K / D the London based project that ‘nurtures and exposes electronic music’ kicks off the feature series with an interview with US based Dj Producer Dj Qu. (Ramon Lisandro Quezada) Qu was born, raised and still represents from New Jersey NYC, making the most understated and emotional House music which has been praised and celebrated more recently at online source Resident Advisor. Contemporary does not come close to describing Dj Qu, an artist that used to urban street dance NYC style before creating music which now tours in places like Japan and Asia. (check the video link below to see Dj Qu and Joey Anderson get down) Having naturally developed into Djing Qu now produces for his own Strength Music label and also for other labels including Deep Vibes, Uzuri and Underground Quality, headed up by freind and Dj partner Jus Ed, pushing that deeper style of underground House music. Dj Qu intrinsically understands the dance floor more intimately than most producers from his days on the other side of the Dj box, which is evident in Qu’s music including his mix for the UQ Tape Club CDR showcase featured earlier on the site. Qu’s sets at the House Dance Conference are extremely sought after by local professional ‘dancers’ no less ready to ‘shake it off’ and unwind from the stresses of daily life! Also not forgetting guest appearances at international spaces including Tape Club Berlin and Fabric London for which the same evening saw this interview take place.
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An overcast Saturday evening with the UQ showcase in room three and Dj Sneak headlining in room 1 saw myself and Qu step out of the club early on into the evening, strolling out and around the corner from the club, we find a quite and quaint street just around the corner from the club with a flickering street light to record proceedings;
KID – SO NOW YOU LIVE IN NEW JERSEY NYC, WAS YOU BORN AND RAISED THERE?
QU – Well actually I was born and raised in New Jersey yep, been in Jersey all my life and it might be the place I die you know,
KID – REALLY?
QU – Yeah, I cant see myself living anywhere else right now anyway.
KID – WHAT ABOUT EUROPE?
QU – I can see myself staying here for a little bit, but to just live here completely, I got family and stuff back home I don’t know if I would be willing to sacrifice not being able to see my nephews and nieces and stuff that like for long periods of time so.
KID – GOING BACK TO YOUR NEPHEWS AND NIECES HOW WAS IT GROWING UP AS A CHILD AND WHAT WAS YOU INTO WHEN YOU WAS A TEEN?
QU – Well when I was a teen I was heavy into the dance, urban style street dance is what people would call it back home, that is really what I devoted my time to as a teenager. Going back even younger than that I was into sports I played a little Baseball.
KID – TO WHAT LEVEL?
QU – ahr not to far, after Little League going into High School it really started to change more into the dance, so I always stayed doing something athletic.
KID – FROM YOUR TEENS GROWING UP AND WITH YOUR DANCE ENTHUSIASM I NOTED A VIDEO ON YOUR STRENGTH MUSIC MYSPACE SITE OF YOU DANCING IN JAPAN CAN YOU EXPLAIN THIS A LITTLE MORE?
QU – That was me and Joey Anderson we used to back then do little tours over to Asia and today it is fully global now, unfortunately I don’t do it anymore but there are still alot of dancers I came up with that are doing very well and getting to travel and see the earth just because of this dance, so its amazing now compared to how it was when I was doing it. We saw it more as a hobby and it was what we did and we did it at home and nobody thought that it would spark an interest from other nations and also to get to travel that was awesome!
KID – THE NAME DJ QU WERE DID THE NAME COME FROM?
QU – The name Qu comes from the first two letters of my last name which is “Quezada”. All the People I came up with started calling me Qu or Q and from there the name or nickname Qu was founded. Dj comes from…well….I’m sure you know where that derives from, nuff said.
KID – HOW DID THE INTEREST DEVELOP INTO YOU GETTING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF MUSIC INTO DJING?
QU – Basically my story is as I was dancing I had my cousin, who was a Dj at the time and I would always go to his house and try to learn how to Dj and stuff, but I never had the money or funds to actually get my own stuff so I would go to his house and learn and little by little I started learning and eventually I said I wanted my own stuff saved up here and there, took me years to get it. Started Djing and then from the Djing that’s what’s kind of let up to the wanting to create music, basically. It was totally a natural progression, anyone who knew me would say that it was a true progression that you would naturally grow into that way because you know when it came to dance and music and all that stuff that is the only thing that I can say I devoted my time to fully, never ever stopped. Other areas in my life you know, o.h o.k. I have an interest in this today but next year I had enough of that, this is the only thing that I have always, always stuck by.
KID – WHAT ABOUT STUDIES AND WORK HOW IMPORTANT HAVE THEY BEEN OVER THE YEARS?
QU – Well studies I haven’t really finished the whole education system, I still have some College I have to finish but you know as far as studies and work, its something I do because I have to! As far as type of work I do outside the music thing is something I do to survive, to pay bills, is it something I want to do for the rest of my life? what im doing at the time right now maybe not!
KID – WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY DO RIGHT NOW AS A DAY JOB?
QU – I actually supervise a mega chain store out in the USA, I don’t know if they have any here in Europe but its called the Home Depot, its a whole store basically made for home improvement, build a home, fix a home, anything in that area we got it, so right now that’s the full time gig.
KID – DO ANY OF THE OTHER ‘CATS’ THERE KNOW ABOUT YOU OUTSIDE THE DEPOT AND THE MUSIC?
QU – Oh yeah, they are amazed and alot of the people I work with, back at work are amazed and find it so interesting.
KID – GIVE ME FIVE TRACKS THAT MEAN SOMETHING TO YOU PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE?
QU – Ok, that’s a very tough Question since there are truck loads of music, tracks, songs, compositions etc. that I live for but i’ll try to name some and im gonna keep it House (in no particular order)
1. Nuyorican Soul–the Nervous Track–(This is a track that used to spark crazy Dance floor battles in NYC. As soon as the track came on it was like a calling to the dance floor.)
2.Isolee–Beau Mot Plage–(This track just had perfect timing. it delivered a message that was missing at the time.)
3.Fingers Inc.-Mysteries of Love (The soul, the jazz, the trance and hypnotics wrapped up in one defining tune.)
4Hero-Escape That (RON TRENT RMX!!!)- (When you talk about someone who knows how to capture a certain feeling or mood, Ron Trent is that artist and “Escape That” is the perfect track to show that example.
5.Tyree-Acid Crash–(Straight Up Redefining! Monster of a track!) Of course, there are 7,987,654,321 other tracks I can talk to you about along with 7,987,654,321 producers but will leave it at that. By the way, the music I just mentioned are by no means my favorite tracks or music of all time, and yes, they are all past but will live’on to the future, DIG!
KID – YOU ALSO HAVE YOUR OWN LABEL STRENGTH MUSIC CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHEN THIS BEGUN?
QU – Strength Music started in the year two thousand 5 and I actually had the inspiration to start the label maybe back in two thousand three and as I started making records I always said that I was going to, when I am ready to let people hear my music am I going launch a label and put it out that way instead of actually shopping my stuff, the idea for Strength Music started maybe a couple years before it actually developed but the actual physical product came out in two thousand five.
KID – THE SEMESTERS EP AND BE WHO YOU WANT STRENGTH MUSIC RELEASES HAVE BEEN REALLY WELL RECEIVED BY PRESS AND DJS, WHATS YOUR PROCESS IN THE STUDIO WITH WORK BECAUSE YOU HAVE A FULL TIME JOB ALSO?
QU – My studio process is basically more listening than actual physical work I mean sometimes it will take me one month to make one song because im on it every day but im basically listening to the song and thinking what direction should this record take, how do I want this record to sound as appose to just going in and bumping out music, that’s how my music process goes down.
KID – YOU ALSO DID SOME AUDIO FOR A NIKE ‘ROCKSTAR WORKOUT’ VIDEO HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
QU – This actually came through with a gentleman who I have known for along time in the States, Brian ‘Footwork’ Green and he got offered a project to do a dance DVD for Nike and Nike was contemplating on what kind of music should they have for this series. Now this series comes out every two years I think they do it and every year they pick different style of music to make the work out to. The project I was involved with was actually a Nike work out DVD to dance music and being that he is a very successful dancer, I guess he had the right connects and got the project and when they spoke about the music for the project he said I know the perfect person and that’s were I came in so you know, the saying of who you know is important — well worked out that way.
KID – WHAT IS IT A MIX OF YOUR OWN PRODUCTIONS AND OTHER MUSIC YOU PLAY OUT?
QU – it was only a mix of my productions, it was a whole licensing deal for a whole mix Cd, but the mix Cd had to be totally original music so that’s how that worked out. Also another character that was involved P-Funk which if anybody knows my label he was on the First Semesters EP – he was also included in this project
KID – BACK TO WHAT YOU USE IN THE STUDIO DO YOU USE ONLY HARDWARE OR A MIX OF SOFTWARE, DO YOU HAVE ANY FAV. BITS OF GEAR?
QU – You know I get this question asked of me so many times, people always ask me you know what you using in the studio is it analogue gear do you use digital, my answer to everyone and I hope I don’t offend anyone is I do have analogue gear I have software but I make my music with pots and pans – lol, that’s how I get down in the studio with pots and pans, because it really doesn’t matter what you have, because you know my music comes from expression and my long history of just listening to the music and other producers and what they have done and what has influenced me and that’s what basically comes out. Even if I use cars and whistles im going to create something, im going to make music somehow, that’s my answer to that.
KID – GETTING BACK TO YOUR PERSONAL INSPIRATIONS WHO HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR PERSONAL INSPIRATIONS ESPECIALLY WITH MICHAEL JACKSON PASSING AWAY ALOT OF PEOPLE HAVE GONE BACK TO THE ROOTS OF MUSIC AND WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU IN THE PAST AND ALSO IN THE PRESENT?
QU – You know I came up in a Latin family so there was alot of old time Latin singers that I grew up listening to so I gained alot of respect for, as far as American music or English music or just pop in general its very hard from I mean Stevie Wonder that was a big thing, its really hard for me to pinpoint people because there were so many. As far as today the crew that im involved with the Underground Quality crew, I think there is alot of stuff coming out alot of different areas we all touch and these guys inspire me on a daily basis so those are my inspirations right now musically. I really lost touch with you know other genres of music completely because I have been focusing all my energies into House, but these guys are as important to me as a Stevie Wonder or a James Brown, or Elton John.
KID – BACK TO THE PARTY HOUSE DANCE CONFERENCE THAT YOU ARE A RESIDENT AT WHICH STILL GOES ON TODAY CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW THIS CAME AROUND AND ALSO THE EUROPEAN TOUR COMING UP?
QU – The House Dance Conference started back in nineteen ninety nine and that party was basically created in trying to blossom the dance in music, specifically House music. Because alot of people, well its a give and take alot of people were not aware of it but at the same time it was starting to get recognition so it was the perfect time to try and elevate it to a higher degree and luckily for the party it did! The House dancing is global now were as before when people who ask me about House dancing I would just tell them its street dancing, if you haven’t seen it I really cant explain it, but it takes from alot of other dancers and it takes from a personal creation to, so but now with internet and Youtube you can see it anywhere. Its in Europe, France The States, Asia, Africa. The way the party works is that the party always has two rooms one room dedicated to House music which the residents for that room are P-Funk and myself and the other room is dedicated to Rare Groove, Funk records, Hip Hop and that rooms done by Dj Doc and that room focuses on dance but the more B-boy style you know the popping the locking the bugaloo and all of that stuff.
KID – ALSO THE OTHER PARTY AND LABEL YOU ARE PART OF TAKING OVER THER WORLD IT SEEMS UNDERGROUND QUALITY WHICH HAD THE TAPE CLUB UNDERGROUND QUALITY CDR SHOWCASE LAST NIGHT IN BERLIN HOW WAS THAT?
QU – You couldn’t have asked for anything better!! Everything we were trying to achieve when putting this thing together, the way we envisaged the party to be is exactly the way it turned out it was such a blessing. Everybody who was involved is proud right now, its like the sun is over our heads at this point. We are going to try and keep doing more of these so if you haven’t been to one get down definitely make the next one wherever you are. Because we have been doing the Underground Quality thing but the one we just did at Tape was on a mega scale where we were actually able to include pretty much almost everybody who has been involved including the regular crew myself Jus Ed, and Fred P we have been going around, big shouts to Anthony Parasol to!!
KID – HIGHLIGHT FOR THE EVENING IF THERE WAS A STANDOUT MOMENT ?
QU – Ahr man the whole night, the whole night it was a monster crowd, you had 6 different Djs that played – you know, when you did get your shot to play it wasn’t no building point it was just play what’s hot and all night it was just rocking, rocking! My highlight was the entire night begin to end!
KID – BACK TO TONIGHT AND YOU ARE PLAYING FABRIC TONIGHT, WHO ARE YOU PLAYING WITH AND THE DIFFERENCES MAYBE TO LAST NIGHT IN BERLIN?
QU – Ahr well the roster tonight is Dj Jus Ed of course label chief of UQ we also got Fred P of Soul People Music and you got myself from Strength Music and the roster tonight and vibe of the same energy that came last night, I mean there are some missing elements of course there are a few of us who couldn’t be here tonight for this one but its going to be the same thing man making the people dance and have a good time and really show them an education of House music the way we know it so its gonna be good.
KID – AFTER THE GIG AND LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FUTURE WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOUR OWN STRENGTH MUSIC LABEL AND OTHER COLLABORATIONS AND UQ RELEASES?
QU – With UQ we have a nice release coming up were its going to be Dj Jus Ed vs. Dj Qu so me and Ed going to go head to head on this so it should be out in November, as far as Strength Music – I got maybe four projects lined up right now, The Semesters Two EP is getting ready to come out, we were going to start releasing the stuff this month September but unfortunately due to certain things I will have to push it back because there are some other projects coming out, we got a nice release coming out on Deconstruct which is ran by Anthony Parasol and Levon Vincent and its a mix package of all of us, double EP should be out in October so we going to let that come out first because even though we all have our own individual labels we do kind of work together make sure nobody crosses up with each other.
KID – I HEARD IN THE PIPELINE COULD BE A DJ QU ALBUM?
QU – Yeah yeah we are working on that for two thousand ten.
KID – ANY TRACKS FINISHED ALREADY?
QU – Well right now there are a few things polished off, I mean I cant really mention any tracks because anything could change at any given moment and I want to push this out for two thousand ten but I need to make sure it sounds right to me you know before I can let it out to the public, so we are working on that and it really looks good for two thousand ten.
KID – WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR QU REGARDING ANY ASPIRATIONS OUT OF WORK OR IN WORK?
QU – Well I have achieved alot of beautiful things with alot of different areas in my life but I always gonna keep pumping, keep working, there are so many things I have been blessed to received and still so many more things I want to get to achieved. The only thing I know is that I always gonna keep pumping out music that’s my thing, its the one thing in my life I have stayed faithful to never was bored with it even when I saw people in it and out of it I pretty much stayed true to it and it pretty much governed the way I live my life, so that’s the one thing that will always be happening Dj Qu will always be making records!!
KID – THANK YOU, COOL!
QU – THANK YOU KEEP IT DEEP!!
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K / D – DJ QU STRENGTH IN MUSIC PODCAST 001
Kicking off the Keep It Deep Feature series we have also requested the guest artist to provide a podcast to accompany the feature interview so the good, the great and the down right enthusiastic can investigate, enjoy and dance to the featured artist at there best! Please find below the information that most people like to know the answers to including the location, equipment and ever elusive tracklist of the mix!!
KID – THE MIX WHERE WAS IT RECORDED AND WITH WHAT EQUIPMENT?
QU – The mix Was recorded right at home in NJ and i used 2 technic1200 turntables, 2 pioneer Cdj 800’s and a Vestax mixer. Don’t really know the brand of my speakers right now. I think there car speakers.
KID – THE IDEA OR FEELING BEHIND THE MIX?
QU – The idea or feeling behind the mix is simple. Its all about Me doin what i do and not much else. Grabbed a few tracks that are hot and put them together in a mix. Like i said, me doin what i do!
Tracklist – Strength In Music Dj Qu – 001
1. Tim Toh–Seven–Philpot
2. LCD Soundsystem–45:33(Theo’s space cadet remix)-DFA
3. Jenifa Mayanja–Close Encounters- Bu mako
4. Black Jazz Consortium-Mind In Flight- Soul People Music (Digital)
5. Levon Vincent–Late Night Jam–Ostgut Ton
6. Luke Hess– Reel life(cv313 remix)–Echocord
7. Moodymann–4am–grassroots white label
8. Santiago Salazar–Arcade– Macro
9. Dj Jus-Ed–255 Minimal Groove–Underground Quality
10.Henrik Schwarz–Jimis 2006–Diamonds & Pearls
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