I’ve known Gio for 2 years – and although I can’t quite recall where or when we first met, we’ve shared some incredible memories. One of our most recent together was Slowthai’s homecoming ‘End of Year Party’. You’re probably thinking “say no more” so I won’t go into the details. But if you search p-rallel’s tweet from December 30th 2019, you’ll pretty much get the 12 hours we spent in Northampton cemented in 140 characters.
p-rallel, p-rallel Theory or Gio to his friends and fam, has in the past 5 years achieved a status enviable to producers and creatives that far outweigh his years. At 15, he quickly began to cultivate a reputation as the go-to producer around the way, courting attention from some of the most exciting names in rap on both sides of the pond. This culminated in a legendary session at his parents house in West London, when Rejjie Snow pulled up with Playboi Carti in tow.
Now still only 20 years old, p-rallel muses on this collab as a turning point in his career – reflective of how persistence and consistence pays off, and the infinite possibilities achievable when you hone your craft and stay true to your vision. He regards it decisively and definitively as one of his most life changing moments, which, as as 15 year old in 2015 would put anyone in a ‘sky’s the limit’ state of mind.
Only a year on and p-rallel is already a sought after engineer, requested to man the desk at Piff Gang sessions at Tileyard Studios. It was the first time in a ‘proper studio’ he recalls, a far cry from the confines of mum and dad’s, and with equipment a plenty, he felt like a kid in a sweet shop. The studio belonged to none other than West London’s sweetheart, Lily Allen – a space which he still occupies to this day, and proudly refers to as his ‘dojo’.
Engineering for Piff Gang and working in the dojo opened up Gio to the sprawling network of both London’s creative newcomers and heavyweights. After soaking up the vibes at parties, gatherings and sessions p-rallel felt it was time to take on selector duties; his DJ talents preceded his production skills which were passed down from his father, a multi-genre mixmaster who continues to light up functions to this day.
The producer explains that growing up he was surrounded and immersed unintentionally by music. His lifeblood, alongside reggae, is “rock…soulful, disco shit”, asserting that “whoever I grew up on is gonna be my inspiration…and always gonna be”. He confesses that he shuns most current artists in favour of the classics, his sonic preference due to a lack of 808s in modern music, which he describes as “just a mood”. However, he mainly draws inspiration from the “niggas thats around me I fuck with” – his fellow Elevation / Meditation boys Lord Apex, Finn Foxell, Louis Culture & Xav, label-mate Greentea Peng and Kasien.
2015 was filled with surprises and opportunities, and after numerous “practice” DJ sets across London, he went b2b with Tiffany Calver at house party on New Years’ Eve, a fitting end to a momentous year. We fast forward to November 2019, when he released his 3 track debut EP In Due Time on Different Recordings, featuring the likes of Lava La Rue and Sam Wise. In Due Time is heavily inspired by soul, jungle and jazz, and he explains that he wanted to create a body of work he can embed into his sets and witness revellers dancing to his tracks.
I asked him how the process of creating this project was – he explains that it was good fun… until he dropped his hard drive. He lost “at least 50%” of its content which contained the majority of his work and more urgently the EP. Having to recreate the entirety of In Due Time from scratch he recalls, was in equal parts stressful and pivotal – it was in this reconstruction he realised there was nothing he’d rather do than make music. His relationship with Lava La Rue is first and foremost a friendship, and in their musical chemistry, “there is no thinking…it’s smooth”. The video for ‘99’ is essentially a party shot at the Boiler Room HQ; the DIY ethic underpinning his output – that to innovate you don’t need big budgets, brands or promo, and that an infectious atmosphere and energy can be created in little to no time.
2019 was a busy one for p-rallel. As Slowthai’s opening tour DJ and crew member, he was on the road for 3 weeks – his first scramble around Europe. He repeated a few times that it was “a blur” for reasons easy to imagine, but it was incredible – the Hamburg leg brought them to Hitler’s former bunker – a sticky and intimate affair, playing to a crowd of only 200 people. Re-appropriating the venue “was why it was sick”, and the energy was unrivalled, maybe with the exception of the London show.
Additionally, the young prodigy hosts his own event, ‘Ratio’, which has become a staple party in London’s creative community. Whilst chatting about why he started the event, he explained that he wanted to have a place to party and play, for himself and his friends. The end objective with Ratio is to create club speakers that will forever highlight the influence he has had on the nightlife industry.
Entering this new decade, p-rallel has a lot of music in store for us, with singles lined up and an EP due in the summer which he has been working on whilst on tour. EP 2, so far un-named, will be more explorative in terms of his sonic and spiritual identity, showcasing the influences that have shaped his sound such as Leon Ware, Erykah Badu, Mary J Blige, Faith Evans, Kid Cudi and many more.
He explains he is currently listening to music that provides him with GTA radio ‘Los Santos’ vibes. This project has some “special features” he says with a cheeky smile. Whilst on topic of features, I asked which artist, producer or engineer he would love to work with. Without hesitation, it’s Timbaland. “I need to work with that guy before I die” he proclaims, with glowing adoration and admiration for the genius who paved the way for the crossover-superstar-producer-artist, who has a catalogue of mega-hits and arguably one of the most recognisable drum patterns in music.
p-rallel has an easy going attitude but at the same time, has an extremely motivated and hungry approach to life. It’s something easily noticeable when chatting to the young phenom who has a very bright future ahead of him. I ask him the story behind the name “Parallel Theory”. It’s a big and bold moniker that clearly questions the space-time continuum. He explains his recurring feelings of possible deja vu throughout his life, and that “the whole parallel thing is like, I’ve probably lived every single possible possibility that I could have done, and now I’m living another one”. He continues to philosophise the way he sees life, that it “isn’t real, it’s a simulation. I’m just a main character in a film…sometimes when I’m doing things I feel like it’s already been directed”.
Whilst chatting with p-rralel there is this underlying feeling that this young man has experienced a lot in his twenty years of existence which has shaped his mindset.
The two sentences to take away from this interview to understand him best and his view on life, is “you die and you just get respawned back to the same point where you made the fucked up decision and you choose the other decision. Every time you get déjà vu is because you got respawned back to life”. Essentially life is a repeat of numerous wrong decisions till you get it right which is an interesting way to view things.