Interview: Francois Parker

DJ name (currently used and any previous)?

Currently using the nom du plume Francois Parker, past names have included Parker, and B-Boy Parkz.

What styles of music would one expect to hear in a Francois Parker set?

It was strictly hip hop and breaks from the late 90’s right through until 2007/8 then I caught the Disco bug and my sets became very (dub) Disco heavy with the odd Balearic joint thrown in. Things have changed a little now and its more heavy on the Balearic side with Disco joints thrown in. Just don’t label me Eclectic and well get along just fine.

How did you gets started playing out?

I played out for the first time around 1990 some friends and I put on small Rave at Snobs in Mayflower Street and then some months later I played at a club in St Austell armed with a bag of Acid House 12’s, but then didn’t venture out again until the latter half of the 90’s. I must admit I didn’t really enjoy those first DJ sets/dates, I felt uncomfortable and very out of my league playing in a club rather than my bedroom where I had been playing around with decks/records since the mid to late 80’s.

Jump forward to 1998 when the Copperage was really popping and a couple of friends and I started an old school hip hop night called Planet Rock (everyone was starting nights back then) and thats where I caught the bug for DJing (and somewhat reluctantly) promoting. Planet Rock lasted about a year and since then I’ve been an active DJ on the Plymouth club scene pretty much non-stop with the occasional DJ-retirement thrown in, somehow I’ve always ended up finding my way back to the decks though.

What Nights/Venues have you played at over the years?
Over the years I’ve probably played most of the relevant venues in Plymouth, off the top of my head:
Flava (at Sound Factory and Cooperage)Sureshot (at Cooperage, I promoted this night and it lasted about 3 years)

JFK’s (I’ve had two spells of being a weekly resident in the small room down there, in total I probably played there weekly for a year)

Ride Cafe (Monthly resident for two or three years, amazing times!)

Neon Kibosh (at Fandango and a few of the other venues it was held at)

Dirty Inferno (Chams and Bac Bar)

Cafe Du Funk (The Copperage)

And probably hundreds of one off nights around the city from big events at the Dance Academy to gigs in shops (the Nike parties at Flatspot were great).

Who are some of the big name DJ’s you have supported over the years:

Firstly I really have to thank all the promoters who have been kind enough to book me alongside some big players over the years. Off the top of my head:

Grand Master Flash (proper cunt), Schooly D, Scratch Perverts, Nextmen, Stereo MC’s,  Mark Rea, Aim, DJ Pogo, Rodney P, Aspects, Andy Smith, John Stapleton, Si-Spex, DJ Format,Souls Of Mischief and countless others. Playing along side known names is fine but in my experience nothing beats being on the same bill as a bunch of decent locals, know names are far more likely to be a let down.

Where are you currently playing:

I had quite DJ with the serious intention of never returning but then the Bread And Roses opened and I was kindly asked by (DJ) Megaton Man to play on the odd occasion, I liked the vibe of the bar and I also liked the fact that it closed at 1 which is great as I don’t want to be out at all hours anymore, if it were a late venue I probably wouldn’t have gotten involved with DJing again.

Three tunes that have influenced the direction your sets have taken over the years:

Incredible Bongo Band / Apache

Around  the time that our Planet Rock night started the Breakin’ revival was well under way, those opening drums were the rallying call to the B-Boys in the house to hit the floor. The track blew up big time over the next 10 years of so, most funk/hip hop/eclectic DJs would have it in their record bags, its a great tune and it got the job done, but its been played to death and I find it painful to listen to now.

Rocha / Hands Of Love

This is the track that really lead me to where I am today, I didn’t get the whole slo-mo-acidic-house-disco style thing (nu-disco for want of a better word) then I heard this track and everything clicked into place. The effect that tune had on me has changed the contents of my record box and my record buying habits.

Modern Romance – Salsa Rhapsody

I first heard this tune on a post-punk/Disco Not Disco styled pod-cast and found the tune fascinating, the percussion, a bass/guitar line thats absolutely infectious and added to that the dubbed out vocals! I managed to ID the track and was shocked to find it was by Modern Romance (a group that I’d always hated as a child) and that it was the flip side to a track of theirs that had gotten really high in the charts, in fact it was a dub of that very tune (well sort of). From that point on I started checking the B-side and various mixes of all kinds of 80’s pop stuff and was surprised to hear how many of there throw away chart hits had some serious B-Sides, of course some folks(especially Balearic boys) had been up on these joints for years, I definitely get the late pass on this issue.

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