Dallas Observer Mixtape with M. Parks: CTRLS, Truncate & More

Matthew Parks is a highly trained technician behind the decks. His humble demeanor is misleading, given the very aggressive style with which he mixes techno. Usually very banging techno, at that — the kind that often has more appeal to fans of industrial, noise, experimental, punk or even metal than happy house crowd. His sets are still infectious to anyone with a pair of feet, driven by a primal thump that can often vibe like a high tech drum circle. For this week's mixtape M. Parks brings the Techno heat as only a well-practiced technician can.

Dallas Observer: How has your DJing been developing in recent years?

M. Parks: Mostly with a diversity of track selection that I am willing to use. In the late '90s and early 2000s, I was solely interested in that 135 to 145 bpm range — fast, drummy, punishing techno. Having taken such a long break, I have become much more diverse in the tracks that I enjoy playing. I really enjoy the process of organizing a crate for a two-plus-hour set. It just doesn’t happen that often!

How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?

Ironically, in contrast to the above statement, the theme was just to smash it out from start to finish. I suppose it climbs and builds a little, but I would say it starts pretty heavy and increases its ferocity. Bang.

What is your relationship with Dallas techno?

That’s hard to say really. I am a techno DJ and that has been my main objective: play more techno. Although, I would like to believe that I have had some kind of influence on the techno scene here locally by encouraging others. I cannot say with any certainty that I have, in fact, played a part in the amount of growth we have seen here in the last few years. However, I can say is that I am continually inspired by the amount of people who really seem to care about techno here in Dallas.

Where do you see techno in Dallas heading in the next few years?

I hope that the younger generation grows up a little bit and finds their way into our scene. Locally, I am speaking of the 18 to 21 range who are basically isolated from the underground dance music scene here, just as they might be across the country. You know, the Lizard Lounge types. I think back and I recall the way the punk scene accepted everyone and the same thing happened as I entered the “rave” scene back in '96, '97. I know that much of the scene was fueled by substances and that, in part, is what drove the scene into the clubs, but at the same time it was always about the music.

You are a vet DJ. How is your entry to the production world treating you?

DJing at this point is just a part of who I am. The creativity that comes out when working over that mixer just kind of flows and feels natural. However, the production process feels much more unnatural. It has honestly been quite humbling. The fact is there is a lot of learning to do which is great. I just hope there is a jumbled knot of cables worth of techno somewhere in my brain.

Where do you like to dig for tracks?

Honestly, spending way to much time clicking and listening and clicking and listening. I get most of the digital music I buy from Juno, Bandcamp and Beatport. There is just so much music to sift through. I listen to a lot of mixes as well so I always take advantage of finding out what others are playing and that usually opens up a whole I will fall into for hours. When I first started DJ’ing, one of the ways I would practice was to try and find all the tracks I could on any given mixtape and recreate those mixes in an effort to figure out what the hell they were doing.

What was the most profound musical experience you have had in the past year?

Last October, the Guild’s Chase Dugger invited me to play a vinyl techno set at a warehouse party and I haven’t had that much fun playing records in quite some time. It was dark, sweaty and the place was packed. Everything just came together. They were picking up what I was putting down and they were willing to go wherever I took them. Its hard to will those types of nights into existence, they just have to happen organically and if the listener is ready and the DJ does their job then that channel just comes wide open. Profound to say the least.

What gigs do you have in the near future?

INFRASONICA at Beauty Bar for Turnstile Tuesdays on July 5. This night was originally started with myself and Aleah Axiom to create more opportunities to push the sound. It has migrated a little bit from what I was hoping it would be originally but it has been a lot of fun. It has kind of developed into a battle-style night. 

1. Joy Fagnani - Tenacia [Parabola]
2. Joy Fagnani - Tenacia (Veztax Remix) [Parabola]
3. Peter Van Hoesen - Quadra [Dekmantel]
4. Monoloc - Gipson (SHDW & Obscure Shape) [Soma]
5. Alexander Kowalski and Soren Aalberg - Arrange 1 (Tom Hades Remix) [Girafe Sauvage]
6. Raiz - Primeval [VRV]
7. Distek - Microsoup [Metrotek]
8. Slam & Mr V - Take You There [Soma]
9. Psyk - Definition [Tresor]
10. Truncate - Focus (Rod Remix) [Truncate]
11. Jusai - 8801 [Amalgame Records]
12. Ctrls - Vocabulary [Token]
13. M.Parks - Proportional Divide [Unreleased]
14. D.Carbone - Unconscious Tool [3th Records]
15. Damon Wild & Tim Taylor - Bang the Acid (88UW Mix) [Unlimited Whatever]
16. The Transhumans - Outcast [Mord]
17. Cleric - 2nd Limit [Clergy]

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