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Women Respond to Bass

The reighning queen of Mo' Wax Andrea Parker cranks the beats on her own terms

It's all about control. Andrea Parker makes the music she wants, when she wants. Period. Her high standards and uncompromising attitude have earned deals with some of the world's top-level electronic labels like R&S. Infonet. Sabrettes, and most recently Mo Wax, who have so far released two EPs-Melodious Thunk and Rocking Chair (due out in July), respectively-and look forward to a forthcoming album in the fall from this 24-year-old powerhouse. Her grooves expressive, metallic, hold, strong- quite simply kick ass.

While women in techno are still about as rare as a monk in a whorehouse, Parker manages to defy the few stereotypes that haveve begun to pop up as far as what's considered feminine in electronica.

"I make all my bass sounds and kicks from massive analogue monsters, the old Moogs and stuff." she explains. "I never ever have taken a preset from a keyboard. I always make my own sounds and they're always ten times heavier.

"I remember once. I went to get a dub-plate cut." she says. beginning to laugh. "The kick on the B-side of Melodious Thunk is really quite severe. I was in the culling room and the bass was rumbling and everyone was looking at me like, Where did you get at bass sound from?' thinking I was going to have this really pretty, tinkly sort of bass sound and this big thing came out and everything fell off the speakers. It was really funny. People just really don't believe that you could do a bassline like that, that's sort of fat..."

Parker's seven years of creating dark and heavy beats and three years as an in-demand DJ make her a veteran in this still- new scene. yet she often finds herself in the position of having to prove herself. Her 1994 collaboration with David Morley as Two Sandwiches Short of a Lunchbox ("Because there were two of us and we were quite mad," she giggles (on R&S still left the skeptics questioning.

"David's quite a respected techno guy and he'd get people going up to him and nudging him sarcastically, like, `Yeah. she really did the bassline, didn't she?"' she quips. "Here, a lot of journalists ask you what it's like being a female in the music industry and how do you fit your housework in and all these kinds of things, which isn't treating us as equals. We're not seen to be taking about the equipment, the records that we buy, and where we record."

Any doubts as to her technical prowess will be swept away upon listening to Rocking Chair, completed with the assistance of 40 members of London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra live in studio. It was composed electronically on synthesizers and fea- tures remixes from Mo' Wax labelmates Major Force and Attica Blues. As a trained cellist, it was an amazing opportunity for Parker to combine two vast spheres of her musical influences, a trend she hopes to continue as she nears completion of her debut album.

"What I'm trying to do with the album is cross over with half- electronic and half live stuff." she explains. "All the twelve- inches that I've put out before on Infonet and R&S. etc, have been quite weird, electro-y experimental electronic music so l want to still have that element in there as well but also have that live element. It's more of my influences that I grew up with in my childhood that I want to involve in the album."

A former session singer, Parker also flirts with vocals and lyrics (which she penned herself) for the album, which she says will be "quite visual and dark. I just like really moody music. I really like dark, heavy sounds and loads of bass and stuff. I just hate cheesy music, progressive music and stuff."

Gigs and recording keep her busy, but there's still time to plan is perfect unveiling of her new material.

"There's a place here where Mozart and people have played that's really quite surreal. There's a hill that slopes down and a sound system outside. People bring their picnics and champagne and sit on the hill but the actual stage is behind the water. There's a bridge that goes over it so I kind of imagine me floating on a lily pad.

"One day it's going to happen," she says assurely. "I've just got this feeling."

By Tamara Palmer

Originally Appeared in from URB Summer Soltice issue. July 1996 volume 6 Issue no. 49.
Copyright © URB/Tamara Palmer.