It has been several years since we started working with Deuce Parks. He started with guest mixes and grew in a short time till his own four-track album. ‘Adjusted Signals‘ covers most darkest and deepest sides in music and builds absolute tension and scariest mindsets. Deuce Parks has secured his place within the family by providing signature dark minimal and techno music. As he comes back in 2020 with ‘Degenerate Souls‘ EP which includes Hamandra and Ektoplazma remix tracks, we decided to question him on several topics, professional and personal. Listen, read and enjoy.
From Austin, Texas, a DJ and Producer Roger Parks a.k.a Deuce Parks blends sinister and brooding colors into his percussive, techno-driven sets. Heavily influenced by the likes of Depeche Mode, John Carpenter, and Plastikman, he has been ripping apart dancefloors with his seamless blend of deep, hypnotic four-to-the-floor rhythms. Deuce’s passion for electronic music has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember. From a young age, he was already developing an ear for synthesizers and drum machines, and by age 16 he had already bought his first pair of decks. He became actively involved in the scene around the age of 21 and has worked hard to solidify his name as one of the USA’s finest exports of deep tech and minimal music since.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
What was the worst job you have ever had?
Customer service representative. Dealing with angry customers all day was not the ideal job.
Can you name a movement or people who pushed you to where you are now?
My mother from the first day she found out that’s what was important to me around 2006. After I started playing my first gigs in public, my close group of friends that I grew up with all supported then and still do today.
Try to imagine, what you would be doing if the music was never been introduced to you?
Probably be involved with the art scene. I was a painter before I started spending my spare time on music. I always wanted to be a computer animator until I heard the first Plastikman album by Richie Hawtin called, “Sheet One.”
Aside from music, what do you like to do in your free time?
I’ve recently been getting into cooking and learning how to be a better chef at home. I also want to get back into painting, before music I painted a lot.
Tell us about your city, what kind of music scene does it have?
I currently live in Austin Texas. We have a very eclectic mix of music genres ranging from indie rock, jazz, country, hip hop, and of course electronic dance music. Austin claims to be the live music capital in America so you can pretty much find anything you like here anytime. I appreciate the cities old school clubs from before I lived here that still hold down their EDM music scenes such as Plush and Barcelona.
What is your favorite time of the year, and how does it influence your creativity?
Halloween. Most of my music is influenced by 80’s horror movies in particular. The cold weather and gray skies during the month of October channel my inner music genius. I get most music projects done in the evenings of that month.
What do you do before and after your set?
Have a cold beer, before and after.
What does your typical week usually look like?
It varies depending on gigs. If no gigs during the week or weekend, I’ll usually spend it catching up on daily house duties. I enjoy planning new dinner recipes to cook, taking my dog on walks, and researching new music for live events / producing music for future projects. I’m also a big movie buff and like to watch new movies in the evenings.
Where did you spend this New Year’s Eve?
Performing at an event here in Austin with friends. It was a blast! I posted the videos and mix on YouTube. If you search for Deuce Parks, you’ll find me.
What does music mean to you?
Freedom from reality.
Can you tell us about your debut as a DJ, how did it go?
Not too well. I was a vinyl DJ primarily and the event only provided CDJ’s. I bombed pretty bad. I think this was back in 2004, it was a learning experience. After that, I learned how to play in all formats in case that situation ever occurred again.
Are there any particular memories (good or bad) as a DJ, or as an attendee?
As an attendee, there are too many good memories to describe and that’s what drove me to do what I am doing today. As a DJ, just witnessing everyone having a good time enjoying the music and dancing is all I could ever ask for. That’s what it’s all about.
What is the biggest challenge or sacrifice you have made or have to make in doing what you do?
To me, there has never been a sacrifice in choosing to do what I do. At my age not living a traditional lifestyle, most people are already married with kids and settling down. My focus is the music. Accepting that I’ve gone too far in this profession to turn back is my choice, it’s all or nothing to me and I’m going all-in on music.
Which artists would you say have influenced your sound directly?
DJ Shadow, John Carpenter, Trent Reznor, Richie Hawtin, Magda, Marc Houle, and The RZA.
Things could go rough, how do you keep yourself motivated creatively?
Never forcing a project, I never go into the studio unless I feel creative. It’s important for me in producing to never feel forced. So to stay creative, I wait for it to come to me naturally in my brain, then I hit the studio ready to produce. Those moments can occur every couple of hours, from days to weeks. Also, of course, hearing new releases by other artists daily always inspires me!
How do you usually prepare before a gig, how much space do you leave for improvisation in your sets?
I like to have a vision of what the venue and the crowd will be expecting first. After that, I can prepare a setlist of music to choose from, which will accent the event properly. I always leave plenty of space left for improvising because you never know how a night could go and you want to be ready for anything. I carry many genres of Techno with me at all times from chill minimal to heavy after-hours warehouse bangers.
What is your standard or most preferred technical setup for the performance?
Just 4x CDJ’s and a mixer. It’s become the standard at most venues so it’s easy to just carry a USB instead of carrying crates of equipment. I’m totally fine with that until I move on to live performances someday.
Can you name your favorite venue that you have performed in?
I wouldn’t call it a venue but more of a festival. This festival is called Esthetic Evolution and it takes place in the beautiful mountains of Idaho. Never have I performed in a more beautiful setting with the most amazing crowd. I’ll always cherish those memories.
Where do you think the scene is heading? One year from now, five years from now?
I feel technology is taking over more and more so it will enable almost anyone to be a DJ. However, technology is also evolving in the studio. I’m very excited about the developments and interested to see what other like-minded artists come up with in the studio as well. As far as the scene goes, it’s only going to get bigger globally every year I feel. Electronic dance music brings more people together than anything else and it’s only increasing the more people are introduced to it. It’s a beautiful thing.
Is there anything that bugs you about today’s DJ scene?
People that are in it for the wrong reasons. You can tell over time the ones that have their heart in the right place, and the ones that are only trying to do it for the “fame.”
For the last one, name three artists that currently inspire you!
1. Maksim Dark, a mastermind and a beast! 2. Francois Dillinger, music brought us together and we currently collaborate on many projects. He always seems to have new sounds that I’ve never heard before and that’s hard. 3. Richie Hawtin, his close performance this last year is awe-inspiring. A legend.
The current climate emergency is now very real. What steps do you think the music industry can take to reduce their impact on this problem in the coming years?
With music, everything is becoming digital so I’m glad albums aren’t being transported anymore. Back then when there were CD’s and cassettes, there was so much waste and plastic wrappers etc. I think the digital age is the answer. Until we can fly without gasoline, electric transportation for events is the way to go.
What is one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?
DJ Shadow – Blood on the Motorway (Original Mix).
Do you still find the time to party and enjoy the scene when usually being on the other side of the decks?
I do, fortunately I live in a city where there are events every night of the week so really I can go out anytime and support the local scene.
What moments would you consider as your breakthrough in your career so far?
All the times Richie Hawtin started playing my music at his events, seeing those massive crowds dance to music I made at home made me feel certain that I’m headed in the right direction.
Looking back at 2019, do you have any special moments, personally or professionally, that made an impact on you?
A lot more learning this past year instead of focusing on releases. I’m learning how perfect the sound I’m aiming for more than the number of tracks. I learned not to rush anything this past year. Perfection takes all the time it needs.
What do you think makes a great DJ?
Reading the crowd and having a vast taste for music of all types to know what to play in any situation.
What advice could you give for aspiring DJs?
Don’t try to be anyone or play like anyone else except yourself. The more you try to learn from someone already existing, the further you are from finding the style that you’re the best at.
You are based in Austin, Texas; could you tell us the best and worst things about the techno scene in this city? Which is your favorite club there?
Well, we had two clubs specifically for techno in this city but they recently have been shut down so we’ve had to relocate. Many of the best events currently are formed underground and thrown at warehouses around the city. There is a small following for techno, so it revolves around the lineup. The crowds usually follow the lineup wherever they may be playing. Whether it’s at a downtown club or after-hours at a warehouse somewhere. The worst thing is not having enough population to demand it be a permanent fixture in my city.
Do you have any plans for 2020 in terms of club events, summer festivals?
Oh yes many. If you follow me on social media you’ll see the events I’ll be playing this summer across the county. I’m looking to involve more lasers and visuals at my future performances. I believe bringing a visual element to the music is very important even sometimes when it needs to be pitch black in the room.
You DJ and produce; what is more, exciting to do, or they both exciting activities? Have you considered switching to live performances?
Both are equally exciting. The feeling when a production track all comes together in the studio matches the adrenaline rush I get when the crowd goes crazy at an event that I’m performing at. I love both aspects of music.
We know your ‘laser man’ outfit; can you tell us what is the story behind that?
As I stated earlier I believe visuals are an important element to any performance. The laser suite for me is to push things to the next level. You’ll never forget the performer that was wearing lasers right? It’s kinda the “X-Factor” element I bring to any event to stand out from the rest.
We are about to release your 2nd EP on Plazma Records. Can you tell a story behind Degenerate Souls, what does it mean to you? What do you think about remix tracks? The sound of you in minimal is really serious and dark, quite signature one. Can you tell us how you got to this point?
Yes, I’m very excited about this one! Being able to share my sounds which aren’t traditionally typical in the genre is important to me. I’m happy this label allows that and most of all support me to share those sounds. The tracks on this album are influenced by early 80’s horror and the early tracks from Plus 8 records particularly the track, “Amenity” by Link. The sound I produce is inspired by mostly 80’s synth-wave type of horror movie scores. Eventually someday I want to make movie scores for independent horror films on the big screen.