Photo: Peter Pabon (Anthony Parasole)
Anthony Parasole has been a reliable force in dance music for decades now, but that doesn’t mean that he has ever been predictable. With the release of Headrush on Ron Morelli’s L.I.E.S., the New York City-based The Corner owner debuted under his new FULL EFX moniker. The album was marked by a different approach than his previous releases under his given name, taking established formulas as a starting point for wild rhythmic and vocal experimentation. Parasole is taking the new project on tour in the form of a hybrid set that sees him alternate between and blend live music and DJing. Though his contribution to our Groove podcast is a straight up DJ mix, it would be wrong to assume that it’s in any way conventional: this is not your usual techno set because Parasole is simply not your usual techno DJ.
Last year, you released Headrush, your second solo album. It came out under a pseudonym, though, FULL EFX. Why’s that?
After my last album Infrared Vision I learned so much and decided I didn’t want to just release another Anthony Parasole project. I knew I reached my ceiling on that, so I needed to redefine and sharpen my sound sonically and that’s what I did. In doing so I decided a full name change should align with it because I also built a hybrid set around the music which lets me perform as FULL EFX. In the end, it’s much more than just a new pseudonym in my perspective.
Musically, the album clearly draws on established dance music formulas but lets them mutate. How would you characterise your approach or concept when writing these pieces?
I wanted to marry the listening experience to the dancefloor and vice versa. However, I didn’t want to use any common tropes that you see on techno albums such as the introspective ambient track in the beginning, middle and end. So I instead decided on moving my drums around and the tempos, too, to engage different emotions.
Your work with a lot of—usually heavily manipulated—vocals throughout the album. What drew you to integrating them more prominently into your sound than before?
Over time, in my DJing, I’ve been experimenting with a lot of vocals throughout my sets and I figured, “Why not introduce this to my productions?” The FULL EFX album is the result of that.
The project isn’t restricted to the studio, you have already mentioned the “hybrid” sets that you play under that moniker in clubs. What does they entail?
Yes, I do! I use three CDJ-3000s, a sampler, a drum machine and synth and two guitar pedals to expand upon my DJ set or going completely live, then bounce back into DJing. It’s kinda like improvisation and it keeps me focused and completely free.
Headrush was released on Ron Morelli’s L.I.E.S., which marks the first time you’re working with the label for a solo release. What made it a suitable home for this record?
There’s many reasons why! The first is that I love the label and the music. The second is the human that runs it, Ron Morelli is a really good friend of mine. This was something we always wanted to do over the years, but this project lined up perfectly and honestly it couldn’t have been handled any better. He completely helped execute the vision in every way possible.
Your latest solo release under your given name came out in 2020 on your own label, The Corner, which has since been dormant. What is the status quo regarding the label, are you letting it rest for now?
I’m really not sure as of yet. It’s not shut down and I’m not active only because I’ve put all my energy into the FULL EFX project overall. I felt it needed 110 % of my energy
As a DJ, you’ve always tried to shake things up by incorporating music from other genres into your sets. A few years ago, in an interview with Resident Advisor’s Ryan Keeling, you said that you have occasionally been criticised for doing that. Would you say crowds have become more receptive since then?
I’m not sure, really. I do think that I there is a core base of music lovers who come out to hear me play all over the world and they just know it’s a experience. At this point I think if somebody comes out with a preconceived notion of what they think techno is today, they may not love what I do as I get very experimental at points. But then, some love that, so it’s not easy for me to gauge that climate.
There’s a huge debate raging within the German scene and beyond about the recent trend to use edits or reworks of pop songs from the 1990s and 2000s, usually within the framework of hard trance music. Essentially, the music has become faster and brighter, and a lot of DJs feel uncomfortable about that—there seems to exist a sort of pressure to deliver hit after hit. Have you followed these discussions or experienced this phenomenon in your work as a DJ? If so, what is your stance on this development?
I really haven’t. You know what, I’ll be honest—in 2019, I made alot of changes personally in how I’m living and I’m home in Brooklyn much more, so I’m not really experiencing this trance movement like abroad. However, I see alot of DJs playing extremely hard and fast and I just think it’s excessive. It doesn’t bother me, I just think playing hard and fast 110% of the set doesn’t equal hard and fast! It’s draining and loses the purpose and emotion to playing hard and fast. I’ve never been married to a tempo or genre but there’s for sure some weird trends currently and let’s be honest Instagram and TiKTok have a lot to do with it. If you’re DJing a hypnotic track and the crowd is fully entranced and locked in, how does that translate to a 15-second Instagram reel? Food for thought! (laughs)
What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?
Basically implementing everything I said above into a mix. Im pretty happy with how it sounds sonically and I hope the listener does, too!
Last but not least: what are your plans for the future?
I’m firing up the machines and am going to start writing and recording some new music. Stay tuned!
Stream: Anthony Parasole – Groove Podcast 382
01. Factory Floor – Turn It Up
02. Rat Heart – Stressss
03. TYGAPAW – PRESSURE
04. Levon Vincent – REGARDING LOVE
05. PSSU – 307309
06. Raär – No See
07. Taksi – Schneesturm (DE9 Remix)
08. Roberto – Congo
09. K’ Alexi Shelby – We Bang
10. Joton Ft. LUĐØ – Stepping Stone
11. Coffintexts – TOUCH
12. Alarico – Keep Steppin_ (Original Mix)
13. Joey Anderson – Monotheism master
14. Michael J Blood & Rat Heart – Trouble