With his latest outing "Season of The Emergence" creating waves of consciousness, RQ lets us in on the creative process behind his work.
When we first spoke to RQ about "The Season of Emergence", we had a view to conduct some kind of interview, a really simple Q&A. As a precursor I asked about the release, just to find an angle. It was a simple line, something like "So what is the release all about?". What I got in return was a full and thought out explanation of the inner workings of a flourishing creative mind. Fully formed to the extent that it required no editorial intervention or bastardization from myself. What follows is the words of RQ himself. A humble guide through his latest creation, both instantly demanding your attention and enduring.... Over to RQ.
Sometimes, an idea will turn up uninvited and simply squat... Front and centre, obscuring your view of anything remotely off topic.
With music production it is obviously a blessing for an idea to appear, fully formed and ready to act on. The chance to bypass the often frustrating stage of song creation is an opportunity to be grabbed with both hands. As with most things of this nature, these are either great ideas or utterly terrible (I once, fruitlessly, sampled punk records as I would with my jazz collection, 'The Exploited' and 'Peter and the Test Tube Babies' going through the same process as I would looking for samples on a Mingus or Monk record) and only time will tell if you have headed off down a good path or a pointless weekend of noodling.
The seeds for these 3 tunes all formed during one day of in depth sample digging, of jazz, funk and other records and all can be traced back to one particular sample that set the ideas rushing forward clamouring for attention. The sample in question is a short burst of sustain from a live recording of the band 'Rainbow'. A nice chord but not anything amazing by any stretch, but full of character, natural reverb and amp hum. Sometimes this is all it takes. It suggested so much more to me than anything else had in a while; the drums and other ideas already forming in my head before I had dragged the sample into my sequencer.
The first track of the three was 'Scarab Moon', initially built around the 'Rainbow' sample it soon merged with moods and concepts that had been lodged in my head after relentlessly listening to weeks of Sun Ra and the flute and voice recordings of Paul Horn (the recordings for 'Inside II' & 'Inside the Great Pyramid' made inside the Great Pyramid of Giza). This combo is enough to derail my normal approach to making a track, combine that with my life-long interest / fascination with Egyptian mythology and pyramids (both physical and mathematically) and I had enough inspiration for at least a few tracks. With 'Scarab Moon' the basic idea was to make a kind of half-time drum funk track but it really ended up as a trip-hop tune which is fine... I had never gone there before even with a love of Massive Attack and Portishead. A dated genre I suppose but you don't really question your instincts if you are making headway!
When I had finished 'Scarab Moon' up I still had a load of fresh samples I wanted to use, and as I usually do, I also wanted to strip everything out and use the approach I would with ambient stuff but use the new Jazz & Funk samples as source material as opposed to the more urban palette I would go to for that style of track. With 'Season of the Emergence' I really just wanted to create the sound that I would could put together given a studio space from the 70's, with all the gear I would have on hand back then... Gongs, Rhodes, big analogue desk and valve amps etc. Conceptually I wanted it to be quite honest, what I could do personally in that space, I can't play piano but I know a few chords, I can play drums but would need a few takes to get it right. I didn't want to use a sample or flip a sample in to something I wouldn't be able to recreate if given time. The result, exactly what I would love to make with real instruments given the time and money.
'Third Ground' was based around a new break I had found and chopped, obviously influenced by Photek and mid '90s J Majik, I wasn't trying to replicate a playable break as maybe Paradox would but keep things a bit stilted. Sometimes a break will be so nice that you can put nearly anything behind it and it sounds great, a nice Rhodes chord, delayed guitar wah etc... maybe not enough to carry an entire track but plenty there to base things around. I knew if I could get a bassline playing along with the sharp direction changes of the drums that I would be on to something and it took a long time to get it right, with the upright bass playing off and also hitting with the sharp drums. Everything else came in quite easily, knowing I wanted to go for that nice 'Breakbeat Era' style jazz sound, all crackly samples and ideas before technique.
What didn't come easily was arranging it... This track took the longest out of any tune I have made, by a long shot. I'm still not sure why, it doesn't sound all that different or anything but it was a real project to get everything gelled together and keeping the repetition down to a minimum. I think it came out well, very different from anything I have made before, but something that has been sitting in the background waiting for the right combination of mood, samples and time.