“On October 30th 2016, Jeff Mills & the RTÉ Concert Orchestra delivered the Irish debut of “Light from the Outside World” at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. Mills was the first DJ to collaborate with in orchestra back in 2005. He performed with the Montpellier National Orchestra, directed by Alain Altinoglu. Subsequent projects such as “Where Light Ends” have sold out shows from France to Netherlands to Australia. The BBC instalment at the Barbican (London) sold out within 8 hours.
Mills was an influential radio DJ on WJLB (Detroit) during the 80’s. He performed under the pseudonym “The Wizard”. He could be heard cutting Electro with Hip Hop, Miami Bass, classic New Wave with early Techno and House Music. He was once reprimanded for playing Public Enemy which was at the time deemed controversial content.
In 1989 he founded the militantly political music collective known as Underground Resistance with Parliament bass player “Mad” Mike Banks. After Underground Resistance (UR), Mills founded Axis Records. Robert Hood, who also left UR around that time went on to release his seminal album “Minimal Nation”. Minimal Nation became known as the blueprint for stripped back, minimalist Techno. Within a decade “Minimal Techno” would sweep across Europe.
Axis has been the platform for a multitude of projects. There has been a series of concept albums and EPs such as Something in the Sky. The Exhibitionist DVD series offered a behind the curtain view of the DJ art form. Then there are of course Jeff’s cinematic and orchestral projects. He truly is the embodiment of artistic ambition which reaches far beyond the world of DJing and studio production.
Mills introduced his latest orchestral project “Planets” in 2015. Planets is a tribute to “The Planets” by British composer Gustav Holst. “The Planets”; an elegant musical tour to each one of the Planets in the Solar System, was first broadcast in 1918 during the final weeks of World War One. “Planets” has been recorded and it was brought to the famous Abbey Road Studios to be mixed. It will be released via Axis.
My first exposure to Jeff Mills was back in 1998. A friend showed me the Exhibitionist DVD when I was thinking of buying turntables and he gave me a bunch of bootleg his WJLB radio shows. Watching that DVD was one of the defining moments of my life. It was a degree of performance, art and excellence I didn’t know existed and would forever set the benchmark for me as an artist.
In 2012 I launched my first club night, Apocalypse Now. Apocalypse was a series of parties counting down to the end of the Mayan Calendar. A series of doomsday parties whose visuals and artworks took influence from Mayan prophecy and ancient Sumerian texts. We brought Mills over for the opening night.
At the time Jeff hadn’t performed a club show in Dublin for over 3 years. The show sold out and close to one thousand people were left outside. It was a phenomenal night. I’ve thrown many crazy parties in my career but that was the craziest. On stage that night Jeff’s manager asked me if I would be interested in doing an Orchestra show and thats where the story began.
From that moment it has taken the guts of five years to get this point in time. There has been a lot of back and forth between all parties. Mills has agreed to a limited, one time only broadcast of the show on RTE 2FM which will air during the Christmas schedule. The broadcast agreement alone took months of negotiation.
To everyone who joined us that historic night in the history of Irish electronic music we are extremely grateful. Thanks for your support and thanks to everyone who came together to make this show a reality.”
Will Kinsella. Published in Hot Press Magazine, October 2016.