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Interview: Steve Parry

Liverpool born, Steve Parry has over 20 years in the music industry from beginning his career as a mobile DJ, playing at weddings and birthday parties. Nowadays you will find him trailing through various digital media’s to find some huge talents the best songs to play for their live sets. Richie Hawtin, Seth Troxler, John Digweed and Pete Tong have all sent their approval over to Parry and been more than happy with chosen tracks for them.

With an already successful label, SMP3 Music Management and recently launching his Selador project with good friend and business partner, Dave Seaman, big things are set to come for Parry. Underground House and Techno are the ultimate sounds from the label, as well as everything in between.

Features Writer, Larissa Wignall took a delve into the history of Steve Parry, how the music of Liverpool has changed throughout the years, from the days of your classic record store being a social gathering for DJ’s and the natural progression of artists of Danny Howells, Hernan Cattaneo, James Holden and James Zabiela to how they’ve developed today.

Steve, you have 20 years plus in the music business, what changes have you seen in this time and do you prefer the way things were back then to how it’s evolved today through technology?

I don’t think you can’t ever continue working in the industry if you’re overall perception was it’s not as good as it used to be. I think you have to embrace the fact that things change. I loved playing vinyl and recording my sets on cassette when I started DJing but things move on. Now I play from a USB stick and you can record a set on your laptop and I’m sure you’ll be able to do it all from your phone before we know it, with music streamed from WI-FI through the clouds.

Back in the day vinyl had musical pecking order of who got what and when. The world’s biggest managed to get an acetate of the track. The next tier of do’s got a test pressing, then the next set of lucky DJ’s got a promo copy and then eventually after the buzz was huge, the vinyl was officially released… that’s something that has really changed! The waiting for music thing, it’s all so instant now. Anybody can just about get anything they want. This in turn gives music a pretty short shelf life so technology, particularly the internet and MP3’s have been the main game changers since I started playing.

Although I must say, that one thing I did prefer back in the day was the way that record shops were a meeting place, a social gathering of DJ’s, no matter what their musical stature or tastes, it was a musical social hub, everybody with the same buzz about finding new music. That’s a bit sad that situation doesn’t really exist anymore but times change.

Hosting ‘The Red Zone’ on Juice FM, broadcasting mixes on John Digweed’s show ‘Transitions’ and Managing 3B record store, did you always know this was something that you wanted to do and did you find it difficult to break into the music industry?

It’s never been an easy nut to crack working in the music industry and it takes time. I’ve done most things music industry related to be honest. I started as a mobile disco DJ (I was 15 and a young looking one at that, so there was no way I was getting in any clubs), I learnt my craft, I practised doing radio shows, I bought music I liked with money I earned it. Then when I was 18 I was ready for clubs and bars and it developed from there.

The one I really wanted was the 3B job that landed in my lap (I had been shopping there for years previously and had been planting the seed!). Next was radio show for me and then it all intermingles, it all helps each other along. Gigs get better, you’re in the studio and the thing is, I always loved every bit of what I did and I think that’s the main thing about it being a long part of my life. I love it! It’s hard work but great fun and its constantly changing, every day!

Being a jack of all trades but in fields that all tie perfectly together; you have also been a Club Promoter. What do you think are the highlights to working with huge artists and incredible events?

Getting great DJ’s to come and play for you is brilliant. It’s nice to speak to people that you look up to and so booking them to play for you, your friends coming along and everybody has a great night. You get to play these parties too, which is very exciting.

It’s also nice to see DJ’s that you’ve booked rise through the ranks and becoming big successful names such Danny Howells, Hernan Cattaneo, James Holden and James Zabiela. They were all booked by me when I was promoting nights and were up and coming at the time. They’re all flying now and I still speak to them all, so that’s cool.

Also when you get to play at events like Bedrock with John Digweed who was my musical inspiration and he asks you to play his night… that’s just priceless! It’s what it is all about. Another was playing with Sasha (the first DJ that really blew my mind) in the Cream Courtyard (the room where I did loadssss of my clubbing)… now that’s special.

Obviously being from Liverpool and making a big name for yourself here, how do you think the local nightlife compares to other cities and countries that you have played at?

Liverpool underground club scene is very healthy at the moment, there’s some great little nights alongside the established nightclubs but it wasn’t like that a year or so ago. The small club scene had vanished, so I’m very glad that Liverpool is seriously backed on the up.

Gigging at some pretty awesome events; including Creamfields, Shindig, Renaissance, WHP and Circus, are you booked for any other exciting events this summer?

Not too much at the moment, just some small gigs up and down the UK. I’ve recently been playing in Mexico, which is always fun, so hopefully back there. Then I played at Luna (my club night) last week, with Ralph Lawson.  I’m just sorting out gigs at the moment, there’re often added to the diary fairly late on, so watch this space… as they say…

You currently are running three projects at the moment, SMP3 Music Management, SMP3 Music Pomo and your new venture, with Dave Seaman, Selador record label. How do the three differ and where do you see them both going in the future?

SMP3 Music Management is something I set up after I finished working in 3B. It’s basically what I used to do in the record shop but for the digital era. I source music weekly for some established DJ’s including Sasha, Bushwacka, Dave Seaman and Behrouz. Mostly I am going through the DJ’s promos and finding the good ones for them, finding the hottest vinyl ONLY releases, pestering record labels and artists for exclusive tracks, scouring through Soundcloud for goodies, so a modern day digital record shop person I suppose!

SMP3 Music Promo is a service I provide for underground record labels who want to get their music to The DJ’s that matter. I know a lot of DJ’s as over the many years I’ve been in the industry I speak to a lot of them and so I help the label get their tracks to specific target audiences that I hand pick and as the DJ’s trust that I’m going to send them music that they’ll like (rather than bombarding them with everything and anything like some companies do). I still get excited when Richie Hawtin, Seth Troxler, John Digweed, Pete Tong and the likes say they like a track that I’ve sent to them and obviously the labels are happy too!

Whereas Selador is a new label that myself and Dave Seaman have literally just launched this week. We both wanted to start a label and I’ve known Dave for years, so we chatted about doing a joint venture together. We both like all styles of underground House and Techno, as well as everything in between. We wanted to showcase a label of tracks that we like and get some cool remixes. It’s all about music we both like, that’s kind of our motto so to speak for signing music really. If we both like and it and would both play it.

Follow Steve Parry here – Web / Facebook / Twitter / Selador

Interview by Larissa Wignall

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Posted in DJ, liverpool, music

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