In an environment that sees us surrounded by an ever more efficient technology, let us not forget how nothing will ever replace the experience. That experience which stands as our DNA, therefore serving as the common thread to what and how we’ll be doin’ things. To such an extend, no doubt as to how Quentin Harris has never forgotten where he’s coming from. Something one could definitely feel on both his productions and DJ mixes. From his early (Detroit) days as a Hip-Hop producer to nowadays as a member of NYC Def Mix clan along with David Morales…
We met for the very first time back in March 2004 in Miami where I saw you spinnin’ at the Phuture Sole party. I remember how that sort of magnetism I could feel in your DJ work quite impressed me. And it’s about the same when listening to your productions. Any comment?
“It comes from many different places but the ones I can pinpoint is that I love to dance when I am not spinning. You can pretty much find me on someone’s dancefloor dancing for hours. I am also a very energetic person so I guess that plays out in my DJing as well.”
The result of some heavy concentration ?
“I am totally into what I am doing but it’s a little more than that. I love to dance so I play as a DJ who dances…”
It looks like coming naturally…
“I guess you can say that.”
“If you can touch one person with your music or whatever, then you have done your job and you shouldn’t have to worry about the other stuff. It will all come in time…”
Do you feel like there are any common things between DJing and producing. If so, which ones?
“This brings me back to the souvenir of a conversation I had with a good friend of mine. He said a DJ has 3 jobs which are to inform, educate and, above all, entertain. I feel that this also applies to producing…”
Could we talk about a formula to be considered as a sort of ID the way producers used to have back in the days from Nile Rogers & Bernard Edwards to MAW… Not to mention Darryl James & Fred McFarlane then, of course, this guy named Quentin Harris ?
“I try not have a formula when I produce records. I am just myself. Whatever I come up with is an extension of what I have learnt over the years of playing in bands and working with different people.
I know that a listener who is buying my work can hear things that I may do a lot in my productions. I usually try not to give each project I work on the same feel though because every song is different. For example, I felt that (Donnie‘s) ‘Cloud 9′ shouldn’t have had the same kinda feel as ‘Rocketship’. As an aritist, I wanna feel like I am constantly changing and evolving with my work…’
What has been your starting point? Your heroes and the people who brought you into this?
“I started making music as a producer at the age of 12 for my uncle’s Hip-Hop group. As far as heroes go when younger there wasn’t anything that Prince, James Brown and Parliement/Funkadelic did that I wasn’t obsessed with. I do credit my family for bringing me into music…”
Any other instrument that you play apart form keyboards?
“I play trumpet and baritone.”
Suppose not being who you are, what would you have done ?
“I can’t even imagine not doing music…”
I understand that you’re hailing from Detroit. Has this city and its environment been for anything on who you are today?
“Growing up there gave me a a rich musical history and the fact of Detroit not being like the hustle and bustle of NYC has kept me grounded in a way. It is a very blue collar laid back kinda city. Everything is sparse and very spaced out not too pretty either. As a result, the kinda music that comes out of there is really stripped-down and funky stuff…”
How do you see its scene ? Are you in touch with any of its actors?
“The local scene has always been an enigma to people living outside Detroit. We tend to do our own thing and not really care about what’s going on elsewhere. For example, Techno, Ghetto-Tech, Detroit Hip- Hop, and Detroit House. I am in contact with a lot of people from the Detroit scene such as My uncle, Phat Kat, Omar S, Mike Huckaby, Scott Grooves…”
Is this any different in terms of perspective when coming to collaborate with someone productionwise (ie: your work with David Morales & Hector Romero?) What does such an exercise bring?
“Well, when collaborating with others you have to compromise. Some ideas that you have in mind may not fit well with the person you are working with, but in the end it always works itself out. This also brings the opportunity to realize that the way you’re doing things is a path among others as opposed to being the only one.”
I remember your collabs with Tyrone Francis. How did you meet and how long have you known each other for?
“Mr Francis and myself met at Satellite Records where we both worked at. Gotta say that our first meeting wasn’t so great as we almost got into a fight, but that didn’t get any further. I guess our mutual respect for each other not taking any crap from one to another just grew into a friendship that has been going on…”
You’ve used at times the Epod signature. What does it stand for?
“It’s the production name I used for Hip-Hop. When I started doing House, I thought about using my real name, but in the mean time, I wanted to let the people who knew me for doing Hip-Hop know that I hadn’t disappeared. Epod is a play on words…”