Not so very so long ago, I was fortunate enough to catch up with none other than Spencer Parker, the convivial conflate(r) of cross-genre records. A personal favourite of mine, he can be found, oft-in Berlin, but also dotted around the world, bouncing, spinning and enjoying what he does behind those sacred ones-n-twos. I think what first grappled my attention, all those years ago, was his name: Is it more like two first names, or two surnames? I never did quite answer that. I thought it besides the point to ask, really. However, what actually does excite me, beyond the trivialities, is this man’s talent, and thus I was enthralled to pose a few questions to the multi-tasking artist himself. He turned out to be just as interesting as his indiscriminate use of genres and his cracking range of tracks.
Read on, everyone, read on:
Thank you for speaking to us. Firstly, our best wishes to you out in Berlin? I’m sure you’re used to the calibre of the nightlife out there and all that. Before you moved in 2009, you were originally from Croydon, a fine, fine part of the world. How does the general attitude of Berlin, not even just with nightlife, weigh up compared to London?
I find the general attitude of Berlin and Berliners to be pretty positive to be honest. There’s a lot of people here, whether they are originally from Berlin or not, that start their own nights with a lot of enthusiasm and they go on to become extremely well known and respected parties. Homopatik would be the perfect example of this. It’s hard to compare it directly to London for me as I rarely play in London compared to Berlin and I’ve lived here for about 7 years now, but this “can do” attitude here is something I’m a big fan of.
Hmmmm… There’s a small pub near Soho Square called The Toucan. I worked in record shops and for record labels in Soho for a long time and would sometimes pop into this place for a Guinness, so that would be my joint I think – please tell me it’s still there !!! (Extant at time of publication.)
Now you’ve moved away of London how do you feel about the persistence with which places are being shut down? Some of which are fantastic places like The Cross, which you of course were a resident in. Is losing places like this painful for you?
I just think it’s so short sighted. London’s nightlife has always been respected around the world and employs a small army of people, from bar tenders to DJs to security staff and that’s without factoring in the taxi drivers, people who run pre club bars or late night restaurants. The restrictions that are being placed on venue owners in regards to licenses etc are just ridiculous. Cities like Amsterdam or Berlin understand that nightlife is an overwhelmingly positive factor in their cities and i just wish the powers that be in London would realise this too…
It seems your reputation has been built, partly through your experience with clubs like these, but also through your undying passion for all things music and fun. Is the dedication to finding music constantly still a big part of your life?
Of course, for me, djing is simply an extension of having friends over to your house and saying “check THIS out !!! It’s amazing !!!” So, for me, it’s just a constant in my life now.
This of course goes hand in hand with buying records. You once said that when you touch down in a new city, scouring the record shops takes immediate precedence over the mundanities like sleeping and eating (oh how being human can be a bore.) Will the magic ever cease for you, or will you be buying records whenever you can for as long as you can?
I can’t see it stopping any time soon to be honest : ) I’m still excited to find new records by artists I know or discover brand new artists I previously had no idea about. It never stops ! : )
Your devotion to electronic music of all kinds is little short of inspiring. Is there a difference in the way you approach playing under the name Brotherhood than to the more prevalent Spencer Parker?
The BROTHERHOOD name was not really a big idea, it was just something that was to be used when I played Berghain as it differentiated me from when I play upstairs in Panorama Bar under my own name. So, if I play under this name there, then I play only techno as, this is what this room is for. But I approach it in much the same way as if I was playing a techno gig elsewhere. Recently I played in France with James Ruskin for example, and my last gig in Berghain I followed DJ Pete so it’s always exciting and inspiring to play these sort of gigs and prove that I am able to stand on the same stage as guys that I respect and admire in the techno world.
I personally (and more importantly), genuinely love the way you can flow between slightly different supposed categorisations of music during a set, and play what seems to be a great song before it is a genre specific song, if you know what I mean. Do you find that playing ‘techno’ then delving into some 80s US garage (the best bits) or a touch of disco makes variety an implicit mission statement in a performance/set? Is variety central to your shows?
I am just a huge fan of house and disco and techno, and the big challenge for me, is to incorporate all of these elements into a 2/4/6 hour set in such a way that they flow together and it doesn’t seem forced. It’s a pretty big challenge but it’s one that i enjoy and it’s one that I think is interesting because not so many people are able to do it well. I’m a big fan of DJs like Radio Slave, Mr Ties, Joe Claussell, Boris and people like this that have a huge culture of dance music and are able to present different genres in a way that seems to flow effortlessly.
I’m equally happy to see someone only play house or only play techno, but for me personally, I just want to expose and play all the music I love, so that necessitates being able to move between the different genres I love so much.
We must thank you no end for answering. Good luck with life and all of its related goings on. Morbidity aside, if you’re on the hypothetical raft towards the impending 10000ft waterfall, but, with a cracking pair of speakers, what tracks do you play to be your final jams for this world?
I think I’d like to go out on a positive note and I also have a kind of weird sense of humour so…. as my raft tips into the abyss and I’m about to be engulfed by the endless, cascading waves of white water that will soon crush my body, starve it of oxygen and, ultimately, end my time on this planet… I’d like to hear the strains of ‘Lovelee Dae’ by Blaze : )
It also reminds me of the love of my life… but that’s a whole ‘nother interview…