“Straight in, no bulls**t gritty funk ”Myele Manzanza tells The Red Bulletin about his top 5 Theo Parrish tracks
Via Recloose band leader Matthew Chicoine, Manzanza was introduced to Detroit techno and house pioneer Theo Parrish, an encounter that led to Manzanza being asked to join the Theo Parrish Live Band. This invitation will see him play a run of high profile shows through Europe as the drummer for the group, playing alongside musical heroes and meeting new ones along the way. Manzanza reveals his top 5 Parrish tracks.
5. Love is War for Miles
When I first heard this tune I wasn’t that into it; I’d hit skip on the iPod, if you catch my drift. Then one night I was listening to it as I was falling asleep, and I really began to hear all the details and the way the layers were falling in and out, and I ended up entering a meditative state with it. I was thinking about this place that the music took me to and how it’d be great to be able to do that to people with my own music, and the way that the fairly simple musical themes in the track would make a great starting point as an improviser. I’ve been playing this tune with my trio for a while now and it’s become one of my signature pieces. In fact, our version is how Theo came to discover me in the first place!
4. Lake Shore Drive
This is classic beatdigger-finding-the-perfect-break material. I didn’t realise until our tour that he’d flipped Brass Construction’s tune On Top Of the World to make this track. Just find the perfect two bars and sample it up. While I love this tune, for me this is more about his ability as a DJ/selector. On the surface it can seem kind of cheap to just take a straight bar or two of something and loop it and claim it as your own, but when you go further into his process as a DJ/selector, you can see the craftsmanship and the beauty of the hunt that it’d take to a) find this record, b) find that break in the record, and c) realise how dope it’d be to build something off of that break.
3. How I Feel
This track came out in 2000 and it shows how adept Theo is at creating a mood. That was one of the lessons I’ve subconsciously taken away from working with him – the importance of creating a mood with the music you make. Being able to play your instrument well is one thing, but the quality of the world you create for the listener to inhabit is a whole other thing. The drums and bass of this move you, but the way he sculpts the sound of the keys as well as pulling the sonic layers in and out put your mind in another place.
That synth! Straight in, no bulls**t gritty funk – plus you have musicians Andreya Triana, Steve Spacek, Om’Mas Keith and even New Zealand’s own Adi Dick vibing over the top. Not much I can say – just good vibrations all around.
This track was definitely the showstopper of the Theo Parrish live show. The way he produced it has so much bounce and energy with really simple elements. The way he programmed the beat is crazy; I love the authentic MPC drum sounds too. There’s something about the sound of the drums and the way they flow that you can only get with a real analogue drum machine, so for the beat makers out there trying to get that classic Detroit machine vibe, this is the master class tune to be checking out.