Ahead of his new album, the Detroit DJ institution blesses us with a live mix and chat about the city's future.
Often known simply by the letters "TP," Terrence Parker has a firm place in DJ lore—and for good reason. Beyond the fact he DJs using an actual telephone handset, Parker has been one who's pushed the bar on the technical capabilities of CDJ technology, inserting the physicality of scratching, beat-juggling and live vocal collaborations into his house sets. He's also been responsible for a laundry list of delightful dancefloor hits like 1996's "Love Is Got Me High" and "Something' Here," and he continues to tirelessly release music and albums into the world year after year.
Parker has two albums on the way in 2017: GOD Loves Detroit dropping later this month on Detroit's seminal Planet E, which feature collaborations with vocalist and producer Merachka, as well as Motor City Life, on Paris' Goldmin later in this year. As their names would suggest, the albums are both centered around Parker's hometown of Detroit. The first LP focuses on the city's longtime economic struggle, as well as how they've been seen in the world and country's public eye throughout their oft-turbulent journey.
"The concept of the album came first in 2013," said Parker in the album's press release. "By this time the city of Detroit had just filled bankruptcy, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy debt filing in US history. The city was the subject of jokes on late night television, and ridiculed globally. I couldn't help but feel GOD loves Detroit and must be allowing this for a reason. As the city began to slowly turn around I too was inspired to create a collection of songs that would ultimately make up the album."
Religious overtones also lace the album's soulful house rhythms, peppered by Merachaka's own powerful vocals. Ahead of the album's release on June 30, Parker blessed us with a mix recorded live at a recent party at Pari's famed Rex Club. He also answered a few questions below about the album, Detroit's journey, and spirituality in house music.
THUMP: How are we meant to enjoy the mix? What's the perfect setting?
Terrence Parker: This mix is good for listening anywhere. However I would suggest listening in your car, or riding a bike. I think it is perfect motivation for driving or bike riding.
Is synesthesia a real thing and if so, what color is this mix?
I don't know much about synesthesia. However if I were to attach a sensation to this mix it would be a bright light seen as if one were coming out of a dark tunnel.
Was there any specific concept to the mix/set?
Not really. I just enjoy the art of DJing.
Do you have a favorite moment on the mix? What was the party like?
The party at The Rex Club was amazing! My favorite part of the mix is where I perform a beat juggle routine of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" mixed with Robert Hood's (a.ka Floorplan) "Never Grow Old" and DJ Mo Reese's "Pulsar." I use 4 CDJs all at the same time to make this routine.
There seem to be quite a few underlying religious themes flowing through the album—from the title to a couple of the tracks. Can you expand on how you think about religion and/or any sort of higher power often when producing your music and DJing? Is there room for that on the dancefloor you think?
For me it's not about religion. By definition, one can religiously get a latte from Starbucks every morning at 9AM. It is about a relationship with GOD. Every good thing that happens in my life which includes each opportunity to DJ at events throughout the world all comes from GOD. It's not to say that bad things will not happen because the rain from storms fall on everyone. Instead it's knowing that GOD will bring me through the storm to see the sun shine again.
Often times people are coming to the clubs and festivals to enjoy and escape the day to day pressures of life. Through music I play, or the way I play the music, or just the fact that I am standing in the booth, I hope this would be a testimony for all to see if GOD loves me giving me the strength to stand, HE also loves them and will give them the strength to stand also.
You've obviously been around to see Detroit go through a lot of difficult moments throughout your life and career. What do you think about the current status of the city and why did now seem like a good time to make an album themed around it?
Life is sometimes like a boxing match. One fighter can be losing badly throughout the fight. But then suddenly in last round when it seems certain he will lose, he throws a punch to knock out his opponent to comeback and win the fight. Don't count Detroit out yet because the knockout punch is coming.
This album is my own personal motivation which I share with my entire Detroit city family and the world to say do not give up because GOD is with us and despite all opposition we will have the ultimate victory. Currently there is a growing momentum in the economic, social, and creative aspects of life in Detroit with it's wide diversity of people from all nationalities living here.
What do you think it is about the city of Detroit and its people that are so resilient?
The Detroit experience is the human experience. When times are difficult, the good in people out weighs the evil. Struggle is part of life but it is coming together in the struggle that gives us our strength. Look at the tragic and senseless attack in Manchester UK and how the people came together standing strong loving each other.
There str countless examples like this around the world. Not to compare equally the senseless loss of life to economic depression. People in Detroit are battling a different kind of evil but it is evil none the less. My point is the human race is resilient and we shall overcome!
What do you think is next for the city and its community?