London-born, Berlin-based Spencer Parker is a renowned international artist who masterfully straddles a heady mix of house, techno and disco that has seen him become a regular guest at legendary international clubbing spaces such as Panorama Bar/ Berghain and the late Concrete in Paris. From a DJ perspective, Parker draws upon undiscovered classics and unreleased gems – blending them together to create innate yet enthralling sets, backed by his taut and energetic productions, often released through a select group of imprints including his very own Work Them Records and Radio Slave’s Rekids – a label that Parker considers a home away from home. Many Spencer Parker edits have graced record store shelves and DJ’s boxes while 2011 saw the initially uncredited itsnotover 12” series launch, becoming a bonafide cult classic before culminating in a CD album release, showcasing his undeniable talents.
Following the raw house sounds of his recent drop “Dream The Future”, Parker returns to his Work Them Records imprint and engages disco mode with “ddbb”, a breezy but low-sung houser shot through with disco strings and horns. As simple as it is effective, the Berlin-based master delivers once again as he continues to hit new heights and cement his name as one of the most consistent and respected artists in the scene right now. Check out his brand new single here.
First of all how are you? And what have you been getting up to recently?
I’m good thank you, and hope you are too ! Despite all the madness in the world at the moment, i’ve been trying to stay positive and work on the few things that are within my control. So, although I haven’t been traveling quite as much as usual in the past 18 months, I have been able to work on a lot of music and put it out via my own label or labels like Rekids and He.SheThey.
How have you found the last year and lockdown in general? Of course, you have a brand new release but how has the last year been in terms of motivation and creativity levels as a producer?
It’s been interesting to say the least. I pretty much exclusively make records for the dancefloor, so, for me, while it has been tricky at times to stay motivated, I have been djing for so long now that, I’m able to put myself in the mental space of how a track should sound in a club. I’ve been trying to utilise that knowledge and experience in my productions and make records that sound great in the club… even if there has been extended periods where I haven’t been able to test drive them in that environment.
London-born and now Berlin-based, how do these two cities differ from each other in a musical perspective, and what are your thoughts on the current UK dance scene?
Musically, I guess Berlin will always be, rightly or wrongly, viewed as a “techno” city, whereas London will always be known for a having very wide musical landscape. I’ve been in Berlin over 10 years now so it’s a little tricky for me to view the exact state of the UK scene. But from afar it looks extremely healthy and just seems to be building and building. I see a lot of great events happening and people coming out to listen to credible DJ’s and interesting music.
Having played at some of the finest clubbing establishments in the world, alongside some of the best musicians, how are you finding the return of clubs and do you welcome it with open arms?
I’m welcoming it with very open arms, extremely open ears and, depending on the club, possibly open legs too ! It’s obviously a very complex issue and there are so many different things applicable from country to country, regarding rules and regulations, but, I am hopeful for the future. I think that, despite the industry of nightclubs, djs, clubbers etc getting an (undeserved) bad rep from the general public, what this current situation has highlighted is, how important it is for people to gather, have fun, be social, enjoy music together and be part of a community of like minded people. It’s always been important, in my opinion and, whats happened in the world the last 18 months or so has really shown me, again, that – this community has real value to so many different people, and really impacts their lives in a positive way.
Your new single “ddbb” is a fantastic listen, can you tell us about the inspiration behind the track and how you would describe it?
There was no particular inspiration to be honest, as with all my records, it was just made for me to play in clubs. I kind of just make records for myself, to be brutally honest. I enjoy playing techno, disco, house, hi nrg – whatever, so I always want to make records within those genres, so, when people come to hear me play, they get to hear some stuff they can’t hear anywhere else. I’ve always been a big fan of producers like DJ Sneak or Johnick, especially when they take a very simple loop and just do something interesting with it, so, if there was an inspiration, it would be those guys for sure. In terms of how to describe it, I guess you could just say – “it’s a cool club record” – i’d be happy with that. Or, possibly, “a heartbreaking work of staggering genius”, that works too. But mainly the second one.
What was the creative and production process behind the single?
Heard loop, took loop, fucked with loop, added drums, arranged loop with drums, hit save!
One of your more disco-orientated tracks, how does the production process differ from that of house and techno, and which do you prefer producing the most?
It’s an interesting process because there are so many more musical elements when you’re making a track like this – what key is it in, should it go up/down an octave here or there etc. So, it’s slightly different from just a huge 909 kick and some weird vocal or synth noise (almost all my records). But to be honest, I like producing different kinds of tracks because I enjoy playing so much different stuff in my own sets. I really like the fact that I could be in somewhere like Berghain and hear Marcel Dettman or Ben Klock play one of my tracks downstairs and then walk upstairs to Panorama Bar and hear someone like Ryan Elliott or Gerd Jansen play one of my other tracks there too. So, for me, I have fun making different stuff because, at the end of the day, it’s all for me to play.
Released on your very own Work Them Records, what’s the philosophy behind the imprint and where do you hope to take it over the next year or two? Any plans?
The philosophy of the label is very simple – tracks for dj’s to WORK in the club and and tracks for dancers on the floor to WORK their bodies to. It’s music made only for clubs. Sometimes I have read reviews where the reviewer has said that a certain release is “just a DJ tool” – which I actually love, because, thats literally the whole idea behind the label – to release tools that work for DJs. We’ve just released an amazing EP by Kolegos so, I was very happy to welcome them onto the label as I think they have a really good sound, but, apart from that, I have no real plans in my mind. I obviously release a lot of my own material through the label so, there will be more of that utter crap coming soon, whether you like it or not, but – my expansive ears are also always open to hearing, signing and putting out great music by other artists too, as and when I hear it.
As we return to normality, what have you got in store for the rest of 2021 and when’s the next Spencer Parker release?!
I’m very fortunate to be slowly returning to clubs so, coming up I have some gigs in London, Prague, Berlin, Kiev, Amsterdam etc so, i’m very much looking forward to those. Apart from that, lots of new music coming out on Work Them Records, some coming out via my bandcamp and some on other labels too.
“ddbb” is out now on Work Them Records and is available to listen and buy on Bandcamp.