Kelli Hand was well known in the electronic music community for her influential alias K-Hand.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential pioneers of Detroit techno, her sad passing was confirmed on August 3rd by friends who posted the news on social media.
Many nicknamed her the “First Lady Of Detroit Techno” because of her work as a producer, label boss and DJ. She was also acknowledged by her home city of Detroit in 2017 when she was awarded a Testimonial Resolution certificate by the city council, which listed her “many accomplishments in the male-dominated industry of electronic music”.
She was born in Detroit, which is based in the state of Michigan, and is the city globally acknowledged for being the birthplace of techno. She also had clubbing experiences at New York’s Paradise Garage and Chicago’s Muzic Box, which were iconic institutes that played instrumental roles in the development of electronic music culture.
Inspired by Detroit’s music scene and those clubbing experiences, Kelli Hand set up her own label called UK House Music, which was the outlet for her own early productions.
Her early production work was assisted by fellow Detroit residents Robert Hood and Mike Clarke (Agent-X) who both helped with her debut EP called ‘Think About It’, which was released under the alias of Etat Solide. She also collaborated with Claude Young under their shared alias of Rhythm Formation.
In 1990 she changed the name of her record label to Acacia Records, and also put out some tracks on Belgian based label Global Cuts. Come the mid-’90s, she had broken onto the international scene and started to release on influential labels such as UK label Warp, and dropped her debut album ‘On A Journey’ on Germany’s Studio !K7.
She became a regular performer on the European club scene and had a close connection to Germany where she had a large fan base.
In the later years of her career, she started to work with Nina Kraviz’s label ‘трип’ and played live sets as well as recorded podcasts from brands ranging from Dekmantel to Boiler Room.
More than just an ambassador for women in electronic music, she was someone who helped grow the house techno genres as a whole.