by Sabrina Sexton Weil
In anticipation of Terrence Parker's return to Atlanta on February 26 at the Atrium, we spoke with the prolific musician and dj on his beginnings, his influences, and technology.
Lunar: How did you get started in music?
Terrence: I started back in 1978 doing what we called "pause button mixes" on my cassette deck. Although I was only 10 years old at the time, I was always into music. I would go to the record shop with my older brother every Saturday and by 45's and LP's. During that time, a good friend of mine named Andre Johnson and I would sit on his parents front porch and create rhythms and songs using coffee cans and recording them on our small boom box tape recorder.
I began to learn how to mix records when I was 12 years old while inspired by DJ GrandMaster Flash and watching the older guys around the neighborhood like Lenny Burnett and Mike Clark of Direct Drive Productions. I dj'd my first party in the summer of 1982 when I was 14 years old.
Later, when I was in the tenth grade in high school, I began to work in our high school radio station where I was an on-air personality and performed my first on-air dj mix show. By the time I was a senior at Southfield High School, I was the music director of the station, while at the same time having the number one rated show of all the high school radio programs in Michigan.
During my senior year, my cousin let me borrow one of her keyboards. I then began teaching myself to play. I began to make tracks for my friend from childhood (Andre Johnson) who was building a name for himself as a rapper. We would use the studio at the radio station to record our ideas.
One thing led to another, and I soon released my first record under the name Separate Minds with Mark Kinchen (also his first record) and Trackmaster Lou Robinson (aka Scan 7).
Andre Johnson is still my best friend as well as my business partner (he's an attorney in Atlanta).
Lunar: Can you describe your current sound?
Terrence: Although people like to put me in the house music category, I personally feel that I just make music without a specific label or identity. I've always enjoyed listening to and making all kinds of music. I know that the house productions I make are quite unique simply because I use different elements beyond the "traditional" sounds often used. I also focus on melodies and rhythms heavily in my music (chord arrangement and structures, etc.).
Lunar: What was the evolution from your beginnings to the sound you have today?
Terrence: A good portion has to do with getting better music equipment (better sounds, better recording techniques, etc.). Lunar: Who or what are your influences?
Terrence: Wow George Clinton (Parliament/Funkadelic/Brides of Funkenstein/Parlet), Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, The Motown Sound, The Philly Sound, James Brown, GrandMaster Flash, Busy Bee, Funky Four + 1, all old school hip hop, Chic (Edwards & Rogers), The Bee Gees (and the whole disco era), all gospel music, The Smiths, The The, Skinny Puppies, early U2, early Depeche Mode, early New Order, Front 242, Genesis, Kate Bush, Prince, Micheal Jackson, Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Jesse Saunders, Marshal Jefferson, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Matt Warren, Julian Jumpin' Perez, Bad Boy Bill, Ralphie Rosario, and of course, local Detroit djs like Jeff Mills, Ray Berry, Al Ester, Mike Clark, Darryl Shannon, Joe Boyer, Ken Collier, Reckless Ron Cook, Gary Chandler, John Johnson, etc., etc....
Lunar: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Terrence: Watching people react to my music and my djing!
Lunar: How often are you on the road?
Terrence: Almost every weekend.
Lunar: What are your favorite cities to play in?
Terrence: In America Detroit (for the people only); Columbus, Ohio; Iowa City, Iowa; Atlanta, Georgia); and San Francisco, California. Outside America Toronto, Canada; Muenster, Germany; Dresden, Germany; Cologne/Koln, Germany; Kassel, Germany; Herford, Germany); Mallorca, Spain; Paris, France; and Birmingham, England.
Lunar: You utilize e-mail to communicate with your fans. How do you think this has affected your career?
Terrence: It has been a most effective way to communicate with all of my friends and fans throughout the world.
Lunar: How do you think technology will change our scene in the next ten years?
Terrence: With MP3's and other new technologies, I feel it's going to make the way we now receive music completely change in the same way cds revolutionized the change from vinyl with the general consumer.
Lunar: What are your current projects?
Terrence: I have just finished my new album/cd project entitled "TP2K" which will be available in a special way very soon. Plus I have new remixes of "Loves Got Me High," and releases from other artists coming soon.
Lunar: What are your interests outside of music?
Terrence: I'm a huge fan of boxing and basketball. I'm also into setting up aquariums and watching fish.
Lunar: Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know about you?
Terrence: I am looking forward to seeing all of my friends and fans in Atlanta. I always have a great time in ATL!!!!
Detroit After Dark
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