MANPARRISH.COM : INTERVIEW

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Found: The Perfect Beat
 
 
Man Parrish
  In the evolutionary history of electronic music, the primordial ooze from which everything sprang was definitely the work of Kraftwerk. But one of the very first living creatures to crawl out and walk on land was Soul Sonic Force's Planet Rock and similar New York futuristic hip-hop creations now referred to as electro (Juan Atkins' Cybotron project from Detroit was also in there early). "Planet Rock" was a twisted fusion of samples from Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express and syncopated hip-hop beats, produced by Arthur Baker and John Robie. But Baker knew the song required a human presence to give the cold German synths a relevance to American audiences steeped in hip-hop culture, so he enlisted the services of Afrika Bambaataa, an MC with street cred and a George Clinton fashion sense. Techno was a few years off, but raw and dark electronic beats weren't quite ready to stand on their own two legs without support from a vocalist.

 
In October of 1983, a record literally came out of nowhere called Hip-Hop Bee Bop (Don't Stop) that hinted the electronic instrumental might have worth as its own species. There were a few dog barks and a voice chanting the title, but "Hip Hop" shot shivers down the spines of NYC's underground with just a Roland 808 and two simple synthesizers. What began as young Manny Parrish's (dubbed Man in Andy Warhol's Interview magazine) bedroom studio fuck around song went on to sell over two and a half million copies and whet listeners' appetites not only for instrumental electro but for the very idea of the producer as artist. Man Parrish didn't have a group or a vocalist (although he worked with both later), he was just the guy pushing the buttons--and yet signed his own record deal with Elektra and headlined Studio 54 (with Madonna as the opening act).



The concept of a producer as artist that actually got paid however had not yet caught on within the recording industry. Parrish received almost nothing for "Hip Hop," his schoolyard breaker's anthem Boogie Down Bronx, Heatstroke, Man Made or any of the other myriad projects he participated in. He eventually burned out from music production, making ends meet as among other things a male prostitute ("I'm the original freak") and the road manager for The Village People ("it was like being part of the Partridge Family"). The Skinny caught up with this overlooked innovator for a history lesson and revealing look at the music industry and its devastating effects on the careers of naïve artists.

(Story / Interview ::::: Darren Keast)
(Photos ::::: Stefan Nadelman)

Interview

Mannys Electro Top Five



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These files and their contents Copyright 1985-2003, Man Parrish, all rights reserved.
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