Interview: Dj Q
BBC 1Xtra's resident aficionado on all things UK G, DJ Q has been with the station for eight years – witnessing musical styles derived from the genre grow and establish into their own scenes. A prolific producer as well as one of the country's finest DJ's, his anthem 'You Wot!' encapsulates everything we love about UK G, stirring in people an emotion that still sees them flood the floors years after its release. The Wrap Up's James Walsh caught up with the man to discuss his career to date and the incredible amount of new music the producer is releasing over the months ahead...
The Wrap Up: Hey Q, good to speak with you today! First up, who were your earliest musical influences?
DJ Q: Growing up, I listened to a lot of the reggae through my parents. Then as I got older I started listening to hip-hop. I was buying singles and albums by Biggie, 2Pac, Fugees, Busta Rhymes and people like that. I started listening to a lot of speed garage around 1996; in 1997 I heard what people call UK garage and have been into it ever since.
TWU: And how did you first get into DJ'ing?
DJ Q: I started to MC with friends, but I always found myself more interested in playing the music and switching the songs whilst my friends were MC'ing. I used to buy vinyl’s and when I was about 15 I got my first set of decks. I used to DJ at college parties and I'd go on pirate radio stations too.
TWU: Can you tell us about how you landed your spot on BBC 1Xtra?
DJ Q: My friend met someone who was working at the station and they mentioned they were looking for new DJ's who knew what was going on up in the north. I sent a CD, we kept in touch and eventually I did a pilot. That was back in 2004, nearly eight years ago! I then got a call from someone at 1Xtra asking if I'd like to host a show every two weeks - of course I said yes. It progressed to a weekly show and now I host the UK G show every Tuesday night/Wednesday morning from 1-4am.
TWU: For those who haven't tuned in to the UK G show yet - can you describe it to them?
DJ Q: There is a lot of diversity in the show. I play 2 Step, 4x4, bassline, grime and the more soulful funky stuff. It's basically everything that I class to be UK G. A lot of scenes have spawned from UK G over the years and I like to represent that too.
TWU: You're also a successful producer. How did that side of things develop for you?
DJ Q: I've always been passionate about people wanting to make their own music and I went to music college to learn the basics. I learnt how to use programs Cubase and Fruity Loops and took it from there. I was desperate to get into production as I wanted to produce different tracks to all the other vinyls that every other DJ was playing. I knew the best way to do that was to make them myself.
TWU: 'You Wot!' with MC Bonez was a big track for you. How did the song materialise and what is it like still having it so synonymous with a genre of music?
DJ Q: I've been friends with Bonez most of my life; he's been MC’ing since junior school. He phoned me one day and said he wanted to start recording some music. We did one track which was called 'H.U.D' - the reception for it was crazy. We decided to keep making tracks and 'You Wot' was the second one we made. We first played it in 2006 and it became a big anthem, there was a huge demand for it. It's an iconic track that has made people check out DJ Q - I can't get away from it. It wasn't planned at all; the attention took us by surprise but it's great that it's still relevant today, here and abroad.
TWU: Which do you prefer, DJ'ing or producing?
DJ Q: I just love music, but with DJ'ing and being on the radio people forget I produce. This year I really want to show people that I can actually produce pretty decent music!
TWU: Can you tell us a bit about your latest release 'Dibby Dibby Sound'?
DJ Q: It's high energy club music. People often ask me what genre I would class it as and I simply say it is a bassline track. The response for the track has been overwhelming. It's been supported by lots of DJ’s in lots of different scenes. David Rodigan is a heavy supporter of the EP as well as DJ EZ, Rob Da Bank and Young Lion to name a few.
TWU: Finally, what else do you have in store for the rest of 2012?
DJ Q: There is loads going on! The ‘Dibby Dibby Sound’ EP is out now and there'll be a lot more productions coming from me. Watch out for my upcoming digital compilation called 'The Archive' - it will feature 25 tracks that I've produced over the last eight years. A few things are in the pipeline from me and a singer called Louise Williams. You're also going to be seeing a lot more 'DJ Q Remixes' with a few big ones coming - |'m also working on a top secret project due to land very soon. I can't say what it is but when it drops you will definitely know about it! All I will say is keep your eyes peeled on the official DJ Q site!
DJ Q's 'The Archive' is available for pre-order now.
Stay up to date with DJ Q on Twitter.
Words: James Walsh (@JW_DittoMusic)