Last year we had the privilege of playing host to one of the few house legends, a DJ who was one of the innovators of the genre back before many of us were even born.
Terrence Parker is house music in many respects, a DJ whose unbelievable tactical nous behind the turntables, or these days four CDJs, has provided inspiration for artists in Detroit and around the world for over 20 years from the likes of Kenny Larkin and MK to Kyle Hall.
There’s no doubting Terrence’s classic nineties house records will live on forever, such is the timeless nature of the recordings. His massively underrated Seven Grand House Authority project was responsible for some of the best underground house music of that time. Recently an alignment with Carl Craig’s Planet E imprint has kicked his already legendary career into yet another gear. On top of mixing up our 104th addition to the series, we spoke to the International DJ Extraordinaire about how he keeps the fire burning, and how things have changed in his DJing and production over the years.
What have you been up to recently? What were some of the highlights of your summer?
I’ve been working on various remix projects for several labels, but most of my attention has been on completing my album for Planet E, and working with new artists on my Parker Music Works label. One of the highlights from this past summer was DJing at the Movement Festival here in Detroit. It was an amazing feeling to play in front of such a warm crowd of people in my home city!
I know you recently worked with Carl Craig to release your Finally (Baby Be Mine) EP on his label Planet E. What can you tell us about that experience, and how did it all come about?
One day I was talking with Derrick May about how I was shopping my new album project to a few European labels. Derrick suggested I talk to Carl. I agreed with Derrick that it would be great to have my album released on a label based in Detroit and who better than with Carl’s Planet E imprint. So I met with Carl, let him listen to some of my latest work, and he liked it enough to want to release it on his label. I consider this an honor because I respect both Derrick & Carl tremendously.
Last year when you toured Australia I think people were pretty blown away by your energy and passion for the craft. Has there been a time where that has ever wavered? How do you continue to keep the fire in the belly more than 20 years on?
Yes there have been many times when I have been ready to completely walk away from DJing and music because of the general stress of dealing with certain people, or bad situations. Somehow God always brings me back through the music. This is why I keep going and moving forward.
Many people obviously came to know your music through your classic house releases in the 90’s… How has your production style changed from then to now? Do you still run some hardware or have you moved to completely digital setup these days?
My set up is completely digital like that of most producers these days. Today I just focus on making the music I feel without limitations of categories. I may create a techno track today, a house track tomorrow, or a hip hop track the following day. I just make what I feel. I’ve always been know for house music but I’ve made a lot of techno and hip hop.
I know that these days you use 4 CD-J 2000’s whilst performing.. From playing vinyl for so many years, was that a tough decision to make? What were the main advantages for you in moving to the CD-J’s, and what have you been able to add to the set that you couldn’t with vinyl?
I love playing vinyl but I was forced into making the switch to a digital format. Most clubs in various parts of the world are now set up strictly for a digital presentation (CDJs, Laptop, Serato, Traktor Scratch, etc). After 9/11 many airlines changed their carry-on bag policy so I couldn’t bring my record bags on the plane with me. But it was after a trip to Russia when Lufthansa charged me over $300 USD for the weight of my record bags, I decided I had to make the switch.
I wasn’t comfortable using Serato or other laptop software because I’ve seen several DJs have issues with their laptop crashing during the show. So I decided CDs where the best option for me. I like to use 4 CDJ decks because as I mix I find myself moving faster than the load time of the CDJ. So I like to use 4 so I may quickly move from one track to the next.
You have performed in 27 countries and more than 200 cities, which is an incredible achievement! What or where have been some of the strangest or most memorable places you have played?
They all have been memorable in their own way. However the places that stand out the most would be Japan, Russia, Hungry, Israel, Australia, Germany, Romania and Italy.
What have you come up with for this podcast? Who are some of the artists that feature in the mix?
This mix is a blend of music ranging from R&B to House to Minimal Techno. The mix features music from one of my new Detroit artists known as Merachka. I also have music from friends like Richie Hawtin. I like to mix several styles together to create a special vibe.
What else do you have coming up to round out the year?
Later this year I will release a 2nd set of remixes by Carl Craig & Louie Vega for Finally on Planet E. My album entitled Life On The Back 9 will be released on Planet E in January 2014. I also have new music coming from Merachka, DJ Mo Reese, along with other artists from my Parker Music Works label. While I really enjoy DJing, I’m focusing more on the music.