It’s nearing the end of Last Night A DJ Saved My Soul, a party devoted to exploring the time-honoured connections between the club and the church, between rhythm and religion. Held at New York dance emporium Output, the affair has already seen rapturous sessions from house belter Kenny Bobien, Ann Nesby of the gospel-oriented Sounds of Blackness ensemble, and the Joubert Singers (of ‘Stand On The Word’ fame), among others. In fact the crowd is visibly spent, ready to call it a night. But then the lights dim and a thumping house beat, funky yet driving, draws attention toward the booth.
Barely visible in the darkness are a pair of figures, both dressed in black. After a while, we can make out the taller of the two, the pioneering Motor City techno minimalist Robert Hood. The smaller one is Hood’s 19-year-old daughter, Lyric. Only a clued-up few seem aware of her identity tonight, but soon, everyone with an ear for rock-solid, foot-stomping house will know: she’s now a full-fledged partner in Floorplan, the persona of techno legend Robert Hood that’s reserved for his housier, more spiritual tracks, and not only travels the world to DJ alongside her revered dad, but serves as co-producer on Floorplan’s new album ‘Victorious,’ released on Hood’s long-running M-Plant label.
Mid-morning the day after the party, father and daughter are sitting in the lobby of a downtown Brooklyn hotel. Robert, of course, has a seriously crucial musical biography. As the 80s morphed into the 90s, the Detroit native joined forces with Jeff Mills and Mad Mike Banks as part of the militant techno crew Underground Resistance; working on his own, he pioneered the very idea of minimal techno via 1994’s ‘Minimal Nation’ LP, he’s spent the years since building a discography of machine-age tracks that range in feel from exacting and steely to rich and jazzy; and he’s generally considered one of the bedrocks of electronic club music as we know it. He’s dressed in a similarly dark-hued T-shirt and jeans to the night before, and speaks in a voice that treads the line between deadly serious and warmly welcoming. Lyric is a bit more colourful; she’s sporting a blazing-pink terrycloth jumpsuit and a sparkly Hello Kitty pendant. She’s full of smiles, but quiet and polite to a fault, her father repeatedly encouraging her to speak up in conversation.