In the monotonous electronic landscape, few bring the same energy and ethos as Dutch producer Parrish Smith. With smash releases on L.I.E.S. and Knekelhuis, the artist is set to debut on Dekmantel's sister-techno imprint UFO, with Sex, Suicide and Speed Metal. The release sees Smith in top form, fusing in particular brand of post-punk, screaming guitars and thrashing beats. He also plays in one of our favorite acts, Volition Immanent who will be performing at this year's Dekmantel Festival as well as a special performance in Berlin on June 28th for Liber Null. We had the opportunity to speak with the artist about his background, projects and more. Read below.
The Brvtalist: I don't know much about your musical background. Would love to hear about any previous musical projects, influences, etc.
Parrish Smith: Parrish smith was the first project I birthed when I started to make music 5-6 years ago. I always insisted to self teach myself about music without the aid of others because I wanted to develop my own original output. I’m definitely influenced by my dad listening to Burning Spear, Iron Maiden and as a teenager listening to mostly heavy metal, hardcore and UK electronic music. I think this was more an outlet for me than something that inspired me to do the things I do now. I started with collecting records because I love the feeling of putting that platter on the turntable. A close friend of mine started collecting gear and it was kind of a dream of mine to make music although I was very introverted. I always had weird kind of rhythms in mind which could mean something to me. The process of working with my hands suited me very well working on the machines and playing with records. So I bought a mixer and I borrowed a 707 + 303 and a microphone and made my first tracks. People actually discovered me after a short year; both on Murray’s Contort Yourself and Nina Kraviz’s Trip label. The artists that opened up a whole new important world for me at that time were Mark Lane, Esplendor Geometrico and Felix Kubin.
TB: I always appreciate the themes used in your material. From Virgin of the World to Esplendor. When you create do you typically have an idea first or do you start making music and let that dictate?
PS: The first 2 eps were all live takes recorded on minidisc or cassette. They were all recorded in the first 3 years when I started to make music. These tracks were an expression of how I felt at that moment. Virgin of the World was me as a young dude entering a new world, which I never expected to be in. Virgin reminds me that I have much to learn as a person in this world and as a producer. Tracks in the EP, Stillness & Secrecy, Saviour as the False is a reference to things I have done and secrets that still exists to a certain person who was in my life. My emotions were very important because it gave me a direction to go with alongside the ideas I had in mind to make the track technically.
TB: Which brings us to Sex, Suicide and Speed Metal, the new EP for UFO. Sounds fast and aggressive. Talk about the title and creating the record.
PS: It does sound fast and aggressive while the record itself is very slow burning with an edge of rough elements. The title Sex, Suicide and Speed Metal is short for identity problems, narcissistic behaviour and reflecting upon that. This record came into my mind to bring all the sound elements together I adore, to have a more song based output instead of the live jams that reflected how I felt that certain day.
I always want to move forward with my productions and take risks to try something new that really suits me. While listening a lot to the wide spectrum of industrial/experimental music for years and also hip hop with the specific element of auto-tune, I discovered lots of groups and producers taking elements of industrial and heavy experimental music. like Death Grips, ho99o9, DJ Uncle and rap artists like Travis Scott and Kanye West. I thought it was time for a more experimental based producer to use auto-tune effects and making tracks more song based. It gives me a lot of room to have that nasty groove all over the tracks and talk about things I experienced and I know that there are people who can relate with my stories. We are all unique but still connected.
TB: While I've got you would love to ask about Volition Immanent too. How is that extension of your sound and what about doing that project do you like most?
PS: I always wanted to work with a punk vocalist because I wanted to collide the extremities of my productions with hard edged vocals and luckily I’ve met Mark van de Maat who has played in black metal and hardcore bands like Black Decades and Cathode. This idea also came into my mind to do something new and bring the punk attitude in a techno jacket. I really like playing live because we can see all the girls and boys and black bringing up their primitive behaviour and just let everything loose. Mark does an extremely good job on stage exceeding crazy frequencies while maintaining the structure and timing of all our tracks. We are currently working hard on our follow up album.
TB: You're also a great DJ. What do you like about doing that and what have been some memorable moments as of late?
PS: I can change the moment in seconds if I need to or I can stretch that moment of euphoria over a longer segment of time. It’s also blessing that people come to see me play and that I can play someone else's music while there is so much to discover. It’s also a moment of realization that you can share special moments with people I don’t know but still we are there on that specific moment to enjoy. My most memorable moment as of late was in de school Amsterdam where I was playing a closing set. The energy level was very intense, constant and crazy while I was playing fast hardcore and industrial. The club stayed open longer and the crowd stuck with me till the very end for a perfect closing.
TB: What's coming up next and any closing thoughts.
PS: I'm working on a collaboration with Interstellar Funk for a label I have released on before and there are 2 tracks coming on Leyla recordings and MORD records. Also there is a screening coming up at Dekmantel Gestival of the Walter Ruttmann - lichtspiel: OPUS film with the score made by me. Thanks for having me on The Brvtalist with a little insight of my motivations.
Also be sure to catch Parrish Smith in Volition Immanent on June 28th headlining the next installment of Liber Null. One of our favorite parties in Berlin, this will be a great night at Säule.