Steven Sowers, a co-founder of all-important techno club Motor Detroit, passed away on July 30th, 2020 according to reports on social media. His cause of death has not been disclosed at the time of writing.
Sowers’ death especially came as a shock to his friends and business associated as he was known to be in overall good health. Detroit artists like Terrence Parker, Alan Oldham, and Drivetrain paid their respects on social media.
#RIP to our old friend, ex-Motor Detroit owner and legend Steven Sowers. The best of the best. Nobody had a bad thing to say about this man. Healthy by all accounts. Unbelievable.
— Blessed-1000 (@alan_oldham) July 30, 2020
Remembering Steven Sowers
Prior to Motor’s grand opening (under its original name, Motor Lounge), techno had little in the way of dedicated clubs in the city. Alongside Dan Sordyl, Sowers founded the club in 1996. The space they used was technically in Hamtramck, a small city almost entirely surrounded by Detroit, after 1995 riots hurt nightlife in Detroit proper.
In addition to such seminal Detroit techno figures a Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins, Motor bookings ranged from Kraftwerk to Smashing Pumpkins according to Red Bull Music Academy. Billboard named the club #13 in their 2015 article, “The 25 Greatest Dance Clubs of All Time.”
Tom Thewes, a co-founder of Detroit Electronic Music Festival (now known as Movement Electronic Music Festival) once said, “Without the Help of Steven Sowers, the owner of Motor Lounge Detroit, not only would we have not had been able to have a successful festival, but there would not have been a festival at all. Motor Detroit Laid the foundation and groundwork for the Detroit Electronic Music Festival.”
Steven Sowers also worked in real estate and fashion as well as writing and taking photos for auto racing publications.