Interview: Steve Parry

We caught up with the Liverpool legend to discuss his gigs, the music going his way, and the revolutionary measures his new label is putting together for their first mix compilation.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 25th Mar 2013

Every city has them. The lynchpin DJs that have been an essential part of the fabric of the musical scene of a city, the lifeblood that flows through it. Liverpool boasts one of the most famous of them all of course in Yousef, but another figure who has been an important part of the scene for just as long is Steve Parry.

Ask any Liverpool raver with a long memory about Steve’s club night Alderaan and chances are they’ll get all misty eyed about the party which first put the Lemon Lounge on the map, the venue which famously kick-started Chibuku Shake Shake. He’s also been an integral part of the likes of Freeze and Aztec over the years, as well as a player at Circus, Cream, Voodoo and a fair few other establishments over the years.

His current party Luna turns one in April with none other than Ralph Lawson as a special guest at the Shipping Forecast, but on top of that he’s starting a brand new record label with Dave Seaman and is also one of the number of DJs getting together for the Bestival benefit showcase, an event set up in the tragic aftermath of a coach crash last year. We caught up with Steve to discuss his gigs, the music going his way, and the revolutionary measures his new label is putting together for their first mix compilation.

Hi Steve! We hear you’re launching a new record label with Dave Seaman; tell us some more about it.

Yes it's all systems go at the moment as we're frantically working behind the scenes making sure everything is ready for the launch date of 15th April. The first release is from Samu.l who is a great underground house producer, and it’s getting remixed by Dave and also Shall Ocin, a fantastic underground artist from Argentina. The promos have gone to the DJs to build some club, radio and press hype and we've been getting support from Hot Since 82, Nic Fanciuilli, Dubfire, even DJs like Fatboy Slim are loving it randomly enough! It’s a really exciting time.

We aimed to have remixes compliment the musical package and offer a differing musical slant, rather than having remixes of the same style as the original. The idea is to broaden our musical fan base, plus we wanted to be able to give DJs differing tracks for the differing type of sets the play, so hopefully a few mixes will grab each DJ and music fan. 

How long have you known Dave and why did you decide to start a record label with him?

I first met Dave back in 1991 when he was playing clubs like Shellys, and he played at my residency with Dave Ralph at Fallows. This was a great time, when we used to get 1000+ in on a Monday night! And since then I've always had a nice relationship with him as a friend but also somebody who I look up to in the club scene. I have worked with Dave on several projects over the years, from selling him records when I worked in 3Beat, helping him find tracks for his many complication mixes, and DJ-ing alongside everywhere from Mexico to my home town of Liverpool - so we definitely have a musical bond.

When I mentioned to Dave I was starting a label, he instantly said he'd love to get involved, as he was no longer running his Audio therapy label and was looking into starting something new himself. We also both want to try fresh ideas and show our musical diversity, I think everyone will be expecting a melodic prog label, but we want to show we like every type of house up to techno, and all of its colours in-between!

We hear you are doing a Kickstarter scheme to raise money for it. Why did you decide to choose that means of securing funding, and do you think that this is the future for funding music in the future?

This is one of the things that we wanted to try to be a bit different. There are certain practices that we'll have to do like other labels, but we wanted to really stamp our own ideas on the way a label should be run and this idea seemed one of the best ways of doing that.

Dave has made bucket loads of mix CDs over the years and is constantly being given offers to do more. But the idea of kickstarter was presented to us, and although it’s helped established bands to make albums, tours and movies to be made, no-one has done it to finance a mix compilation. Dave was brave enough to stick his neck out and try something different.

With regards to this being the future, only time will tell. I hope it's a viable and interesting enough idea for artists, labels, club nights and DJs big and small to try something different. The Internet has changed the music industry in both good and bad ways, and fresh ideas like this are always worth exploring. Certainly in our opinion trying new things out is a good way to do things.

Your club night Luna turns one this month and you have Ralph Lawson playing. How has the night been so far and why have you booked Ralph?

We started Luna as an occasional party for like minded friends to come for a dance in a small intimate venue in Liverpool. The 'smaller club' thing had kind of disappeared due to a lot of small venues closing in Liverpool over last few years; we wanted to bring something back on that vibe.

Each one so far has been residents and friends, and they've all locked out, which is great, and so to move things forward, we thought we would try a guest DJ. All of the promoters behind Luna, we all love Ralph Lawson. He's such a great DJ, a quality DJ who always delivers and is never caught up by musical fads. His love of house and techno has kept him at the top of his game for 20 years, and that kind of pedigree is important for us and what we’re about.

Luna 1st Birthday tickets

What have been the big tracks for Luna since it began?

As Luna's parties have been sporadic over the last year, the music is constantly changing. It’s been diverse though, everything from solid deepness to some peak time bangers. You could hear tracks from Maceo Plex, Sasha, Paul Woolford, Christian Smith, Ame in the same night easily. We’re about solid underground vibes.

Do you plan to get the record label involved with the event at some stage in the future?

Well it would make sense! Nothing concrete as of yet, but we've been working on a few ideas. Watch this space.

Another gig we noticed you are playing is the Bestival benefit party. What was it that motivated you to get involved; did you know anyone on the bus? How important is it you think for music to support causes as worthwhile as this?

It basically could have been anybody on that coach that's ever been clubbing outside of their home town - people exploring the club scene, expanding their minds and trying something different. That's what struck a chord with me, I used to go clubbing around the UK a lot years ago, going to Renaissance, Hacienda, Back to Basics etc. It turns out of course it was a coach travelling back to Liverpool, and yes I knew friends on that coach. It was a horrible day when news was trickling through in sketchy pieces, friends frantically trying to piece together information, it was truly awful. If by some way I can help out at all by playing music, something that I love doing anyway, then of course I was offering to help. It seemed the least I could do in the circumstances.

Bestival at Nation tickets

And finally, what else have you got lined up in the future?

My life is frantic at the moment! I'm back in studio, travelling from gigs (doing this interview on the way home from a couple of shows in Mexico), the record label, Luna, and my two companies, and then trying to balance that with family life is keeping me busy enough haha. I suppose the remix that I'm doing for Selador is getting me rather excited, I'm hoping to finish this week. It's a remix of an old acid house classic that I really love, but I'm not saying what it is just yet! Again... watch this space.

Catch Steve Parry at the following events:

Bestival at Nation, Liverpool, 30/03/13

Luna 1st birthday at The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool, 13/04/13

UMP presents Translation 1 at Bowlers, Manchester, 18/05/13 

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