunderson.com for more details.

Web Site: www.movement.us

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