Levon Vincent’s internationally lauded fabric 63 CD was something of an exercise in sticking to his roots. Despite his relocation to Berlin when you listen to it, it becomes evident quite quickly that this was his showcase for the true New York sound as he knows it. It was something he used to show the world where he came from, who he really is and he managed to shine a light on the scene’s other talents as he did it. One such player is DJ Qu – an original producer who’s regarded much in the same breath as the so called ‘golden era’ of NY house. That ear never ended for Vincent who’s continued to shunt a little bit of the limelight onto his friends now that more people have started paying attention.
Qu is guest of choice for Leeds party makers Louche who, after their successful debut earlier in the year, are back to take over Room Three on the 30th June with Chicago legend Tevo Howard and residents Brinsley Kazak and Bruno Schmidt.
As well as centering himself around the party community in New York, through its struggles brought on by Government legislatory policy that did not look kindly on the hedonistic practice of dance parties back in the mid 90's, DJ Qu has kept the music going through his label Strength Music as well as releasing on Jus-Ed’s label Underground Quality. For Qu house music never went away as he tells us in this interview as well as gifting us a new and exclusive mix of what we can expect to enjoy a week on Saturday...
How did you first get introduced to the New York scene?
Basically was introduced to the NY scene thru curiosity and my passion for music. It gave me the drive to look and explore. It wasn't hard either cause as a young boy the music was always around me so it was kinda natural I suppose.
What were your first experiences of it?
I would say local parties around my area in new jersey like school functions etc. the music was present in these environments at the time so that gave me my first experience to the music that was happening in NY. The NY clubbing came later.
What would you say set the sound of music coming from New York apart from what’s going on in the rest of the world?
Well, NY is basically the start of clubbing when it comes to underground dance music being played. David Mancuso started his Loft parties here and so much sprung out from this to where we are in the club scene globally today. As for the music aspect of it, there was a lot of music being played that came from a lot of different parts of the world since music is so universal and what sets NY apart I guess is the actual selection of music. What was chosen by the DJ's to present to the club goers or people in the area.
It’s widely accepted that there are lots of challenges with clubs running there – what do you think has been the main issue?
Government! Definitely Government! In the late nineties early 2000's the NY political structure was totally against the club scene here and slowly wiped it out. It's a damn shame because people need that to release in a positive way.
How do you think this has impacted the club scene, does it limit what people are trying to do creatively with events?
Well right now NY clubs have very strict laws where it's almost impossible to sustain a healthy club scene but there are signs that are very positive in the horizons that give the impression that we might be back very soon as a club capital again.
We already know moving to Europe isn’t an option for you, what are your favourite things about your homestead?
It's where I grew up, it's what I know, it's what I'm accustomed to. Nothing more. Moving to Europe might be an option someday since I’m there so much but just not yet.
Who do you most look up to musically? And are there any new names you’ve come into contact with we should keep our eyes out for?
I look up to so many people that it's impossible for me to list any names cause I'm sure that I'm going to forget someone who's name should be mentioned but trust me there are tons of people. As for the new names, I would say there are a few but I’m most interested in the stuff coming from new producers around my area like Nicuri, Joey Anderson, Plan B crew etc.
What of sounds from elsewhere on the globe – what producers are you following outside of NY?
Once again there are so many that it's impossible to list but if you listen to my DJ sets or mixes you will get a good grasp of the producers that I'm personally feeling from other parts of the globe cause you will hear their music in my sets.
Can you tell us more about your label Strength Music Recordings – what’s its ethos and what are you currently working towards releasing right now?
Strength Music is basically an outlet for me to releases my own music and music of others in my area. With Strength we really don't shop around much for music to release cause we have plenty here at home so you'll definitely notice that music from our clan is the center of it. We really don't run the label as a major label for everyone to send their demos to. Even when I started making music I never shopped it to other labels cause my idea was always to release it myself and that mind set is the core. Next release on Strength is a DJ QU EP titled "Infect". Should hit the stores in mid July.
From your experiences playing around the world, what is it that you find different about playing our disco?
fabric is Major. There aren't too many disco's around the world like Fabric. It's so professionally ran that as a DJ it's one of the best gigs you can have. I'm really looking forward to seeing fabric again.
Can you please tell us what you’re currently working on at the moment? Anything set for release soon we can look forward to?
I have quite a few releases coming up this summer as well as remixes. First up is my contribution on Anthony Parasole's the corner label . ‘Times Like This ' was also featured on Levon Vincent's recent fabric mix, an EP out on Strength Music and I also remixed Nina Kraviz which will be coming out on Rekids later this year too.
What can we expect from you for your next visit?
Fun! Let's have Fun, Dance and just Enjoy! That's what it should always be about.