Theo Parrish

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Theo Parrish
Theo Parrish at the 2014 Tauron Nowa Muzyka in Katowice, Poland.
Theo Parrish at the 2014 Tauron Nowa Muzyka in Katowice, Poland.
Background information
Born1972 (age 50–51)
OriginWashington, D.C.
GenresDeep house[1]
Occupation(s)DJ, record producer
Years active1998–present
LabelsSound Signature, Peacefrog Records, Submerge Recordings, Ugly Edits

Theo Parrish (born 1972[2]) is an American DJ and record producer based in Detroit, Michigan,[3] and known for his genre-spanning DJ sets and unconventional house productions.[2] He is an owner of the Sound Signature record label,[4] and a member of the group 3 Chairs.[5]


Theo Parrish was born in Washington, D.C. in 1972.[2] He grew up in Chicago, Illinois, listening to Miles Davis, Nina Simone, and George Gershwin.[6] He studied at the Chicago Academy of the Arts and the Kansas City Art Institute.[7] While at KCAI, he concentrated on sound sculptures, creating sonic pieces by combining live instruments, human voices, and looped recordings.[6] In 1994, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.[8]

After graduating, Parrish moved to Detroit and became involved in the city's music scene, eventually releasing the track "Lake Shore Drive" as a B-side to a Moodymann 12" in 1995.[2] His first solo release was the Baby Steps EP on Elevate in 1996.[2] Parrish launched the label Sound Signature in 1997, and followed with his debut LP First Floor in 1998 on Peacefrog Records.[2]

He is a member of 3 Chairs,[9] with Detroit DJs Rick Wilhite, Moodymann, and Marcellus Pitman,[5] The Rotating Assembly,[10] and of T.O.M. Project.[11] He often used the Akai MPC 2000XL in his productions.[12]


Parrish became known for his eclectic house DJ sets, in which he mixed "classics and obscurities" from disco, jazz, soul, and new wave.[2] His early releases weaved these influences into "slow-burning, immersive grooves."[2] Vice stated that "his lengthy sets are masterclasses in the manipulation of black dance music, EQ heavy workouts that educate, entertain and inform," and added that "Parrish has an innate understanding of the pleasure that comes with repetition."[13]


Studio albums

  • First Floor (Peacefrog Records, 1998)
  • Parallel Dimensions (Sound Signature, 2000)
  • Sound Sculptures Volume 1 (Sound Signature, 2007)
  • Et Tu Brute (Submerge Recordings, 2007) (with Duminie Deporres)
  • Sketches (Sound Signature, 2010)
  • American Intelligence (Sound Signature, 2014)
  • Wuddaji (Sound Signature, 2020)

Compilation albums

  • Sound Signature Sounds (Sound Signature, 2000)
  • Sound Signature Sounds Vol. 2 (Sound Signature, 2012)
  • Black Jazz Signature (Snow Dog Records, 2013)


  1. ^ Anderson-Rich, Louis. "THE 15 BEST PRE-00S DEEP HOUSE ALBUMS". Mixmag. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Bush, John. "Theo Parrish - Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  3. ^ Burns, Todd L. (April 29, 2008). "Theo Parrish: Unusual suspect". Resident Advisor. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  4. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Sound Signature Sounds - Theo Parrish". AllMusic. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "3 Chairs retrospective from Theo Parrish, Moodymann and Rick Wilhite". Fact. September 22, 2009. Archived from the original on October 4, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Cochrane, Tom (December 24, 2009). "Theo Parrish: Sound sculptor". Junkee. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  7. ^ Rowlands, Marc (February 18, 2015). "Theo Parrish". Mixmag. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  8. ^ "Deep Space: Theo Parrish & Francois K at Cielo". XLR8R. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  9. ^ Segal, Dave (December 1, 2005). "Data Breaker". The Stranger. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  10. ^ Mr. Beatnick (September 12, 2010). "The Essential... Theo Parrish (page 9 of 11)". Fact. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  11. ^ "Fact mix 201: Marcellus Pittman". Fact. November 12, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  12. ^ CDR Berlin Workshop THEO PARRISH (Detroit), retrieved 2022-07-14
  13. ^ Baines, Josh. "American Intelligence: A Primer on Theo Parrish". Vice. Retrieved 13 April 2021.

External links[edit]