Label focus - KMS Records with Kevin 'The Elevator' Sauderson


Words by: Alex Rose

Kevin Saunderson - ‘The Elevator’,  is a name synonymous with the  birth of the first wave of early Detroit techno, with Kevin credited as being one of the original founders of the fledgling scene in the late 80's..

His label KMS (Kevin Maurice Saunderson) Records was established in 1987 and still maintains a highly relevant presence in today’s crowded underground music scene, as it continues to push out high calibre music, release after release.

In it’s 30 year history KMS has released countless house and techno classics from artists such as Ron Trent, Chez Damier, MK, Derrick Carter, Kenny Larkin, Terrence Parker and many more, with Kevin himself laying claim to many releases under a smorgerboard of aka’s, aliases and groups such as E-dancer, Esseray, Inner City (originally Inter City), Cybertron, Kaos, Keynotes, Kreem, KS Experience, Reese, Reese & Santonio, Reese Project, Tronikhouse, The Elevator ++ More here.

It’s no surprise that KMS can claim such high accolades given the story of Kevin's younger years growing up as a key influencer in the midst and creation of the first wave of the Detroit Techno scene. Through his high school years, Kevin befriended two students, Derrick May and Juan Atkins, the 3 of them becoming close friends (later becoming known as the “Bellville Three”) and building on one another's efforts to shape and define the future of the electronic music movement that was coming into existence around them.

As they grew and forged their individual contributions to the scene, Derrick May and Juan Atkins founded Transmat & Metroplex  recordings (respectively) , which are widely regarded and credited as being 2 of the most influential, pioneering techno labels of the early US scene, with Kevin’s first release ‘Kreem - Triangle of Love’ being released on Jaun’s Metroplex imprint.

Inspired by the impact Juan was having with his label and in a bid to maintain complete control and artistic integrity off the music he wanted to create, Kevin started his own label KMS records and revelled in the process of producing and working to mix and master his own music, the way he wanted, and so… KMS was born….

This year KMS will celebrate 3 decades in the game, and to mark this incredible achievement,  will release a 30 year history compilation along with a series of EP’s promising collaborations and remixes from the likes of Inner City, Sauderson Brothers Dantiez, KiNK, Dub Fire and many more…

Alex Rose