- Rob Day
Following the success of their recent live show, BabyStep would like to introduce Manchester-based duo Paryah. Consisting of Luke Whittingham and Sam Burrell, Paryah is in many ways an unorthodox act. Whilst incorporating the unmistakable sounds of deep house and melodic techno into their work, the duo seamlessly lace their sets with guitar and vocals, creating a sonic experience like no other. Although championing a DIY setup, they are no strangers to the live circuit, and have played a series of events across Leeds and Manchester, one of which being their show with Delphic at Wire last year. We caught up with Paryah ahead of their Manchester date at their Residents Rooms show, where they graced the intimate yet atmospheric venue of 33 Oldham Street. Standing behind an impressive plethora of musical hardware and bathed in neon blue light, the pair treated an eager and intimate crowd to a immersive journey through their firmly established sound. Here's what they say to say:
For people who aren’t familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
Luke: I feel that our sound is a mix of several things. Melodic house and techno would be the easiest way to pinpoint it but when the live set comes together, there are many points of influence that are added into the final sound.
How does your production process work- what element of a track is usually the starting point for you?
Luke: Its weird really, there isn’t a set way that anything comes about. Sometimes Sam will develop a full track then pass it onto me, and then I'll add a few more elements including vocals and guitar. Or sometimes I will develop like a loop of 4/5 melodies then pass it on to Sam who will add develop it further into a full track. Then when we practice, things are either completed within 20 minutes, or we can often find ourselves on tangents which can throw so many more new ideas into the frame.
Individually, how do your tastes in music compare? Is Paryah’s sound a result of a unity between your tastes, or a results of two different and contrasting tastes coming together?
Luke: As we said earlier our field of influence is huge. We mainly listen to similar music due to us being together almost every hour of every day, so its normally a case of if one of us comes across a new tune that we like, then we are both there to hear it. I really enjoy listening to melodic techno, almost swaying to deep house at times due to the strength of the melodic content. I also find myself listening to tracks which feature vocals.
Sam: We’ve both been listening to a lot of new wave jazz that is appearing at the moment which I feel has undoubtedly had an influence on some of the more recent tracks that we have been producing. People like Joe Armonn Jones, Alfa mist and BADBADNOTGOOD are definitely having an influence on the melodies we use.
How did you each initially get into music?
Sam: Its been something that has been a huge part of lives for almost ten years now. When we both attended the same secondary school, we both were immersed in music. After a couple of years at school it felt as if the inevitable happened when we began our first project together. We gigged around our hometown Nottingham for about 4 years in our old band before we came to uni which was where to main shift towards electronic music happened. In our later years of sixth form we were incorporating more production into our music and also had picked up DJ’ing, so the electronic influences were definitely coming through. It took a little while to develop our first couple of tracks with our new sound.
Luke: We released a track in the summer of our first year but we weren’t overly happy with the direction it took us, and then ‘Cards’ came to the surface and we felt that was the path we wanted to go down.
Are there any specific artists or releases that you feel really played a part in crafting your style?
Luke: I reckon in the earlier stages of our production, Ame’s remixes of Howling were a major building block for us. The way that all the tracks don’t move too far away from the original but also enable it to be played in much more of club environment is something that Ame does with ease, and we felt that the energy that the tracks bring was something we wanted to capture with our music.
Sam: We are both big admirers of Ame’s work, and another remix that held influence in our production was the Frank Wiedemann remix of Kalabrese’s ‘Stone On Your Back’. This track was one that found itself on repeat in the summer of our first year and the influence is clear in tracks like ‘Paolo’.
What would you say has been the most significant moment in Paryah’s journey so far?
Sam: I think playing to a full Wire in Leeds for Delphic was a top moment. It was like our third live set in front of an audience and it couldn’t have been a better. Another good moment was playing Origins festival. At this stage a lot of people had only heard our music online and we hadn’t had a chance to showcase our live set to them. To have all your mates located in one place and to have the chance to play your music to them is something that anyone would enjoy. Also how both of these events were managed came in as a huge positive.
Luke: We know how difficult it can be to execute a good event so credit to Delphic and the Origins team for putting in copious amounts of hard work to ensure a good time!
What gave you the inspiration to incorporate guitar and vocals into a genre that typically doesn’t contain such sounds?
Luke: I think the fact that we both had produced mainly guitar music in the earlier stages of our career made it feel natural to get the guitar involved. We also felt as though it adds a different dimension to our music, similar to the vocals.
Sam: You hear a lot of vocals over the top of electronic music, and I think it plays a key part in adding layers and texture to the track, so we felt that if we were able to add to it to our music it would only beneficial.
Paryah Live Session in Hidden, Manchester
What can we expect from Paryah in the future?
Luke: Well we have two singles which show a good contrast in the production style that are almost ready to be released, so sit tight for them. We have an exciting video project which will give you an insight on the production of our music on the way. Then I suppose we will just be releasing music and playing as many shows as possible! (Book us)
Images from Matty Woodcock
Cover image from Amie Fretter