Review: Theo Parrish - 'What you gonna ask for'
Last Friday Detroit enigma Theo Parrish released the latest 12” single – “What You Gonna Ask For” – on his own Sound Signature label featuring some of Melbourne’s finest soul and funk talent. “What You Gonna Ask For” transports you to the recording room, building off a simple neo-soul keyboard loop and turning it into a 9-minute funky jam session.
The imperfect clap brings humanity to the track, and subtle offbeat-ness adds a layer of liveliness that Parrish has become known for. The glitchy, soulful leads and light, moving pads are well in character for the Melbourne outfit – Hiatus Kaiyote – who’s members Lori, Silent jay, Simon Marvin, Perrin Moss and Paul Bender – created the track with the assistance of the label head.
Speaking with Lori, the singer, multi-instrumentalist and DJ explained that the song manifested from an improvisation of ideas in a session during Freedom Time NYD 2017. The Hiatus Kaiyote crew took advantage of Parrish having a few days off to make music, and rigged up an amazing room full of synths and instruments in Brunswick to jam “all day and all night over a shitload of Jameson and some A1 bakery snacks”.
Well into its 22nd year of releasing material, few labels in the dance music world are as iconic as Sound Signature – and the fact that a Melbourne-based collective are the heart and soul of the 77th release ushers in a newfound respect for Melbourne’s dance and funk music reputation on the world stage.
“Theo is such a warm and encouraging person” Lori recounts about working with Parrish, “He makes his connection and appreciation to every sound so physically visible that it’s infectious – so playing in a room with him and seeing such soulful and supportive reactions to everyone’s musical ideas gave the session a lot of heart.”
“I was feeling way too nervous to sing that day but I’m pretty sure when I started humming the melody, he was the one to shove the mic in my face and say “Dude! You have to put that down!!” Short answer is he is incredible to work with on every level of the process.”
The two track 12” – featuring Theo’s mix on one side - feels very imperfect and spontaneous – something the DJ has become known for. On the other side, Dego – who was a surprise addition to the release and big inspiration to the Melbourne crew - brings a more calculated and straightforward mix, following a sturdier dance track formula that is ready for club play.