DJ and producer Kelli Hand, who as K-Hand was a prolific, versatile and much admired figure in the Detroit dance music scene, has died at the age of 56. The cause has not been announced, but his death has been confirmed by close friends on social media. and to the Guardian by his agent.
Hand was named “First Lady of Detroit” by city council in 2017, recognizing a career in which she was a rare black woman in dance music production and DJing.
Born and raised in Detroit, Hand began taking weekend trips to New York clubs as a young woman in the 1980s, attending Paradise Garage and drawing inspiration from the emerging sounds of house and techno. . While working on a phone company’s fraud team, she started DJing in the late 1980s, gaining local residences.
She started producing her own music and founded UK House Records – later renamed Acacia Records – to release it, with her debut EP, Think About It, released in 1990. Techno stars Jeff Mills, Robert Hood , Mike Banks and Mike Clarke attended the recording. She continued to release tracks spanning jackin ‘house, ghettotech and the hammering minimalism of Detroit techno, and her star spread to Europe where she began touring in the mid-1990s. UK label Warp Records released a single in 1994, Global Warning.
She released the first of seven studio albums in 1995, and continued to regularly release music until 2020.
In 2016, she explained her approach to DJing and production, favoring hardware over software: “If it’s not on vinyl, it’s not definitive, it’s essential,” she said. declared. âBecause you need that warm sound, that analog sound – not the sound of the click of a robotic mouse. From 2000 onwards, everything became Einstein, from electronic music to the clicking of computers and mice. A lot of people produce by putting things in blocks on a screen. Some people make great music doing that, but to me it’s not producing – you’re playing a computer game.
The dance music community paid tribute, with Mike Servito saying: âShe was a pioneer! You leave us with an inspiring musical legacy from Detroit â, and Octave A saying: “Our Detroit Sista will be truly missed.”