Out of all the producers and DJ’s who came to prominence during Techno’s first and second generations, none have ventured into a deeper artistic tangent than Jeff Mills. While many would argue that Richie Hawtin’s Plastikman project is mind-blowing, visually and musically, Mills has remained a quiet force. Maybe he’s not as widely publicized as say, Carl Craig or Derrick May, but this can largely be attributed to projects that may be too adventurous for the average 4/4 enthusiast. He has rescored the soundtrack to Fritz Lang’s 1927 film, Metropolis, a la Giorgio Moroder and performed with orchestras, like Craig, but what sets him apart is his ability to run a business with unflinching integrity. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Mills’ Axis records and Tamara Warren wanted to find out the secret to running an independent label for so long. Via Forbes:

Sensing the storm before it arrived, we tactfully scaled back on certain aspects in marketing and promotion. While at the same time, increased the amount of product, but reduced the amount of manufacturing. Basically, giving the customer more limited editions things to buy, but making less of it. Essentially, our bottom line sales remained the same through the worst part of the recession. Also, we narrowed the focus of the nature of our releases down to only a few key subjects: space, space travel and UFOs. All releases revolve around these subjects. Mainly because I have a natural keen interest, but more importantly, because these are subjects in which we think will become more commonly discussed in the near future and our label would relate to it as a advanced source.

Surviving the recession by focusing on UFOs as subject matter? If anyone could do it, it’s Jeff Mills. Check out part one of his classic “Purpose Maker” mix below.

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