Sound Signature Radio Show Theo Parrish
As already announced: Carhartt WIP proudly supports the Europe tour of Theo Parrish and his brand-new live band. The tour gets accompanied by an exclusive Carhartt WIP Radio show mixed by Theo Parrish - the Chicago born Detroit resident that started to spin and produce tracks in 1986. After he studied art he moved to Detroit in 1994 where he began to be involved in the city's underground music scene. With his unique and dynamic sets he quickly gained worldwide attention. In 1997 he launched his very own label Sound Signature that till today is globally famed for its dance not dance music full of heavy jazz, funk, soul and beyond influences. Also his Carhartt WIP Radio show features only Sound Signature grooves. The mix itself was made some years ago and features works made without the use of digital audio work stations. In fact it was made before Theo even had an MPC and the main device he used was the E-mu SP1200 drum machine.To get some information on the tour, the mix and things beyond we had a quick chat with Theo Parrish.
Theo, you are on tour with a freshly formed live band. Who is part of it?
Theo Parrish: We have Amp Fiddler on keys. Mr Mensah on bass and supplementary keys, Duminie Deporres on guitar, Myele Manzanza on drums and Ideeyah on main vocals. I will be on beats, keys, vocals and general Teddyness. We also have the dynamic element, the dancers, being Gehrik, Jade, Mai Le and Dominique. I call us The Unit.
How can we imagine the dance choreography?
Theo Parrish: You can't imagine it really. It's a style of dance born in the underground clubs of Detroit via Mr Gehrik Mohr. It differs from the house dance styles of NYC and other regions. He was there before I had a DJ/label career. I asked Gehrik to tap the shoulders of some other badasses from across the world, to help display his unique style.
What will be the musical program of your show: new material, classics from your own catalogue or even some cover versions?
Theo Parrish: All of the above plus more...
If you could be in any band, living or dead, for a day which band would it be?
Theo Parrish: There are actually four and in no particular order it goes: 1972 James Brown touring band, I'm on cow bell but I'd insist on being the engineer to let those songs stretch out for another 15 minutes - all of them. 1977 Parliament Funkadelic. I'd be on background vocals and effects. And Duke Ellington's band for the pure chance to be around that much precision. And WAR for the chance to perform Galaxy and Cisco Kid. I'll stop at four...
What exciting stuff do you have in the pipeline currently? Any plans for a new album or 12inch?
Theo Parrish: Just dropped Footwork 12" and my new album is coming up. American Intelligence. It's been about 7 years since I did one with a proper release so I'm excited. After that Sound Signature has releases from Dego, Leron Carson, Kai Alce & Byron and Howard Thomas.
Recently you did a Detroit sidewalk sale which included also a dance workshop. What did you want to accomplish with this event and how was it?
Theo Parrish: With the sidewalk sale I wanted to bridge the energy of competitive dance with the music. The best way to do that is through the people that move and those that serve the tunes. Similar to what I'm doing with the live tour. I collaborated with my man Gehrik and Jade the dancers that feature in the footwork video on the event. So it was full circle. Doing the side walk sale was also a chance to meet supporters and be present during the festival. It was pure fun.
The Sound Signature mix for Carhartt WIP Radio was made as a lunch break mix back in 1997. Can you tell us the story behind?
Theo Parrish: The mix I did emulates what we used to call a mini mix, popular in Chicago when I was in High School. Cause you could listen to the whole mix during lunch time which was usually a half hour. Competing radio stations had formats just for the kids who were listening to the mix shows during their lunch breaks so they were also known as Hot Lunch Mixes. There was never a track list - you had to go ask the older kids who knew DJs if you liked it and wanted the Track ID. This Minimix was made of my early Sound Signature releases. All the tracks made until this point was using absolutely no digital audio work stations. In fact it was before I had an MPC. The main device used was the SP1200. A rare mix of a rare time with music made in ways I don't make anymore. For now...