Terrence Parker does not mention his success when you first question him about his music. Instead, the 30 year old producer, dj and remixer will talk about his beliefs and his inspirations. He will tell you about what he is trying to do with his music, how he desperately wants to touch people and how character is a quality he looks for in his friends and crew of musicians.
It takes a little probing to find out that Terrence graces the cover of magazines in Germany, that he has 88 records under his belt and that he is being booked in Tokyo next month. He might make an offhand comment about musicians he has done remixes for, but he might not reveal that he has worked with famous acts like the Pet Shop Boys. But a conversation with Terrence is not about creating a list of bragging rights. His tone borders on spiritual, because the man clearly defines himself through music.
“I think music in general is a sensation. Just like, you know, if you touch a hot stove there is a burning sensation. It’s all matter for me personally of what sounds good,” Terrence says. He leans forward as he speaks. His eyes twinkle and he speaks with a smile on his face as earnestly tries to stress his point. “If it’s well produced and good quality music that’s all I care about. A lot of people think that since we’re artists or DJs that this is all we listen to. It doesn’t matter to me, if its good music and it fits into a vibe that I want to convey, I’m playing it.”
Terrence will prove his philosophy after our conversation this Sunday night. He will spin house music throwing in a tad of retro, “It’s My Life” by Talk Talk, and as he knows, the crowd will love it. One thing for sure, Terrence pays attention to all genres of music. As a kid he grew up listening to his parents’ collection of records ranging from Motown to classic rock. He discovered disco, hip hop and Chicago house as an early teenager. He says that diverse background continues to come out in the music he listens to, creates, and plays.
After seeing him spin using his trademark telephone receiver as a headset, his talent as dj is unquestionable, but djing is only one aspect of Terrence Parker. “My thing is actually creating, I mean I create when I DJ in a sense. It’s like, I’m much happier when I’m in an environment where I’m able to create my own ideas. I’m definitely a producer and artist first, dj second, but djing is the core, the grassroots of what makes me who I am.”
He began playing records 16 years ago. He was hooked on his craft after masterminding an award wining high school radio show under the name DJ Mixmaster X. After a brief stint in college, Terrence decided to devote his time to producing music. He credits mentors, including Mike Banks of Underground Resistance and the Electrifying Mojo from the Detroit radio 96.3FM for helping him wisen up and develop as an artist.
In 1988, his recording career began with the formation of Separate Minds consisting of Lou Robinson and Mark Kinchen. With the release of the EP “TP1” two years later, Terrence began his solo career. There after, Terrence recorded under several pseudonyms.
Casual listeners may recognize Terrence’s alias such as TP, Seven Grand Housing Authority or the Minimum Wage Brothers. His house and hip hop tracks have appeared on various labels, including the legendary 430 West, KMS and Sony. Terrence has continued to play a crucial role in the production of his music as well as other artists by creating Intangible Records & Soundworks, on which he now records exclusively. “Hold On”, “The Question,” “Emancipation of My Soul” and “Love’s Got Me High” are his most recognizable tracks.
Terrence is one of those rare souls who has not become jaded after many years in the business. He stays in Detroit, not only because of his wife and 4 year old daughter, but because he believes in the city’s vitality. “I think that Detroit and Chicago are the most innovative cities in America for music, for modern popular music. Because of the geographical location in America, we’re exposed to all different music.”
Terrence isn’t going anywhere soon. “I’ll say, if the casinos come in the downtown, its going to attract more business downtown. I’m very happy with what’s happening with (Detroit Mayor) Dennis Archer and all of the new businesses that are coming into the city. I think if the casinos come in and we have more businesses in the city, it going to bring more to the entertainment industry here. And as that develops and grows, all of us who are involved in this whole scene now in 10 years will be pretty much at the forefront of the entertainment industry. I mean from a big scale — from underground all the way up.”