Quantic Spins Global Vinyl

By Paco Dvoi — Tue, 16/04/2013 - 09:26

English DJ/producer Quantic (a.k.a. Will Holland) is a Colombia-based explorer of funk, soul, jazz, afro, and latin sounds.  He plays a diverse range of instruments; he mixes beats, rhythms, and grooves from all over the planet; he produces records; he collaborates with great soul singers and distinguished tropical talent; he has dance tracks such as Time is the Enemy, Not So Blue, and We Got Soul posted on YouTube with well over a million views each; and he’s coming to town this Friday, folks! His international tour includes a stop at Mercury Lounge where he will spin vinyl for nocturnal heat seekers in Capital O.

Quantic collaborated with Nickodemus on the hit track Mi Swing Es Tropical which received worldwide exposure through an iTunes TV commercial.  He is incredibly prolific -- currently working on his 15th studio album since 2001. His projects include Quantic, Quantic Soul Orchestra, Quantic and His Combo Barbaro, Ondatropica, and The Limp Twins.

He recently answered a few questions for me. Here’s what the man had to say:

Q: You’ve explored a range of dance genres in your work.  Will your DJ set reflect this diversity? What can people expect to hear in your Ottawa show?

A: Normally my DJ sets reflect my different styles as producer, the different corners of the world I've unearthed music from as a music compiler (for labels like Soundway records), and the highlights of collecting records in the tropics for the last half a dozen years. I try to introduce people to new music, unknown sounds, and try to break the traditional mold of the club DJ.

In this day and age of laptop DJing, vinyl records still play a big part for me. I am able to play music that does not exist in the digital domain; that is outside the reaches of SoundCloud and YouTube and it’s a lot more fun on the night. My focus has always been the dance; people must enjoy the music and get a sense of good spirit when they are in the room.

Q: Will you be mixing your own records as well as records by other people?

A: Yes, I always play a mixture. I've really come back to revisit my own material in the last few months and I'm playing a lot more Quantic productions, but as I know so many talented producers, I'm always getting slipped lovely pieces of new music from fellow music makers that I always drop and enjoy shedding light on. I play a lot of music from fellow producer Nickodemus and also material from labels Tru Thoughts, Soundway, Mochilla, Wonderwheel and more.

Q:  In your opinion what is the key to a good recorded mix? What is the key to a good live mix? What qualities should the music have?

A:  For me, in a recorded mix you get to play records to a listener in their home, car or work. It’s a different environment to a sweaty club and leaves more focus on subtlety, flow and the journey of music laid out in a good order. A live mix is somewhat confined to the restrictions of the club concept, but more and more I'm playing in very versatile spaces with crowds who do not want to hear the norm and they are happy to hear music from many decades ago. I feel it’s always important to mix up time in your sets. A new sound is something that you haven’t heard before. It could be 50 years old. It’s still relevant if the recording is good.

Q: Can you describe a great night on tour? What was that place, scene and vibe like?

A:  The closing show of my recent European DJ tour was in Romania. I DJed in an abandoned 1930s hotel, complete with ornate fittings, grand doorways and crystal skylight. It was an incredibly good use of a decaying central location, like playing in an old abandoned cinema in Detroit or Beirut. It was so atmospheric and a fantastic night, partly because the spirit of the place gave off an air of the grandeur of its past, despite its cracked paintwork.

Q:  What style of music is most inspiring you these days?

A: Having been based in Colombia now for over six years, I'm constantly finding new Latin music styles that blow my mind every time! At the moment I'm listening to a lot of music from Peru, Chicha being one style. It has electric surf guitars and Cumbia percussion - very danceable!
I’ve been getting into Forro from the northeast of Brazil a lot too.  I was in Belem and Recife last year looking for records, quite a fascinating part of the world and lovely music. I've also got most of my next Quantic solo record ready, so I'm playing a lot of new material from that.

Q:  What’s on your agenda for the near future?
A:  I have a tropical music band with Mario Galeano (from Frente Cumbiero) called 'Ondatropica'. We’ll be on tour throughout May, June, July and August in Europe, playing many festivals including Glastonbury, Womad and Roskilde.

Quantic vinyl DJ set, with resident Lance Baptiste and DJs Ray Ray & Balu
Friday, April 19 at Mercury Lounge (10 pm)
Tickets $12 in advance.

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