RA.874 Parrish Smith

  • Published
    Mar 5, 2023
  • Filesize
    216 MB
  • Length
  • Future punk from the Dutch-Surinamese artist.
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  • "I am going to take you on a ride where I will challenge you to back down or go with me," Parrish Smith says in the interview below. "If you don't like to do this, and you see a glimpse of me, you will dislike me. But the second time it happens again, I will be there to change your mind again, just to be challenged." It's a confident idea that goes with an unusually confrontational RA Podcast, a mix that represents a truly free spirit in the European dance scene. Smith, who also moonlights in the band Volition Immanent with fellow Dutch trailblazer Mark Knekelhuis, makes and plays hard, aggressive techno. But instead of gabber BPMs and overdriven kick drums, he directly incorporates ideas, sounds and influences from rock, punk and metal, a tricky combination that he nails like few others have been able to. (Just check his album Light, Cruel & Vain.) Case in point: this mix blends Regis, Tzusing and Playboi Carti with Sepultura, Juno Reactor and Celldweller. It's a journey to the end of aesthetics, where opposites don't attract so much as crash and melt into each other. It's a fierce hour-and-a-half but never quite overbearing or overwhelming, gracefully weaving in and out of chaos like the work of someone who knows the real impact and art of heavy music. What have you been up to recently? I've been developing my style from out the noise, industrial and punk electronics for almost eight years now. I'm finally at a place where I can say I made a fruitful breeding ground where I can go in many directions without losing my aesthetic. My aesthetic is also an always growing and developing sound which means I need to reflect on what I’m doing day by day. My debut album Light, Cruel & Vain has been released last year on Dekmantel and the album was built in multiple stages where it's possible to dissect every track into different versions. Also, the production process has multiple stages and this results in original ambient, instrumental versions of the final songs. All the guitar parts were by frequent collaborators Sofiane Brahmi and Javier Vivancos. I'm working with Dekmantel to release an alternate LP including the material alongside two experimental video albums I have recorded in the process with Hittegolf Studio and Nikki Hock. Roots for me are fundamental as I'm one of the few, or first, Dutch-Surinamese artists with an experimental background in noise, industrial and punk music. I've been assigned by Tropenmuseum and Het Beeld & Geluid Instituut Netherlands to make an album about my roots with unheard, sound ethnography archive—material from Suriname, China and India. This will result in a special limited edition album release including an event that should inspire others with a post-colonial background that there is enough room to dive into the experimentalist niches for us and that we do not need to choose the mainstream paths society teaches us. For the event I'm curating a program where I want to include artists with a post-colonial background who hold a specific niche in their area of arts. I'm already working with influential (Dutch)-Surinamese artists like Natasja Kensmil and Orpheu The Wizard. There is a story to tell and there is room to do that as long as someone creates the space for it. How and where was the mix recorded? And can you tell us the idea behind it? The mix was recorded at studio of the lovely crew StrandedFM, Utrecht. A simple setup with two CDJs + DJM mixer, I don't use the FX because I only want to focus on the mix and selections. I wanted to use the mic, but sometimes less is more and just using one trick can be gimmicky. I'm always searching and researching sound within different genres, and I find history important. This comes with developing my sound every year, hoping to challenge the listeners and myself. My motto has always been that being on the edge of failing is one step closer to succeeding. Certain elements of genres get picked and will be recycled in something new. I needed a future punk sound in techno that challenges mainstream narratives of the current techno sphere. I think minimalism and direct sounds will be very relevant in the years coming, with a rebellious tone of sound. The mix is a build up of punk minimalism through harder contemporary club music with my personal rock and punk influences. By challenging, you can have a transcendental feeling on the most dark and weird stuff. Every section needs to have a link with certain sections and parts of the mix, you can find this in small elements because it's important to find things that link up when you're playing an eclectic set while maintaining a story line. In my sets there will always be subjects that question our world, and if you do that you need to be diverse in track selection as well because an artist from simply put, the East or the West can have a different view of their environment that you'll hear in their music. So I always play music from artists and bands who represent different backgrounds. Do you feel like it's challenging to present metal or punk music/ aesthetics in with dance music? What is challenging the most is to be yourself within the music industry. Now contemplating about that, it became me making the hard choices to follow my own path and to see suffering as the truth of my journey. Using this pain I have and the joy that comes out of the acceptance made me more outspoken and rebellious than ever. Because I see very clearly that things that are wrong and good. And I don't back down from telling the truth. I think how my life was and as it is now, the punk and metal attitude came to me. For me, how I am and how I have been growing the aesthetics and mind state, they are me and that the challenge will be how hard I will work for my art to be seen and heard by the people. Has that changed at all with the recent proliferation of super hard and fast techno? I also touch grounds with those kinds of parties. I'm in a unique position where I still keep playing underground parties and the other week a bigger techno event. Furthermore, I think due to the commercialization of dance and now specifically techno music, it makes me realize even more how important it is to keep on building on your own craft. Also, I like that to show to the people as a reaction, not to the music but just for finding your authentic self which will be the start of a unique creation. The words, like, say, bigger, better, faster, stronger are the definitions of our era. In this fast, ever-changing world it's very hard to be yourself and that’s what I keep repeating. As long as you do is authentic and came from your heart, I don't really care what kind of music is at the top game. But how the top game is being played now it erases culture, and it erases the norms and values of a healthy culture where the individual is unique within the circle. We shouldn't be afraid to break and step out of your circle to explore life outside your borders. For the ones who do that, and you will come across what I'm doing, I am going to take you on a ride where I will challenge you to back down or go with me. If you don't like to do this, and you see a glimpse of me, you will dislike me. But the second time it happens again, I will be there to change your mind again, just to be challenged. You mentioned that you're the first artist of your background to make music that touches on both these worlds. What does your heritage mean to you or bring to the music, and how it will that come out musically on the album you're working on? Being one of the first is a big statement, but I had to say it. I need other people to read this and say, 'aye you are so wrong' or, 'wow he really is one of the few.' People from a non-privileged background following steps in the niches of art have a high chance to fade into obscurity as there is no to little market for it. That’s why I want to build my own, and it's not easy, but as I have something to tell others will have that too. When I discovered, for example, Urban Dance Squad, I was perplexed because for me it's like history being written having a Surinamese rock vocalist, but why did nobody ever tell me this? Unfortunate but true, they are being faded into obscurity. With all the resources we have now, I'm happy to talk and stand for this because I feel the time is right and a new generation of people are really wanting to listen. Heritage and roots mean a lot. It's what inspires me to make music. It makes me learn more about the power structures in the world and how we became us in this point of time. I never thought my roots and upbringing would play such a big part of me now. My uncles from Suriname had a small garage band playing Jimi Hendrix-style songs, and who though I ever would make or play rock influenced music within dance? My father would always school me and ask questions about life, including to learn about Suriname and the history with The Netherlands. It was how I grew up and how life came to and how I treated it, made me converting this all into music. Probably, I had the difficulty to talk about it, so I had to find another way to talk. That was music. The machines were sort of my gateways to let through what has been stuck. All the madness and angriness. A higher belief always plays an important role, it's not even a role it what I feel that surrounds me. It's the gateway where I channel anything what I need, to create something new with the happenings in the physical. My upbringing and our culture are mind to mind with the spiritual world. It is just there, but I never want to lose it, so I retain it by believing in it. It is one of the places where I reach for power. The other place is here, and it should translate into something physical we all should hear. But for the definite substance and how this all will come out in the new albums. I would like to keep that in the mystery. That's where the surprises happen, whether it's bad or good. What's one club or party that had a major impact on you as an artist? I have to break the rule. It was the previous old and dirty Doka basement with their Knekelhuis parties. Awakenings, Gashouder around 2010 to 2014, seeing Jeff Mills, Surgeon and Cristian Varela. At last that will be Trouw, Amsterdam around the same years. Going there hearing Ron Trent, Traxx, Theo Parrish, ROD. These DJs inspired me to dig deeper into my own material and craft after I started in 2013 and 2014 to DJ and produce. What's one social or political cause you want the world to pay more attention to? I don't really have a definite answer to this, I can only interpret the world as it is. But maybe the world changed too quickly. We are in a hurry to keep up, and we don't have the time to think clearly anymore at a point that we aren't the problem-solving humans like we need to be, and that's when it's time to start thinking. Freedom of thought is very important in this to create critical questions on underlying power and social structures because we keep getting bombarded by audiovisual media with subliminal messaging how we should or can think or what we should or can like. What I think is to select a topic that touches our current fundamentals of a functional life within our ideology, enough to stir up the public and raise important questions, without having the utopian dreams you'll be accused of. Our life is getting more and more entangled with the digital sphere. Which I actually love because I'm a sci-fi freak, but it also raises problems. What I'm thinking about now is that the digital world is transitioning into the hyper-digital world, with the eradication of authenticity due to viewing the people as just consumers. This got me questioning. Should personal happiness be tied to how much money you earn or how many likes you have? Do you need to accept the roles that society or the digital universe imposes on you? Or do you want to recreate yourself by finding your own identity by accepting your flaws and own little characteristic gestures? A life where you can be in charge of your own image, without others letting it determine it for you? Do we believe to be successful, we need to grow bigger? Bigger things, bigger crowds, bigger fees? I think the key lies in how we grow. So my needs are questions that need to be answered before I have an answer where we can pay attention to. What are you looking forward to in the near future? I'm working hard day by day to just be myself in a fast, consumerist world. Slowing down time is important. The person I am just hopes to inspire others with a similar background who didn't have any resources to follow their own path. And the time hopefully comes that there will be more role models for the people in the trenches who want to focus in the niches of art. I look forward to reaching my goals as a performing artist, DJ and band member of Volition Immanent. Also, I kickstarted the Parrish Smith live shows with my own band and the first show will be at Dekmantel Festival.
  • Tracklist
      Acidic Male - Slowly Decomposing Maelstrom & Louisahhh - America Pink Floyd - Open Up (Sabres of Paradise I Hate Pink Floyd Mix) Regis - Killing European Sons Function - Montage (Christian Wünsch Remix) Headroom - Exu Headroom - Utop BROKEN RULES - Dirt Box (Brad Lee Remix) Wetworks - I Am not A God Gabriel Palomo - Phaze1 DJ Bold - White Widow RVSSIA - Unconditional Reflex [Unreleased] Duran Duran - Girls On Film (Marie Vaunt Remix) Praga Khan - Luv U Still Woodkid - Iron (Malware Edit) Tzusing - ??? (Filial Endure Ruthless) Juno Reactor - Navras (Bliss Remix) Celldweller - Switchback (GMS Remix) Flymeon - Paris Acid City Tim Schuldt - Animatronic Paratto - Acid Beat VRTLHVN - 526Reflux034 Dima - The Thing Inside Brad Lee - Gama Waves (Chainsmoker's Photon Energy mix) Untitled - Affro Cave - Street Carnival 2007 Edition (Cave 2007 Remix) Sepultura - Chaos AD (Tom Morello Version) Gayle San, Tube-Tech - Funk It Up (Part 2) Tube-Tech - Lovegun Loaded (Original Mix) 16VOLT - Veins Atari Teenage Riot - Activate Slikback - KARST Ophidian - Black Micropoint - Time Out Celldweller - Own Little World (Sysex Remix) Deftones - Rx Queen [Salva Remix] Playboi Carti - Rockstar Made (Edit) Sevdaliza - World Control [Unreleased] REALICIDE - Not Enough (Edit)