Axis Records represents the record label operated by Jeff Mills which releases most of his work. First established in New York in 1991, Axis moved shop to Chicago just a few years later and with over 10 years in the business things continue to climb.
Mills’ history, productions, experiments, and innovations have been closely documented since the early 1990s, but of the pool of second-wave Detroit techno producers that he is associated with—Carl Craig, Underground Resistance—he is the one that has always remained slightly beyond reach. “Otherwordly” and “alien-esque” are words that still preface his name, and an ongoing obsession with deep space and the outer cosmos has permeated his vast body of work.
One of the mainstays of his career has been Axis Records, which, save appearances from peers Robert Hood and Claude Young, has served primarily as an outlet for Mills and his concepts—from the seminal track “Casa” in 1995, through the controversial and expansive Exhibitionist mix of 2004, to the most recent development, Alpha Centauri, a visual media sub-brand that will focus solely on experimental film.
The 20th anniversary release of Axis, Sequence, is as much a celebration of Mills himself as it is of the label, and the complete physical product is designed with the care and attention you would expect, including a 320-page book and USB stick. The digital version of Sequence—a collection of 24 classic tracks—is available exclusively on Beatport this week, and to mark the occasion we asked Mills a handful of questions about the label’s history and future. As was to be expected, we got more than we asked for with his answers: his thoughts on “future human scenarios,” his 30-year-cycle theory, and some insight into the official retirement of his DJ alias, The Wizard.
Beside the lefendary imprint Axis, Jeff Mills also set up Axis's sub-labels Purpose Maker, Tomorrow, and 6277, all aiming for a more minimal sound than most of the techno being produced in those years.