Since its inception in 2011, Free Love Digi has seen some impressive releases from the likes of Sinistarr, Fade, Nutekk, Atic and more. March saw the release of head honcho Quentin Hiatus’ very first album on the label; the genre bending ‘It’s Only LP’. Taking a fascinating approach to finishing the album by isolating himself with no exposure to other artists’ work, the Arizona-based producer has released an album which draws on a variety of influences, and is a truly intelligent display of the endless possibilities within the realms of drum & bass.
We caught up with Quentin to see how the album came together, and whether ‘Hiatus’ really appears on his passport…
Lets start with the origins of your name… is it real?
Well, my real name is Quentin McFadden. Quentin is my real name. Hiatus came from a skate video I loved to watch when I was a teenager – 411 Volume 34 (I think!). One of my favorite skaters Kareem Campbell talked about taking a “hiatus” from skating for a while. I instantly loved that word and the meaning. Prior to producing, I played dj gigs under the name Quentin. I added the “Hiatus” once I started producing.
Please describe your style for those who aren’t acquainted…
I would say my style is a hodgepodge of hip-hop, house music, neo-soul, rave and dark cerebral elements. I’ve always loved good intelligent hip-hop. The edge and realness baked into underground hip-hop is amazing.
I started raving in my teens and instantly fell in love with rave culture and rave music from the 2000 to 2006 era.
You’ve recently released your first album, ‘It’s Only L.P’…. The word ‘Only’ seems to downplay something as big as this!
Thank you for the kind words! Well, the name for the album was derived from the title track “It’s Only”. A deep emotional tune that really reflects somber human emotion and isolation.
It’s come our way on your own label Free Love Digi, tell us a bit about how the album came together- has it been a long time coming?
It really was a long time coming. I produce so much music that doesn’t get released. I was tired of that. The choice to release it on my label was easy. I had only one person to please, ME!
I pretty much locked myself away for a while and avoided other drum and bass in order to develop the sound for this album. It sounds weird but isolation was key for me in this project. I really needed to express myself through the tunes and make them my way. I find it hard to do that when I listen to other drum and bass while deep within a project. My commit for this album was to be myself and show my innate differences. I dug deep for influences in other genres, hip hop, deep dubstep, neo-soul, house, and garage. I think it all came together very well.
Although I’d imagine they all are, do you have a tune on the album that’s particularly close to your heart or that you consider your favorite?
HMMMMM, that’s tough. I would have to choose a few. “It’s Only” really hits home with me. The emotion and space in that tune is amazing. I love that I was able to leave so much space in the mix but still have impact. I really love “Def Poet”. I used a dope spoken word sample that speaks to urban black youth and the struggles associated with that. I really enjoy making people more conscious through music, or trying to at least. “Give Me All Of You” is probably my favorite though. It just has so much energy. The movement in the bass line is money and pretty damn complex. It has rave, house and garage influences with a new technical approach. I also love that John B rinsed it on his PodCast! Pretty dope!
What inspires you? You’ve mentioned before that this album is “the sum of all my recent experiences, good and bad”- Do you find that you’re most inspired when you’re in a healthy headspace or when you’re faced with struggle?
I’m inspired by damn near everything. The last six months of my life have been very amazing and challenging all at once. For example, I recently got married to my amazing wife and the growth of our relationship has really inspired me. It’s also challenged me and my thinking, which I believe to be extremely important for any human. You need to be challenged and constantly evolving. I learn so much from her and our life together. I definitely do my best work when significant events happen in my life, whether negative or positive.
You have two labels- Free Love Digi & fld. Study. What was the motivation behind starting the two labels?
Free Love Digi came about for two reasons. First, I wanted to have a place to release my own music without having to please another label manager or label owner. Second, I feel there are tons of artists that don’t get any exposure when they deserve it. I honestly think that any talented producer should have their own label. So much good music goes unreleased, typically because finding a legit label to sign your music on isn’t easy for most producers that lack name recognition. When you have your own label, you don’t have to worry about that. If other labels won’t take the risk or don’t understand your vision, you can just release the tracks on your own. I love it!
Fld.Study came from wanting to release other music I love trip-hop, hip-hop, some 170 and different forms of house. I run this label with two partners, Dave Zegen and Tyler Raymer.
Both of my labels are creative outlets. The visual art is all in house and the music is chosen based on artistic nature, vision and production maturity.
Your music (as well as labels) cross over different genres, what do you think about the emergence of all these new sub-genres in modern times? Do you think defining genres is important?
Well, I think the only real purpose for a genre is to make the music you like easier to find. It definitely makes a dj’s life easier! At the risk of sounding clichéd, I have to say I just love music. I don’t care about genres (within reason). I honestly think most of these sub-genres should roll up into either Hardcore, Drum and Bass, Jungle, Hip-Hop, House, Ghetto, Polka or techno. Much easier to keep up with!
With such varied sounds of your own you seem to draw influences from various genres- what were some of your musical influences as you were growing up?
Gospel, hip-hop, rap, r&b, jazz, punk, and many forms of rock and dance music. I grew up on all of these. I really love all of them. Music has always been one of my primary companions.
Is the d&b scene big in Arizona?
From a scene perspective, I’d say it’s ok. Most of it is pretty commercial artists coming through which really isn’t my thing. I’d say Ronnie from Phat Ent. is doing a great job throwing cool drum and bass shows and always has.
I envy places like LA and Colorado. Colorado is so dope. They seem to really get it out there. The Recon DnB crew out there does it right.
We have lots of talented producers though. Savo, Thomas B, Ghast, HavocNdeeD, Intrinzic, Turnstyle and a few others are making dope drum and bass. I envy places like LA and Colorado. Colorado is so dope. They seem to really get it out there.
How did you get into production?
My longtime friend and colleague David Summers (Known in AZ as DFT or Turnstyle) got me into producing. He’s one of the unsung heroes of our D&B scene out here. I was inspired by his original productions and he really helped me understand basic principles of music production. He was very encouraging in my beginning process and can’t thank him enough for that. Big up dude!
Can you tell us about any artists you’re watching or really feeling at the moment?
Ummm, any artist on my label! Nah, but for real, Atic, Fade, Wash, Nutekk, Thomas B, Ghast, Amathyst, BRKCHK and others impress me all the time. These guys are not at all afraid to do original and atypical things. I respect that. I really don’t follow drum and bass outside of my own music and the Free Love Camp.
What was the last album or track you listened to?
The last track I listened to was Imogen Heap’s “Me The Machine”. Dope tune!