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Marissa Cetin
16 January 2024, 17:25

Influential Detroit DJ Mike Brown has died

Brown, who was a member of the pre-techno collective Direct Drive alongside Mike Clark and Kevin Dysard, was battling cancer in 2023

Influential Detroit DJ Mike Brown has died
Credit: Facebook

Mike Brown, the influential Detroit DJ, has passed away after a battle with cancer.

Brown's death was announced by the Charivari Detroit festival, Resident Advisor reports, and confirmed by Pat Lee, Brown's friend and the organiser of his GoFundMe for cancer treatment launched in June 2023.

Lee did not disclose more recent details about Brown's health, but previously said he was undergoing kidney dialysis and hoping to receive an organ transplant as part of his cancer treatment. Brown died on Sunday, 14th January.

Brown was a member of Direct Drive, an early house music collective of teenage artists in late '70s Detroit who directly preceded the founding of techno. Founded by Todd Johnson, who had links to the Charivari crew, Direct Drive would grow to include Mike "Agent X" Clark, Tim Slater, Hassan Nurullah, Theresa Hill, Alan Heath, James Wells, Kevin Dysard and Ray Berry and more. That collective inspired would-be techno pioneers Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Eddie Fowlkes to form Deep Space in the early '80s. Learn more about Direct Drive and its roots into techno via this 2014 RBMA feature

Lee has relaunched the GoFundMe campaign to support Mike Brown's family with funeral costs and medical bills — read more and support here.

"Mike Brown was one of the artists at the start of the Detroit electronic music scene", Clark said about Brown via GoFundMe. "Although too young to understand the scene, Mike had a very strong impression on me during those early days in the late '70s thru the early '80s. As I grew older, was blessed to work in collaborations as he has become a very dear friend, close to heart from bridged souls throughout the years. He is what you would call the quiet, cool one. Proteus and glad to know him and call him my older brother."

DJ Minx, Marcellus Pittman and Alan Oldham are among those paying tribute to Mike Brown on Charivari Detroit's Instagram.