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John Parm: From Hip-Hop Beats to Underground Grooves, An Exclusive Dive into His Musical Evolution.

Kono Vidovic March 20, 2024 80 11 5

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It’s not every day that we encounter an artist who truly reshapes the contours of music genres, blending them with a unique personal touch that resonates with both the heart and the soul. Today, I have the immense pleasure of introducing you to an extraordinary talent who has seamlessly transitioned from the vibrant French rap scene to captivate the underground dance floors with his electrifying grooves, John Parm. In this exclusive interview, we delve deep into John’s journey, exploring the rhythms and beats that have defined his illustrious career and his vision for the future of electronic music. Join me as we uncover the story behind the man who’s bringing a funky twist to the Belgian electronic scene, proving once and for all that music knows no boundaries.

John Parm

1. Can you share the story behind your transition from producing for the French speaking rap scene to focusing on underground dancefloors as John Parm?

I’ve never stopped being a rap fan. But when I got old enough to party to clubs/raves, I began to open up musically and discover several styles of electronic music. I then made the connection between these styles and hip-hop culture, and it seemed logical to me not to necessarily distinguish these two worlds. In my opinion, this is all too often the case in Europe.

I’ve also been producing less and less for the rap scene, as I’ve developed a taste for speeding up my productions with more funky influences and playing them in clubs.

2. How has your background as a breakdancer influenced your approach to producing and DJing?

As a breakdancer, my elders naturally introduced me to a lot of funk music, electro-funk and also to crate digging. This has greatly influenced my beats, in which I’ve always tried to add as much groove as possible.

Also, Breakbeats have always been an integral part of my productions, even when I slowed them down for MC’s. Later, I continued to use them in a faster way, adding drum machines and synths on top.

3. Across your diverse career, which project or collaboration stands out to you as particularly memorable or influential?

This is not really a collaboration but I’d say all the famous artists I grew up with and was lucky enough to share the stage with. It was more in my Hip Hop periode but artists like Sugar Hill Gang, Grand Master Flash, Madlib, KRS One and more.

4. How do you balance the influence of various electronic music genres with your hip-hop mindset when producing new tracks?

Back in the days, I felt like a scyzophrenic because I had two groups of friends. The B-Boys/ Hip Hop Heads on one side and the ravers on the other side. This is why I have unconsciously separated my music productions in two projects. I think this is really a European thing because when you look at the New-York, Detroit or Chicago scene, you truly can see that all these house or techno artists have a Hip Hop mentality and they are convinced that these scenes have the same roots. This is why I don’t want to over think of a balance of influence today but more that all my background have created my own identity over time.

5. Could you walk us through your creative process? How do you start a track and decide it’s finished?

It depends. I can start with a drum loop or some chords. Or when I work with a vocalist it can be a voice melody. I sample less than before but it can also be a sample for a record that I like.

I decide that the track is finished when the editing is not boring and all the instruments sound good on several sound systems. 

6. What piece of gear or software has been pivotal in shaping the sound of John Parm?

I’ve used the Roland TR707 a lot these past three years. It drove me into a more quantized way of producing compared to the workflow I was used to when producing hand-played boombap beats.
I’m also a big fan of the moogy/Funky bassline sound so my Model-D is also a piece I can’t work without today.

7. As both a label owner and an artist, how do you navigate the challenges of the music industry today?

Like the label name says, It’s really the beginning so I’m still discover how to manage my time between my personal creation and the tasks I have to do to release other people music but I’m really passionate by the two sides and because I love to think about every part of an artistic project like the graphic identity, the communication, the release plan etc. It doesn’t matter if this work is done for other people or for me, I really enjoy doing it.

8. What was the vision behind establishing Just Begun Records, and how has it evolved since its inception?

I first launched a Bandcamp page to put a kind of brand under the releases I wanted to put out by myself. Then I organized parties in some Brussels bars under “Just Begun Rec. presents” with a guest DJ and myself at each edition. The idea of releasing other people music came because a lot of my friends producers with the same music taste release their music by them self too so a compilation was a good first step to turn “Just Begun Records” into a real record label.

9. Belgium’s electronic music scene is thriving. How do you see your role and Just Begun Records’ place within it?

The Belgian Electronic music reputation is mainly based on its hard scene. When you ask to other people what is the Belgian sound, people often mention the techno labels/artists and they don’t naturally think of groovy music when it comes to Belgian electronic sound. This is what I want to change. I would like to show how groovy Belgian electronic music can be.

10. “Just Begun Vol.1” is described as a journey into Belgian grooves. How did you curate the tracks and artists featured on the compilation?

I knowed a lot of them personally for a long time before starting this project.
I wanted to represent a large panel of groovy styles that I’m listening to like House, Broken Beat, Boogie, Electro.

Some of them don’t claim to belong to just one of these styles and mix all these influences. This is what I like too.

John Parm Press pic

11. The compilation spans genres like House, Broken Beat, and Disco. What was the rationale behind this eclectic selection?

Just the desire to showcase the diversity of Belgian groove.

12. Could you share a story or a particular challenge you faced while putting together “Just Begun Vol.1”?

A compilation is something particular because this is not working with a single artist. This is really team management. I had to be in touch every day with the fifteen artists to ask them a lot of things like promo material etc.

I’m also alone to manage everything so this is sometimes hard.

13. With “Just Begun Vol.1” now complete, what’s next for Just Begun Records and for John Parm as an artist?

Before thinking of the volume 2, I want to first release some EP’s of Belgian artists that I like (I hope on vinyl). I’m also working when I got time on my personal project so maybe a new EP will follow this year too.

14. How do you stay inspired and continue to innovate in your music and projects?

My main inspiration comes when I travel and meet people at parties or other events. Crate digging is also a real fuel for me.

15. If you could collaborate with any artist or producer, dead or alive, who would it be and why

George Clinton because he never became a boomer and he’s still fascinated by new generations.

A few final words.

As our journey through the sonic landscapes curated by John Parm comes to an end, I’m left inspired by the passion, creativity, and dedication that he pours into every beat. John’s story is a testament to the power of music to transcend genres, cultures, and expectations, crafting a world where the only limit is our imagination. A heartfelt thank you to John Parm for sharing his journey and insights with us, and for reminding us of the unifying force of music.

Don’t miss out on experiencing the latest masterpiece from this incredible artist – “Just Begun Vol.1,” a journey into Belgian modern grooves that promises to be a landmark in the evolution of electronic music. Immerse yourself in the groovy, electrifying vibes by checking out the compilation and supporting the artists involved. Let’s continue to celebrate and elevate the sounds that bring us together.

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Kono Vidovic at Dirty Disco

Kono Vidovic

DJ | MUSIC CURATOR & SELECTOR | PODCAST MAKER | BLOGGER Professional online interpreneur. Coffee practitioner. Electronic music culture maven. Total music guru. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Food & sports fanatic.

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