Underground Resistance artist Abdul Qadim Haqq is set to release his first artbook / compilation album early 2009, entitled "The Technanomicron Volume 1". He talks to Electronic Directory about his new Technanomicron project.
Interview with Abdul Qadim Haqq by Kazuumi Ishii
Just going back to the early days of Detroit techno, you’ve done your first work for Derrick May’s Transmat imprint. How did that come about ?
I was going to the Music Institute regularly at that time. I met Derrick May in the fall of 1989 right before they closed the Music Institute a month or so later in November. He was planning a lot of stuff in 1990 and wanted to have a new look for his Transmat label and the new label he was starting called Fragile.
So, how did you get into doing art for music ?
It was through doing artwork for Derrick May on Transmat. We were young art college students at the time. We went to the Music Institute every Friday. The Music Institute was the worlds first Techno dance club. That’s how it got started.
You’ve been with Underground Resistance through most of your professional career. You’ve helped build the label with your futuristic visual art and as the label has turned 18 years old now. What are your opinions of this Detroit-based techno label ?
Actually about half of my career to be exact. I started working regularly for UR in 1998. A full 9 years after I got my start with Transmat in 1989. Although I did a couple of jobs for them in the early 90′s. UR is perhaps the most powerful label in Detroit Techno history. And it is because of it’s leader Mad Mike.
How did you meet Mike Banks ?
It was in the early 90′s. I can’t remember the exact circumstances to tell the truth. I just remember going down to the original Submerge building on Grand River Avenue here in Detroit in 1991 or 1992 I think. UR needed a banner for a live show they were going to be doing soon.
What’s the process of designing a sleeve art ? Do they send you the music first and then you go to work ? Or do they match up the pre existing art to the release ?
I normally have a chance to listen to the music and I start getting concepts from that. I usually get the music in advance to have a listen to start my creative process. I do rough sketches and send my ideas to the client. They pick the direction they like and I start refining the concept after that.
I totally love the UR-052 sleeve art, both images are very very cool. Especially the sleeve art on A-side reminds me a lot of the Time Sensitive party. I was really impressed by what Timeline were doing. So I have to ask: when you finished the artwork for Timeline, did you have a good feeling about it ?
Oh yes ! That’s one of my favorites ! I was really inspired by the whole concept given to me by Mike Banks. That’s also why I wrote the story for it too.
Which sleeves are you most proud of ?
I’m proud of my work on both of Aztec Mystic Mix CD’s I did for DJ Rolando in the late 90′s. The work I did for Drexciya on Neptune’s Lair. Even some of my latest work like the Logos Compilation and my own project the Technanomicron.
I really like what Drexciya were doing too. James Stinson is a conceptualist, he had his trademark Underwater world and I was blown away ! So what was the most exciting point during your work with James Stinson ?
The most exciting point was when James Stinson would come to my house and we would conceptualize the ideas that made up Drexciya. That was the best time brainstorming aquatic ideas with him !
You’ve just finished an artbook/CD project titled Technanomicron. How did this Technanomicron project come about ?
I first thought of the concept in 1993 and it’s taken me 15 years to bring it about ! Almost 4 years ago, I had the idea of doing it because the time was right I guess. My friend Noda-san really helped me with this. I never would have gotten it off of the ground if it wasn’t for his help.
On the artbook there are a lot of new images and paintings. How are you satisfied with them ?
Yes, but now I only want to do more ! I have so many more ideas now that this project has come out !
The compilation contains a broad selection of classic tracks. Did you have any difficulty in choosing the tracks or had you had them in your mind for a while ?
No I didn’t have any difficulties at all choosing the music for this work. I definitely had most of the songs already in mind for a while.
Can you sum up the Technanomicron project in four words ?
PROJECT OF A LIFETIME
You also do a live painting as well. Have you had any particular unusual experiences ?
Yes ! Funny that you mention that ! My first time in Berlin was horrible because I was hired to do a live painting with DJ Buzz Goree and the club was raided by the Polizei (German Police) ! And it happened right when I was painting ! It really taught me that Berlin and Germany for that matter is a very crazy place. A weird mixture of fascism and hedonism.
Are you finding new things and new ideas when you do a live painting ?
All the time ! I have many ideas of paintings to do. It’s just a matter of picking the most effective one to do in a short time.
I hear that you’ve been interested in Japanese animation. Do you have a favourite Anime ?
I have many ! Usually anything that Dai Sato and Shinichiro Watanabe have done in the past. Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Ghost in the Shell, etc. Gundam Wing, Samurai 7 and so many more !
That brings us onto the next question. You have a lot of love for Anime, and you’ve produced some (animated) characters. Would you ever want to produce an animation film ?
That would be a dream come true of course ! If I ever have a chance it would be a dream of a lifetime.
Finally, what’s for the immediate future ?
To return to Japan in March to support my artbook/CD project, The Technanomicron, Volume 1 !
Abdul Qadim Haqq will release The Technanomicron Volume 1 in early 2009
Abdul Qadim Haqq – The Technanomicron Volume 1 [Third Earth Visual Arts]
Abdul Haqq, a real big part of Detroit techno / Underground Resistance, unleashs his new Technanomicron project that makes you sit up and take notice. Both artbook and CD are totally and uttely superb. An absolutely indispensable celebration of the Detroit techno.
If you would like to order the Technanomicron (in Japanese), please contact us.
- 01. Rise Of The Technolords
- 02. Juan Atkins
- 03. Eddie Fowlkes
- 04. Kevin Saunderson
- 05. Derrick May
- 06. James Pennington
- 07. The Muse Of Silence
- 08. Carl Craig
- 09. The E-2000
- 10. Jeff Mills
- 11. Mad Mike
- 12. The Analog Assassin
- 13. Revenge Of The Jaguar Knights
- 14. The Martian
- 15. UR: Timeline
- 16. The Muse Of Dreams & Visions
- CD compilation
- 01. Rythim Is Rythim – The Beginning
- 02. Rythim Is Rythim – Icon
- 03. Suburban Knight – Winds Of Fear
- 04. Suburban Knight – Dark Wind Of The Apprentice
- 05. Innerzone Orchestra – Bug In The Bass Bin
- 06. Psyche – Elements
- 07. Jeff Mills – Man From Tomorrow
- 08. Jeff Mills – Self-Portrait
- 09. Underground Resistance – Analog Assassin
- 10. Underground Resistance – Planet X
- 11. The Martian – Particle Shower