London based Tim Parker was always destined to be on the radio: even way back at primary school he recorded pretend shows and took them in to play to his friends. He’s come a long way since then, though, establishing the You’ll Soon Know show on hugely influential online radio station NTS thanks to his fearless selecting and forward thinking taste.
Describe yourself in 200 (or more) characters
Thanks for having me. Well, I’m the worst at this. I guess I’m a pretty nerdy guy who loves music and likes to travel the world whenever possible.
What are your responsibilities at Mixcloud?
I’m a developer and designer at Mixcloud. I’m involved in keeping a lot of the front-end of the website in check, as well as working on designs and ideas for upcoming features or changes.
The new Mixcloud design looks great. What were your goals when designing it? Did you work together with other people?
Thanks, I’m glad you like it! We have an awesome team at Mixcloud, so other than myself, one of the founders Nico was working on the core ideas, as well as Yavor who is also a designer here. We had a lot of challenges with the design, constraints such as adverts and also it being easy for the old users to use, as well as many new users. I think our idea was to really bring it up to speed with what’s happening on the web right now. It needed to be easier to use as an uploader as well as listener, we also wanted to make it so you can be proud to have your content on the site and make it appealing enough to share. I think we’re well on our way now, but there’s still a lot more to come, it’s going to be an exciting year.
What is the balance between your design and development work?
I’d say it’s literally a 50/50 split. If I do too much of one I get eager to do something else, and vice versa so that suits me I think. It’s nice to work on designs and then be able to put it intro practice afterwards (and keep an eye on it all the way through to completion, I am a bit OCD with my pixels, haha). Sometimes in the freelance days I’d design something and it would end up on a website looking nothing like the original photoshop creation, so nowadays I try to keep on top of both aspects as much as possible.
What is your (educational) background? How does it tie in with what you are currently doing?
I studied graphic design at university, but it was a really shit course.. In fact it was terrible for the most part. We had one really skilled typography teacher who I took a lot from and I’ll always be thankful for that though.
Most of my time there I was busy doing my own projects or freelance work, I think we only had classes for one day a week. I was basically just getting the grades to hurry up and leave, and to be honest it doesn’t tie in much with my work right now. No job I’ve had since leaving ever asked for my grades or test results, It’s all been purely based on previous work, portfolios and to some extent potential. Education gave me great friends who we’re actually like me in many ways, plus a lot of musical inspiration. I owe a lot to my friend Liam for actually pushing me and helping me really learn to mix records.
How do you keep up with your work as a designer, developer and DJ?
I really enjoy my day job, it doesn’t really feel like work compared to many things I’ve done in the past. I think I enjoy the fact I’m not doing music full time (not that I could). With my radio show being every two weeks and the odd gig scattered between I always seem to find them both really enjoyable and am always excited for both. In the end they both compliment each other nicely, I still take on too much work and shouldn’t, but it’s definitely all manageable if I’m not stupid about it, I definitely like to keep busy. Oh and I listen to music all day while working, which is a great way to check through things i’ve been sent or wanted to listen to!
“I like to DJ and play just how I feel and see where the vibes take me,” he muses. “So one time I might play really chill, sometimes upbeat, sometimes old, sometimes new, but I always try to bring a groove and something that people enjoy even if it’s not what they usually hear or expect.”
You’ve recently visited Los Angeles to meet the Soulection crew. Tell us something about your experiences in LA, is it the current beat capitol of the world for example?
Los Angeles is like a second home to me. I’d always wanted to visit watching the skate and music scenes there while growing up, so when I had the chance I jumped at it. I went to visit a few times years ago, and thanks to my friend Adrian who put me up for way too long I went back and stayed for three months after university. I owe a lot to him for that. I interned at a design studio by the beach, doing that everyday, even with the 4 hours of commuting from downtown or Hollywood I still fell in love with it. Mexican food on the beach, visiting Low End on my own on a Wednesday or hanging with all my homies. The place is like a creative mecca and influenced me hugely, it also definitely helped me musically and with the day job. It has it’s bad parts as with any big city, but whenever I visit be it for a month or a week, I always leave loving the place even more. A huge part of it is owed to the many great friends I have there and everyone’s generosity. Maybe being there full time id start to be pissed at the traffic etc, but probably not as it’s always sunny so I wouldn’t care.
Hanging with Soulection is always dope. I met Joe through Paul Pre back in 2012, he’s a truly genuine and great character. He is always listening and learning and it’s taken him really far already. Jacqueline stayed over here with us in Summer and yeah that whole gang is great, I think they are going to be huge and I always wish them luck. I’m already excited to jam with them next time I’m in town, or hopefully before when they make it over to Europe very soon.
Regarding the music culture, how does LA compare to London?
Well, I’m sure the 365 day sunshine helps, it’s hard to make those summery beats here in the darkest winter months thats for sure. Hmm, that is a tough one to answer though. LA has a different culture in the club for sure, people don’t act the same way in LA to London. LA has so much history with it’s music but you can’t get away from what drum n bass, dubstep, jungle etc all did in London and the legacy they leave. Also the whole 18+ not 21+ thing is huge.
Which producers should we look out for?
This list could be endless, I will miss people but I’m just going to roll off some people who I’ve been feeling a lot in the past few months or year. Tehbis, They Call Me Raptor, Chesslo Junior, Mock Sun, The Range, Bambooman, Alphabets Heaven.. literally the list will just keep going on so I’m going to stop there. Basically just listen to some of the shows, most people I play on there, haha.
Who are your biggest design influencers?
Without getting too nerdy I look up to a lot of UI designers who work at companies such as Dropbox, Square, Stripe, Native, Simple, obviously a bunch of freelancers also but I won’t roll off a huge list. I love Charles Munka and Jose Parla’s artwork a lot, I don’t really mess with that sort of stuff but I have some on my walls and it’s still an influence to me. Michael Cina, Scott Hansen, Ryan Putman, Ross Gunter, Joyce Su, a whole bunch of friends, yeah basically I spend a lot of time looking at things so I have a lot of influencers but that’s just a few people who I find myself inspired by.
Who are your favorite DJ’s at the moment?
Kutmah is still my favourite DJ. Ever since I saw him play in a bank in LA years ago on new years eve I was pretty blown away, that was after already having his mixtapes on repeat. I’ve always loved Dj Fierce, he’s a drum n bass dj and has the best energy ever, sometimes he will go so crazy he will fuck right up but it’s worth it as the other 99% of the time he pulls off the most amazing mixes and energy in the dance. I think Andrew Meza is so underrated as a dj as well, he might not be doing 4 deck mixes of techno tunes which a lot of people see as a pinnacle of djing, but his selection is off the charts and that’s as much as what it’s about for me as a technically solid performance. Jon 1st is crazy on the decks, Chris P Cuts as well. I’ve been feeling those guys a lot lately too.
Any plans to create music yourself (if you’re not already doing that)?
Haha, always have plans, but they don’t always come to fruition! I’ve actually had music released before, all in collaboration with friends who produce, but it was never anything I truly felt represented me properly and what I wanted to do solo. Not to say I wasn’t happy with the tunes, it just wasn’t fully me. I’ve done bits and pieces and have gotten closer to getting some bits together im happy with, still mainly with friends as it’s more fun for me and I’m so fussy it helps me actually get things done. But in terms of solo, I just don’t really have time – but it is something i’m aiming to find more time for in the coming months.
How and why did you start your radio show “You’ll soon know” on NTS Radio?
Well, taking it a step back, my friend Rich and I started the blog when we were leaving uni. He was moving back home and we basically wanted a way to share music between ourselves. A few people ended up reading it and checking out what we posted so we just kept on with it for a while as it was nice to hear what we shared. Obviously I enjoyed collecting music and sharing what I love on the blog, but radio always excited me, the idea of it being live and not purely ‘online’.
Kutmah mentioned he was about to start a radio show and I had to find out more. I’d never done anything like that before, but it turned out they had some slots free on NTS and were keen to give me a shot. At that point I just dived in and let it take its course.
It’s been around three years now and I’m still really enjoying it. NTS is an amazing station, I feel you can turn in at any time of any day and even if it’s not music you would play or pick in your own itunes you’ll hear something thats great and enjoyable, be in soul, jazz, house, spoken word or a documentary piece. I will always bring up friends to join me and it makes it really fun. It’s definitely a lot more pleasant being on in the daytime now rather than late in the night on a monday, that fucked up my whole week at work sometimes as I would be knackered before the week even really began!
How do you prepare these shows?
I tend to lug a bunch of tunes into a folder which I’ve collected over the previous two weeks leading up to a show. I try to fit in as many as I can from that batch, but I never really prepare too much. I like to just see how it goes on the day, a bit like a club. To me it is often a lot more pleasurable playing these shows on the radio and being able to play something very relaxed and not have pressure to make people dance. It’s nice to play music that might make people dance but also alongside that something they might love sitting at a desk or chilling in a car.