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Photek

Rupert Parkes is a man who needs no introduction. The sonic superhero is surely responsible for some of the greatest, most refined, individualistic tunes from the jungle, drum and bass and now bass, era. Humble as ever, the champion is circumspect about his success, rather being more interested in pursuing new and more diverse sounds, rather than purely sticking to his knitting. Unquestionably, he is doing exactly that – and people are taking notice.

 

“Right now, I’m living in the LA, so for the most part, my UK experience has been going over there and touring. In fact I got back from there just after the Olympics started and that was a pretty amazing experience. I was playing for Tony Coleman’s Hospital Records over there. Otherwise, I’ve been doing quite a bit of touring and am getting to the stage where I’m mixing my album, which should be done pretty soon, so that’s been keeping me busy also.”

 

And in terms of the evolution of the series since the late 1990s/2000 LPs Solaris and Form & Function, Rupert reckons this new one will be a solid reflection of where he is right now. “The past three albums were more of a statement where I wanted to make things that were a bit more timeless. In the past, it was more of a conceptual ride; this one has a feeling of coming together track by track. When I stop to think about it, the new one has the feel of my first album in some ways, it has a bit more of a street feel to it so it will be interesting to see the reception for it.”

 

Other than that, he has been in the studio doing other bits and pieces. “I’ve done a few remixes that I’ve been really happy with in the meantime – I’ve done some remixes for Daft Punk and Moby – so that was pretty exciting; another for Chairlift as well. So the last few months have been pretty busy, but for me right now, the deadline is about the album, that’s priority one and that’s basically what I’m working towards.”

 

He explains his approach with this: “for me, drum and bass took a few violent turns over time. By the mid 2000s, I wasn’t too thrilled with the way clubs were going and the leading music was sounding like. I didn’t have a problem with it per se, but I was getting the feeling that it wasn’t what I loved about the music at all anymore. So to be honest, I’ve grown apart from it bit by bit – that’s not to say I’m over it, I don’t play it, or I don’t listen to it, but I do enjoy other things too.”

 

So while the lad has recently thought about taking a change of direction back to drum and bass, he still admits that he is feeling what he terms ‘bass music’. “It’s similar to drum and bass in a lot of ways,” he says. “It’s music that’s rugged and it’s always switching up. I’m all about ensuring music isn’t the same, it’s about switching things up and keeping things exciting. It’s also about energy and keeping the dancefloor moving.”

 

Accepting that he has gone off on a different tangent, he acknowledges that the funny thing is, is that as an artist you are never sure how far you are from dropping back in. “It is humbling to think that I was a part of laying the foundations for the music originally; Andy C, Ed Rush, they’re all my boys and they’re a bunch of amazing artists that are still a part of the scene. For me though, it’s about doing something different to what the scene is doing; someone who sticks to a genre regardless of what it goes through might be considered pretty limited in outlook. Drum and bass has changed up a lot over the years and artists will almost certainly evolve with it. If you don’t, you sort of have to question the career path you’re on – regardless of what happens, music always evolves from one decade to the next and it has been a while, so I think it’s appropriate at least for me.”

 

“I bet not every drum and bass producer loves every drum and bass track, you know? It’s important for the artist to have more than one style, you keep the crowd guessing; I’ve been playing with Ableton recently and composing my set from stems and samples from different tunes. I throw things amongst other things to try to keep my DJ set current. And because I’m not playing records and dub plates anymore, I wasn’t sure about what I was going to do. So I’m glad I’ve found a way to get creative and do things that are fun.”

 

RK

Photek [UK] performs alongside Nitin Sahwney [UK], Tabla [UK] and more at The Sound Lounge, Hamer Hall on Saturday September 1.