Man Parrish (Q&A)

manWhere did you first hear Electronic music and who initially inspired you to produce music of your own?

My very first recollection of electronic music with some very early Stockhausen and experimental oscillator to tape music back in the late 1960s.  Later on, things like Kraftwerk with autobahn, and Jean Michel Jarre with Oxygene

Can you tell about the New York club scene around the time you started to release music: which clubs you went to, what DJ’s you liked and the type of music they were playing?

There were basically two different kinds of clubs when I was going out. Disco and rock or new wave clubs.  Funny you ask me about what DJs… There were no “DJs” in that time period. There was no DJ culture until the mid 80s. Dance clubs of course had DJs, but they were usually unknown, or a big deal was never made out of it. Dance Clubs ranged everything from the club where they filmed Saturday night fever that I want to, to studio 54, where I performed twice,  came down from the ceiling, and Madonna was MY opening act !

The rock ‘n roll clubs for places like Dane-a-Teria, Mudd Club, Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s Where I saw many then unknown acts, back in those days like, Arrowsmith, Bruce Springsteen, Devo, Blondie, Talking Heads, Joan Jett and the Runaways, The Cars, And I can go on and on…

The dance clubs was strictly disco music, the rock ‘n roll clubs didn’t have DJs, they had live shows, and in between the acts, they put some cassette tape on, at a low-volume to keep some music running in the room. The new wave clubs, of course played all that great 80s music that we all love and we got to dance to.

On your first album Man Parish (1982) you have a track called Techno Trax. Which must be one of the first uses of the term?

Yeah, I guess so! Also hip-hop bebop was one of the first mainstream commercial uses of the word hip-hop. So many people claim that I coined these phrases. y think? I know there have been other uses of the words around, but we were the first to  put it out there on records, as titles.

The album also contains the all time classic Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don’t Stop). Where did the inspiration come from to create that, and can you tell us about the instruments you used to make those defining sounds?

That first album except for a few overdubs was basically done in my bedroom on an eight track/channel Tascam tape recorder and mixer. Hip hop bebop was just basically me playing around with some sounds and grooves that then got developed into the track you here now. I basically had three synthesizers and the drum machine on that track. Prophet One (ProOne) Prophet 5, an Oberheim Expander Module and the 8 step analog sequencer that came with it, and of course the Roland 808 Drum Machine. You have to remember, this was all way before midi, and before computers! We had to do all kinds of tricks to synchronize the different tracks on tape to play at the same time… Everything from punching in and out of the track, overdubs, and using the 808 drum machine to send trigger pulses, via the rimshot pattern, to advance the analog sequencer to the next step. We basically wrote the sequencer rhythm part on the drum machine, and the sound of the rimshot pulsing would drive the analog sequencer. Remember we had no midi. We used something called “control voltages” to two oscillators back in those days. Basically it was a nightmare… LOL

Can you tell us about how the Hi Energy sound evolved? And how/ if you feel it went on to influence House Music in the eighties?

Most of the high-energy music came out of the gay clubs. People were into tracks like Georgia Moroder, and Donna Summers I Feel Love kind of sound.  As synthesizers became less expensive, and they ran about $5,000 to $10,000 back in those days, more people started to emulate that sound and high-energy surfaced. So of course house music came after it, and house music uses sequenced baselines and sequenced chord patterns, so it was an extremely huge influence.

What was it like to be managed by Tony De Fries (Bowie’s manager)? Any stories you’d care to mention?

Of course I was blinded by the light because he was Bowie’s manager. He got me a huge amount of money from the record label. The only problem is, he kept the money in his account, and none of it ever made it to mine, so he basically robbed me blind.  I was young and very naïve. I trusted him because of the success he had with Bowie, boy how I learned better! The other big problem is he was a “rock ‘n roll” manager and new nothing about the dance music business. He told me dance music would never get anywhere, and that I should stop all this “bullshit” and get a rock band and go on tour… So of course as Bowies famous manager, I listened to him. I went for singing lessons, and delivered a pop – rock record for the record label. They signed me as a dance act, and freaked out when I delivered an 80s pop rock record. The label dropped me, and since the money ran out, he dropped me as well. That same week my mom died, and since I had no income, I lost the loft that I was living in, and couldn’t pay the rent anymore. So, that was a very rough time!

You have a large collection of Synths etc. Which could you not live without?

Funny… What used to take me a room full of physical synthesizers, I now have as virtual computer plug-ins. I used to have a 24 track machine and board, now everything is basically done on my laptop or on my 12 core with virtual instruments. Of course I still love the old analog classics like my Arp 2600, my CS 80, Prophet 5, I even have that old Oberheim sound module but, they are all in virtual instrument form these days,  And are scientifically engineered to sound exactly the same down to the smallest detail.. I am now doing film scores and TV commercials as well. So I have a very large custom library of Film effects, Orchestral and Choir sounds that I love.

Man Parrish – Klaus Nomi Movie Trailer

‘A recent track I did for a car commercial… Think Blade Runner, or the year 2513 in your techno car. Enjoy and if you like it, comments are ALWAYS welcome ! – Thanx !’

Where can people hear you DJ? What type of music are you playing out?

As of this writing, I have a weekly party at an underground venue in New York. I’m also as of this writing booked as the closing act at the Bloc Festival in London, June 1st 2013. My biggest strengths in DJ sets are Elektro, good old school classic disco, and house music. But I can actually throw down some awesome Motown Funk, R-N-B and even gospel… LOL! Nothing like sending home a packed venue at the end of the night, clapping their hands, and walking out the door to some good old gospel music… Freaks people out in a good way!

Can you tell us about what projects you’re currently involved with, and what are your plans for 2013?

I am currently working on a few Film scores, and a few TV commercials. I’m also remixing a couple of dance projects, and I’m doing an album with this really cool piano player called Chad Lawson. He is a Steinway artist, and voted “piano player of the year. I’m doing completely different music than I would normally do with. It’s super chill and mellow without any beats in it. But it’s not ambient. It’s piano and synthesizer, orchestra, inquire and a very minimal way. I actually play it at night and fall asleep to it… LOL! That’s exactly what I wanted to achieve. Actually, the best way for people to listen to what I’m doing currently, and for free, is through my Facebook page, and on SoundCloud. I am listed as I have a secondary music listen page there with some cool stuff to listen to. Check my Facebook page, like, friend, or follow me and you will always get updates. If you want to listen to some more extended stuff and the most recent, then definitely SoundCloud is what you want to check out  And of course has some great old-school history stuff on that and some cool interviews.  I want to say thanks to everybody for reading this and thank you for being interested in giving me an interview. – Man Parrish

Man 2 Man meets Man Parrish ‘Male Stripper’  (US Original Mix) 1986

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