After hearing their stunning 206 album on Commercial Suicide, I immediately hoped to get an interview with them. Turns out they were happy to oblige and it makes for a good read…
Can you tell us about yourselves who you are, what you do etc?
QUADRANT: We’re Quadrant, Kid Hops, and Iris– we make music together, and play music both together and individually. Essentially we get into the studio and have heated discussions about synth bloops until a tune accidentally falls out.
IRIS: Also we are sometimes blessed with the occasional DJ gig, so once in awhile we are actually allowed out of the studio to play for all you fine people!
KID HOPS: We three are avid DJs and busy studio collaborators. In addition to deejaying in clubs and making tunes, I host weekly radio programs on KEXP 90.3fm in Seattle, kexp.org worldwide. The Sunday night radio show I cohost, “Expansions,” is likely America’s longestrunning electronic music mix show we celebrated its 21st birthday earlier this year. “Expansions” was definitely the first place many Seattleites heard D&B!
QUADRANT: I can attest– when I started listening to Expansions on the radio here in
Seattle, I barely knew what D&B was. Hugely influential.
I think my first introduction to you guy’s was late 2013. Your release on Dispatch limited, Convergence. Got the vinyl myself haha Needless to say, while that was a tune. Your album 206 on Commercial Suicide is a bit special. How happy are you with it? It’s reception?
IRIS: Personally I think we are all extremely happy with how the album turned out. We try to never let a tune leave the studio that we aren’t 100% satisfied with, something I think really helps keep quality up for us (at least we like to think its quality). We’ve had an unbelievable amount of support for the album among our friends as well as many artists, we have incredible respect and admiration for.
QUADRANT: Yeah, the “no mediocre tunes” policy is something we’ve always tried to uphold so at least in our minds, we feel like we’re giving the world the best possible version of what we can do at this moment in time. Of course we always strive to improve but at a certain point you have to call a project done and move on. Everyone we’ve talked to has been positive about the album so far, which we’re super grateful for, but time will tell how it gets received by the wider world. A big problem these days is the lack of longevity with music in general, but the issue is even more noticeable in electronic music and specifically Drum and Bass. We still listen to our favorite albums from the late ‘90s, and we want our music to live in people’s minds for more than a few weeks.
KID HOPS: Any artistic creation can only be a snapshot in time a reflection of what you know and what you can express, at that moment. That said, we’re very happy with “206” as a very accurate expression of what we can create and convey at this moment. I’m thrilled with the balance of moods and tunes a selection of songs equally balanced and aimed at dancefloors of varying sizes. The reception from our friends and artists whom we respect immensely has been humbling. Truly.
Happily I am asking this question for a 2nd time today. Your LP has that raw proper D&B sound. Excellent use of breaks and beats. Something which has been lacking of late and has been a talking point in the scene. I for one love it and its great to mix! Did that happen naturally or did you intend to get that sound?
IRIS: As I recall, when we first started down the album path we’d had the idea to put in a bunch of interludes and some more experimental stuff. As we got further on with the project however, a lot of that fell aside and we ended up just doing a lot more dancefloor friendly tunes, something I think that people who have listened to the album have really enjoyed. There’s still a few tunes we got to do some experimental stuff with, but not as many as we’d initially thought we’d do.
QUADRANT: Yeah, and I think that just fell out of the aesthetic we’re all into, the stuff that we play and listen to separately. So much of the music we love is built using sampled breakbeats, it’s hard to get that sound any other way.
KID HOPS: It happened naturally, and we intended to get that sound! ;) This album is very deliberate. With three creative & strongly opinionated people together in the studio, everything that happens is very intentional. We three love Drum & Bass across all the splintered subgenres, the bottom line is we love D&B…of all shapes, sizes and eras. Subsequently, it was important to us that the tunes we wrote for the album possessed an aesthetic that was undeniably drum & bass. New ideas conveyed with classic sounds.
There are so many great tracks on the LP. Particular for me I love Angular, Asthma, Definition, The only way is out Through and Eternal September. That last is a bit special. What were your favourites from the LP?
IRIS: My hands down favorite is probably or collab with Klute, The Only Way Out is Through. It’s not often there’s a tune I feel like I could listen to nonstop 247, but that tune is definitely one of them. Runner ups are a bit harder, but probably Wirecutter, Dark Star, Definition and Seasick.
QUADRANT: Kinda tough to pick a favorite, I’ve listened to them all so many times. I go back and forth– I think Seasick has consistently the most fun to play out, but The Only Way Out Is Through and Pleiades still give me goosebumps when I listen to them on the bus.
KID HOPS: I love the album, in its entirety. Standout moments for me include “Black Opal (featuring Kayle),” as it’s a moment of deepness, fitting of Swerve but with enough teeth for a heaving dancefloor, “Seasick” as it’s an absolute blast to play out, and “The Only Way Out Is Through (featuring Klute).” I’ve been listening to Klute since 1996. I’ve always respected his unique take on drum & bass. To have the opportunity to write a tune with him is unreal!
Personally again, I think you produced one of the albums of 2015. What else do you guy’s have going on? Other projects, DJ’ing etc?
IRIS: First off, it’s incredibly flattering of you to say that! Thanks so much! It really means a lot considering all the amazing albums that are out this year and are yet to come! I think there are always projects on the go with us, we have a couple of collabs we’re finishing up, Quadrant and I are doing a release for Vandal Records, and there are a few other things in the works. We just got back from three weeks in Europe so we’re kind of in regroup mode after finishing up the album and being out for so long.
KID HOPS: Wow! Thanks for your kind words I really appreciate it, and I am thrilled you enjoy the album. We three always keep very busy. After the album is released on October 16, we have a string of singles slated for early 2016. We can’t share all the details with you yet, but we’ll keep you updated!
Regarding deejaying, I host weekly radio shows on KEXP 90.3fm Seattle / kexp.org, and we three keep very busy with club appearances around the US and beyond. I just returned from Atlanta, where I played the Hospitality stage at Tomorrow World. I had a blast and it was a joy to play for so many people from around the world. I was surprised to see how many attendees were from outside the US.
I believe you’re all based in Seattle (Hope so) whats the Scene like there?
IRIS: Seattle is super blessed to have a small but fairly active and dedicated DnB Scene. We have DnB Tuesdays, a weekly that’s been going nonstop for almost 17 years. There’s also a handful of monthlies, Soma, Onset and Deep N Bass, plus the occasional one offs here and there. Between all these nights we get a steady stream of out of town artists plus our local djs and producers are pretty effing talented all on their own.
QUADRANT: What we love about this city isn’t just the fact that there’s regular nights, but that they’re filled with people that we love being around. We’ve got people working hard to bring worldclass artists to our little corner of the country, but a large part of the reason we go out is to spend time with our friends here, be they DJs, promoters, producers, or just people who like to hang out at the parties (though if I’m being honest, pretty sure everyone is a DJ at this point). We think the scene here is something everyone should be proud of, so we made this album as sort of a way of projecting that on the world at large.
KID HOPS: What Iris & Quadrant said is spot on Seattle is blessed with a wonderful community of people, devoted to drum & bass. The scene is strong and tightly knit and filled with wonderful people!
Finally any famous last words?
IRIS: That’s what she said.
QUADRANT: Well, she beat me to it.
KID HOPS: Ha!!! Late to the party….. ;)
I would like to say a huge thanks to all 3 for making this one of my better Q&A’s and also a little shout to James at Example for making it happen. If you haven’t already checked out 206 you really need to have a listen to this great LP: