When bands reform it's usually either because they've got unfinished business, or they need the cash. Or both. For prog/trance duo Parks & Wilson, it's definitely more the former.
“It’s our Fleetwood Mac moment,” exclaims Mick Wilson, tongue firmly in-cheek. “Kate Bush is also making a return to the stage, and we thought we couldn’t let those guys steal all the limelight!”
After more than a decade apart, P&W have been tempted back together by long-term friend Brent Lawson from Scottish label Pro-B-Tech Records. He's arranging some reunion gigs for them and releasing a brand-new Tilt album in September too.
Tilt was the project that initially involved Mick Parks, Mick Wilson and John Graham, aka Quivver, the prog house dude who moved to the States at the turn of the Millennium, having had a Tilt Top 20 hit with 'Invisible'.
The ‘trance’ and ‘progressive’ genres have changed a lot since the late '90s — a fact which hasn’t passed Mick Parks by.
“Things obviously evolve and splinter but what people now class as ‘trance’ and ‘progressive house’ just sounds too formulated to me,” he reckons, “it’s style and production technique over substance.
“The new Tilt sound still has those big sonics and melodies, but the BPM has dropped considerably,” Parks continues. “This obviously changes a lot of the dynamics in our production, but musically it has the same feel, so I will be playing that kind of sound in my set.”
Parks and Wilson first met at legendary 24-hour rave venue The Eclipse in Coventry in the early '90s. “I was the resident when it first opened and Mick Wilson was one of the big name DJs in Coventry at the time,” Parks recalls. “He was also a regular act at all the major rave events in the Midlands and I got to know him through my brother.”
It wasn't long before they started DJing alongside each other at The Eclipse. “Stuart Reid who owned the club then started to bill us both as ‘Parks & Wilson’,” Mick P says. “We would record many of our DJ sets onto a tape cassette and sell them.”
They started DJing further afield as a duo too, at places like Shelley's in Stoke-on-Trent that Sasha had made famous, and after they formed Tilt with John Graham they came to the attention of Paul Oakenfold, who released 'I Dream' on his Perfecto imprint in 1995.
“'I Dream' had a sampled vocal from Björk, who gave us permission to use it,” says Mick Wilson. “It had an epic breakdown that went on for ages, but the build added to the euphoria of when the track dropped back in.”
The track was huge at Cream, the Liverpool club where P&W sometimes filled in for Oakey when he was away. They also toured as part of the Perfecto Tours package, and went on to become residents at ill-fated central London club Home alongside Oakey too.
Tilt had several other big club hits after signing to seminal prog/tribal label Hooj Choons, while P&W were one of the first DJ acts to mix a prestigious Global Underground ‘Boxed’ comp, and played all around the world. “One huge event was playing to 25,000 people at The Docklands Arena in London with Faithless, which was pretty wild to say the least!” remembers Mick Parks.
Mick Wilson went on to start a band called The Broken Dolls, who signed to Norman Cook’s Southern Fried label, and soon the band’s activities eclipsed the DJing — and P&W went their separate ways. Mick Parks went on to continue Tilt with trance producer Andy Moor, while Mick Wilson busied himself with all sorts of nefarious activities.
“It’s been 10 years since the last Parks & Wilson gig but in those 10 years we’ve matured into two very nice men,” Mick W says. “Slightly older, a touch of grey but still kicking it when it counts.”
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