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I f Deantoni Parks didn’t exist, some mad scientist in a drummers’ lab would want to—no, need to—create him. After all, the world of drumming requires feisty radicals to come along from time to time and push the art form forward. “Dr. Drumenstein” would not have an easy time constructing his monster, though. He would have to locate exceptional ingredients: amazing hands capable of grooving and rocking immeasurably hard, feet that produce the thickest pocket but that can also fly, and a brain that’s able to process an organic drumming approach while simultaneously applying the angular precision of modern programming and drum ’n’ bass. Sound scary? Well, frankly, it is. But fear not. Thankfully, Deantoni Parks is alive and well, ready to shake the unsuspecting out of their doldrums. “That’s been my problem for a while,” the drummer says. “Playing stuff that’s just a little bit ahead of people getting it.” The Brooklyn-based thirty-two-year-old has even come up with a sort of moniker for his aesthetic—now wave—and he’s amassed an eclectic résumé. In his main project, the synth-rock trio KUDU, “D” (as Parks is called) mixes improvisational, primal funk pounding and raw dance rhythms beneath keyboard sequencing, droning bass lines, MODERN DRUMMER • APRIL 2010 and angelic vocals. Steering clear of the usual kick/hat house grooves, the drummer explores the history of urban beat science, whether it’s mid-’80s “B-boy” hip-hop or the frenetic, seemingly inhuman, razor-like approach of the jungle and IDM (intelligent dance music) worlds. Parks has also lent his talents to records and tours with funk diva Meshell Ndegeocello, the Velvet Underground’s John Cale, soul singer Cody Chesnutt, and psychedelic rockers the Mars Volta. “Your content is your wealth,” D says. “And I’ve been fortunate that people have hired me for my own sound.” He hasn’t forgotten his drum ’n’ bass roots, collaborating with sax player Scott Bruzenak in Astroid Power-Up!, a demanding, blips-and-beeps math-nerd freak-out featuring some of the most incredibly fast, difficult, and head-scratching drumming you’ll ever hear. (Yes, it really is a live drummer playing it.) And as if that weren’t enough, Parks helped write music for and acted in Mark Ruffalo’s directorial debut, Sympathy For Delicious, and he’s currently working on a commercial marketing campaign merging the philosophies of music and sports. MD sat down with D at his Brooklyn apartment, while Prince’s 1986 film, Under The Cherry Moon, played on his laptop. Story by Ilya Stemkovsky • Photos by Paul La Raia

KUDU's drummer in a four page article

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