The Organic team are long standing fans of RQ and all of his musical output, so we were buzzing when we found out he has launched his own label! We had to find out more from the man himself...
You’ve been involved in writing music, creating label artwork and general brand vision for a long time now, for those who aren’t aware, please fill us in on your various activities that have led you to your current position...
I started raving in the early 90’s (techno, hardcore, jungle, techstep) which lead to DJing and a bit of promoting, when I could afford it I started producing in about 2001 or so. I hammered away at cheap, uninspired knockoffs of Peshay and High Contrast tunes for a while until nearly packing it in out of boredom and frustration. In around 2006 I stripped everything away and started again, letting my own sound evolve. That was the real beginning of it all for me. I had always had an interest in experimental and ambient music, but that was not reflected in my own music for some reason, so it was like a floodgate opening when I embraced that aspect of my background.
I have been designing within the industry since around 2006, firstly posters etc for local promoters which was great fun, and that lead to some international contacts. Since then I have been honoured to design for Valve, Commercial Suicide, Samurai, Zoltar, Wheel & Deal and V Recordings. I have stepped back from the design recently since we had our daughter and currently Samurai is my only client. That one to one relationship has allowed us to really step things up a notch though and the label is looking and (thanks to Geoff and the artists) sounding better than ever.
Given your background it was about time you launched your own label wasn’t it? What made you take the big step?
I had toyed with the idea many, many times over the past 5 or so years, not out of any kind of frustration or anything, but because there are lots of elements of the process that I actually enjoy. It is only now that a few different circumstances have combined to make the move feasible. The timing turned out to be interesting too due to the recent shake up in the distribution side of things. A lot of people have had to re-think their approach to sales which gave me an opportunity to get on to a couple of platforms at the same time as bigger more established labels.
Also I didn’t want to get involved in the sales side of the industry until I felt like I had a complete package I was happy to bring to the public. There are so many digital labels out there and I really did not want to add to the noise unless I truly believed in my product and had the time and inclination to stand behind it 24/7. One of the things I have learned over the (many) years is never to rush things and never to force them... And sure, that meant I didn’t get signed until I was 40 hahaha, but those first releases are solid as a rock and on strong labels, so I really want to handle my label in the same way.
The artwork and music are both fantastic, what is the ethos, ideas and philosophy behind DAWN?
Thank you! As with the logo and the look of the artwork, the key element is simplicity and that little grainy edge of darkness. There is no real philosophy as such, just a ‘feel’ I guess... Any BPM and any genre. People often say that they can tell a tune is mine in a mix and I would love people to also say “that tune must be on DAWN” - that is kinda where I would like to be as a label. Being a new project too, I am free of any expectation that might hamper what I can release. If I can stick with that approach and sell enough to pay for the next track... I’m happy.
We’ve been hammering the “Sound Of Dawn EP” at Organic HQ and we keep changing our minds about what is our favourite track, which is normally a good sign! How did the debut package come together?
I had the 4 tracks ready to go and was unsure how to approach releasing them, one at a time? All at once? Luckily someone with a lot of experience in the industry suggested I package them up as a kind of sampler of what the label will be about and that obviously was a great idea.
Heden’s edit of “Gossamer” is a beautiful slice of 170ish BPM electronica. How did Heden come into the fold and will he be a staple of the label?
Heden and I have been firing tunes to each other for a while now and I really enjoy his take on things. He has a very natural almost ‘outdoors’ sort of vibe to his music. We had meant to collaborate on a track last year but I simply didn’t have the time to contribute to it in a way that would do it justice. Luckily Valavier (Heden) didn’t get fed up and asked for the stems to "Gossamer". I love the result, a really nice expansion on the ideas of my version.
He has done some great work of his own and with other amazing producers (Indigo, Dyl, Akin) and all going well with the label he will be featuring again for sure.
What else is planned for DAWN and RQ?
With DAWN, I am just taking it nice and slow... See what happens. It is on Bandcamp at the moment but I am in the process of signing up with SRD for full distribution, so hopefully it’s up and running across all the usual sales platforms soon. I will be using any profit to finance (mastering mainly) and promote the next release. In an ideal world, I would love to put out some physical products, a nice 12” or 2. As with anything... It is impossible to say where it ends up, but I am full of energy for it right now so I’m making the most of it.
I am little hesitant opening it to other artists straight away as I can’t guarantee any kind of exposure or sales yet, but if it starts getting some interest and a bit of a profile I already have a few people that are keen to be involved. Regardless though I will be releasing a lot of my back catalogue on Bandcamp, so there should be a steady stream of unheard tracks coming out there which will be interesting... There are a LOT of them!
As for me, I have a couple of things coming up. A single on one of my favourite labels right now is due out later this year and also I will be getting involved in Kevin Kings (Lemon D) ‘All Roads’ project. I am doing some 138bpm, forward looking atmospheric tracks for it. Kevin has a real vision for the collective so I am looking forward to the ride with that.