The dance floor is splattered with Hennessy. Frenetic beats blast from the venue’s soundsystem, while two MCs open a moshpit from inside the crowd. An audience member has taken the mic and there’s a maroon dildo on stage. It’s HiTech’s debut London show.
When it comes to performing live, the Detroit group – consisting of MCs/producers King Milo and Milf Melly and DJ 47Chops – are agents of controlled chaos. Rebelling against the stale bottle-service vibes of North American nightclubs, Milo and Melly ensure everyone loses their cool by throwing themselves into the crowd and pouring liquor down people’s throats. In the weeks leading up to the London show (which was part of The Face’s New Noise series), HiTech were the talk of the town in Paris, where they won the admiration of local tastemakers such as 99Ginger and Crystallmess, and generally wreaked havoc at parties during Fashion Week.
Back at home, HiTech are the Detroit dance music scene’s brightest hope. Their sound is a potent cocktail of ghettotech – the Motor City club genre defined by fast, rugged beats and filthy raps – and blends it with house, rap, Miami bass and Chicago footwork. They generated a local buzz with their 2022 self-titled debut album and swiftly followed it up with 2023’s Détwat LP, featuring excellently named kindred spirits such as DJ Killasquid and Dastardly Kids. Seemingly due to a serious fallout with Detroit scene stalwart Omar‑S, who distributed the albums via his FXHE label, neither of HiTech’s albums are currently on streaming services. But they promise they’ll be back soon.
This interview was conducted in chaotic circumstances – just after HiTech’s soundcheck, while they were shopping for ski-masks in Covent Garden – and some of the stuff they said probably isn’t true. But you can’t beat the enthusiasm of red-hot musicians hitting London town for the very first time.
So why do you want a ski mask?
King Milo: The ski mask is for my sweat and my hairline. I ain’t gonna lie, I’m pretty self-conscious about those types of things right now.
You look great to me.
Milo: Did you just call me sexy?
Milo: Aaaaah, thank you!
What did you guys get up to in Paris?
Milo: Partying. Underground raves. Walking in the forest. All types of crazy shit.
You did Fashion Week parties, right?
47Chops: Yeah, we did a Carhartt show. That shit was lit. [It was in] the hotel lobby.
Milo: Shout out to Carhartt. That was one of the highlights of the [Paris trip]. A part of me expected just a bunch of cool people who are too cool to move around in all their super expensive fashion.
47: Nah, but their ass was ready for us, boy!
Milo: Everybody turnt up, everybody flipped upside down, pouring Hennessy all over everybody. Everybody’s drinking, we’re fucking having a great time. It’s gonna happen tonight!
How did you guys meet?
Milo: Man, we was coming from three different orgies. Then we met at a new orgy. ‘What, ya’ll make music too? Well let me get my nut, then we can talk about this business.’ [Points to Melly] Turns out this guy got his nut first, because he’s a quick pumper. [Points to 47] This guy right here, I saw him handling his business. Shorty wasn’t mad at nobody. I know I was good.
At what point did you all realise you were musicians?
Milo: When we was all fucking on rhythm.
Milf Melly: When I hit a C‑note [sings in a high-pitch] Ahhhhhh!
Milo: Yeah, he does the vocals a lot, too. But when they saw me engineer the whole orgy, that’s when they knew, I should be on Ableton the whole time. [And] we all knew that we were extreme members of an enlarged society. You know, everyone is welcome to join the organisation. The orgy-nisation.
Melly: A highly-technical organisation.
47: Yeah, there we go.
What’s HiTech’s mission statement?
47: Change the culture.
Milo: Change the culture for sure. Save the youth.
47: For sure, the youth.
Milo: So, yes, change the culture. Because it’s a little boring. It’s a little squared out. It’s a little bit black and white. And it’s a little bit heading in one direction. In the States, you know, there’s this club culture where everybody stands and wastes bottles of liquor and looks at each other. And nobody dances and nobody fucks with anybody.
And it’s looking real jacked-up because the safe space has been compromised. So we have to have an understanding, we have to save the culture by implementing these safe space rules. Because the first rule is you gotta make sure everybody knows it’s OK, to do this music and dance with people and have human interaction. Because right now, it’s icky for a lot of people.
So it’s like your music is super high-energy and raunchy, but there needs to be an etiquette to make sure everyone feels safe and can get loose?
Milo: Yeah, like we all love metal music and punk and shit. When you go to those shows and it’s a lot of mosh pits, but all those people are comfortable with each other.
47: Looking out for each other.
Milo: Our music is a different kind of music. It’s an indigenous sound from Detroit that we’re bringing back. It’s a little bit more welcoming to everybody. When we do our shows, we have mosh pits…We implemented our messages, we show everybody. I’m gonna look at shorty and be like ‘it’s OK to shake your ass in here.’
How’s the Detroit clubbing scene right now?
Milo: It’s dying, but we’re bringing it back. We got OGs out there helping us, we got people who are trying to do the same thing we’re trying to do with the same energy trying. Once it comes together, you see it all in fruition.
The last few years have been a good time for Michigan rap. You’ve got Babyface Ray and Veeze in Detroit, for example, then there’s been Rio da Young OG in Flint. Are you into all of that stuff?
[In unison]: Yeah!
Milo: We gonna get Veeze on a track for sure. You know, we met at the orgy, but I saw [Melly] at a Babyface Ray concert that I performed at with the group I was with at the time.
What music did you guys do before HiTech?
47: I’m a DJ and I throw raves in Detroit type of shit. Them boys [Milo and Melly] came to my shit before I knew them.
Milo: We all realise this as we move forward. You know quantum entanglement? It’s a quantum physics type of thing. It’s like, let’s say you are somewhere around somebody you don’t know one time and you bump shoulders with them and your atoms in all the molecular mumbo jumbo starts to entangle and it’s like, time is a fabric or something. It allows you to kind of reconvene somewhere down time’s line.
Did you make music before HiTech Melly?
Milo: He was selling crack!
Melly: That’s what I like to call it. Digital crack. I was just starting as a producer when I met these guys. I started making alternative, metal, techno.
47: He was on some crazy shit. I booked him for an event with his group before I even knew who he was.
I’m trying to figure out how old you guys are. Are you from the same generation?
47: No. I’m a 2000s baby.
Melly: I’m a ’98 baby.
Milo: I’m 300.
Melly: He’s a vampire.
What would be a good ghettotech starter pack for someone who’s trying to get into that genre?
Milo: Just type in ‘DJ Assault’ or ‘DJ Godfather’ and have your fill.
A lot of music industry people have messaged me about your show tonight. Are you guys looking to sign a new record deal? Have you been shaking hands and having meetings?
Milo: Just been reading some books about [this] shit. Paper-feeling.
47: Studying up, for sure.
Can you talk about the Omar‑S situation?
Milo: I’d much rather not. I’d much rather just wish healing on everybody involved. People on both ends of the party that’s fucked up or not fucked up – everbody needs to heal.
47: Heal and move with love, man.
I’ve been missing your album Détwat on streaming. Do you know when it’ll be back?
Milo: It’ll be back soon. I’d say a couple of months. We’re gonna give it back with a couple of extra gifts.
47: There’s some physical shit floating around if you can find it.
So you’re working on new material?
47: We got the pot cooking, man, we got that shit on simmer as my boy Melly would say.
What are your goals for 2024?
Milo: To take the party to the rest of the world. It’s literally exciting every single time to go somewhere new and meet everyone. Like, meeting your ass? It was pretty cool.