Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Mills, Jeff

Born on June 18, 1963 in Detroit, Jeff Mills began his career as a DJ following high school. His talents were recognized by those who attended his shows, and even by radio personality The Electrifying Mojo at WJLB, who gave Mills a segment on his show. Soon, Mills had his own radio program on which he was known as “The Wizard,” and played a nonstop blend of techno, house, and hip-hop music.  

He entered the recording industry in 1989 as a duo with Tony Srock called Final Cut, playing industrial dance music. Mills departed the venture the following year before partnering with “Mad” Mike Banks. The two attempted to court Juan Atkins’ Metroplex record label, but were unsuccessful, leading them to establish Underground Resistance as a foil to techno’s increasingly mainstream appeal. Their obscured militaristic personas added to their anti-establishment draw. Their success, despite spurning major labels, drew like-minded acts and small labels to collaboratively operate the artist collective Submerge.  

Mills later began producing solo work, and for a time held a residency at Tresor, a Berlin dance club with mythic status. He formed Axis Records in 1992, where he continues to release his music. Though Mills continues to play music around the world, his interests are wide – he is also an artist, filmmaker and producer, and has created several soundtracks for films.