Rupert Parkes, aka Photek, Special Forces, Studio Pressure and Aquarius, first became hooked on music at the birth of hip hop in the mid '80's with the first electro and rap tunes. This naturally evolved into an interest in jazz and inspired by John Coltrane he learned to play the saxophone.
In 1989 pirate radio turned him onto the warehouse parties and underground clubs of the UK rave scene. Parkes first rave experience was at east Londons Telepathy in Marsh Gate lane where he saw Fabio and Jumpin' Jack Frost for the first time playing music that blew him away. A move to Ipswich marked the beginning of his music making in '92. Parkes began working at a record shop owned by Rob Solomon with whom he also began to record his first tracks. An early result was the 1992 jazz-inflicted hardcore track Sensation, recorded as Origination, which was picked up by Ray Keith, a friend of Solomon1s, who was involved with Soho1s Black Market Records and was influential in the rave scene at the time. The following year Parkes and Solomon released "Make You Do Right / Out Of This World" under the same name. As Studio Pressure Parkes recorded "Jump" for Certificate 18 Records as his first solo release.
A landmark moment came when Parkes found a new family in the form of Goldie and Metalheadz, His first Metalheadz release was "Consciousness", "Into The '90's" and "The Rain". After the Metalheadz releases Parkes felt it was time to start his own label and imprint, in 1994 Photek Records was launched with a loan from the Prince of Wales Youth Business Trust. A series of legendary releases like "The Watermargin" and "Rings around Saturn" were soon to follow. By this point Parkes was established as one of the leading pioneers of the scene that was soon to be christened "Drum and Bass". The evolution of the scene saw different camps emerging creating a wide array of styles with Parkes making some notable contributions. As Aquarius, Parkes recorded a number of tracks for LTJ Bukem's Good Looking Records, including "Drift To The Centre /Waveforms" on Good Looking, 1995 and "Dolphin Tune / Aquatic" in 1996. It was around this time that Photek met long time friend and ally Peshay who had just released the incredible "Protoge EP" on Reinforced.
Photek was now an established artist and proceeded to land a publishing deal with Universal. The next few years saw him remix artists such as Attica Blues, Goldie, Roni Size, Therapy, Dr. Octagon and later Bjork, David Bowie, Everything But The Girl, Zero 7; at the same time the major labels became interested and in 1996 Photek signed to Virgin Records1 subsidiary Science Records for a 5 album deal (his work is released by Astralwerks in America).
Parkes1 first release on Science was "The Hidden Camera" Ep in 1996 followed by "Ni-Ten-Ichi-Rye" and "Modus Operandi" in 1998. In the same year the latin future jazz "Yendi" accompanied the release of the album1s title track as a single. As he was emerging, Parkes1 subtle style led the media inadequately to proclaim him as the leader of a new Ointelligent1 drum 1n1 bass sound, after the raw energy of early jungle. By the time his work on Science had matured, his approach into a unique personalized style quite unlike anything else around. Despite its variety and diverse influences, "Modus Operandi" is coherent throughout; as with his thrifty instrumentation, the attention is mostly focused on Parkes1 incredibly detailed drum programming. Many tracks such as "The Hidden Camera" and "KJZ" have a jazz feel, employing cyclic double bass and impressionistic chordal effects while the taut drum sounds fidget underneath. At the same time other tracks such as "Aleph 1" and "Minotaur" illustrate the techno influence in their choice of sounds, while "Smoke Rings" and "The Fifth Column" are virtually all drums accompanied by textured soundscapes. Parkes' debut album was an in depth body of work that gave Parkes a place way beyond dance music. The following year1s Form & Function collected together early Singles and various remixes alongside two new tracks. With his economical, static approach and a high level of abstraction, Parkes has summed up the direction of, arguably, the most creative dance music of the 190s in the most eloquent form. His high production quality and brilliant drum sound and patters gave him the name O Master of beats1 a true legend.
When Parkes started working on his next album, "Solaris", he looked back at the music that had inspired him when he first started making music. The "Terminus" Ep was released followed by the single "Mine to Give" a collaboration with House legend Robert Owens. "Mine To Give" became a Number 1 dance hit in the US and a club anthem around the world. It came as no surprise when people in the film and TV industry wanted to collaborate with Parkes and a temporarily move to Los Angeles was inevitable. Parkes scored the martial arts film "Invincible", scored the hip hop tv series "Platinum", scored several chase scenes in "The Italian Job", scored music for the "Animatrix" etc. During his time in LA, Parkes also remixed the theme tune for the HBO hit " Six Feet Under" and the theme from the Mel Gibson movie "Signs".
After a long battle and after paying a high price, Parkes managed to get out of his record deal with Virgin to regain complete creative freedom. Besides the film and TV work Parkes has decided to give priority to his own label again which has recently released several singles under his alias Special Forces and signed 2 new artists (see link Photek records). This summer Parkes started a new urban label ; 51st State Entertainment on which he produces new talent (see link 51st State). Between London, LA and many dj tours, Parkes has built an infrastructure which enables him to work in the various fields he enjoys the most; scoring movies, producing other acts or making drum 'n' bass. Parkes' priority is to be creative and flexible being the visionary that he is..