March 01 2016

DJ Qu and New York's House Renaissance

New York-Le Bain
We sat down with a figure of the East Coast House Renaissance, New York's DJ Qu, before he plays at Le Bain Friday, March 11th.
LE BAIN: You've previously said that what makes Italy get down doesn't make France or London get down. What makes New York get down right now? 
DJ QU: New York actually has a few different scenes running. I would say it's one of the few places where you can actually find a scene for what you're musically into. It's special in that way, and totally reflects the whole "melting pot" name that people attribute to New York. It's pretty tough for one scene to have full dominance over the whole city. A lot of competition here.
BIS Radio Show #759 with DJ QU
And you know about competition. You started as a professional House dancer and it was all about competition. What would you say is your best strength to stay ahead of your competition as a DJ and producer?
Not competing is my best strength. I actually take a step back when I see people competing in the music scene and I try to disappear from the situation. Being myself is all I need to do and I'm winning all day regardless. I seriously doubt there's someone else out there that can beat me at being me musically. There is such thing as friendly competition, but even that doesn't apply to all things—definitely not in music as far as I'm concerned. Dancing is the only thing I know where friendly competition is actually healthy but other than that...
"There is something about buying the music that makes it more dear to me."
You've previously said, "Hustle is definitely needed to do things in New York." In your career, what do you consider as your biggest hustle? 
The biggest hustle for me was starting my label Strength Music Recordings in 2005. It's something that was years in the making, and it really turned my life around in a positive way. Being that I had no funds and I'm also not the guy who can talk a good game to get ahead, I literally had to learn how to plan, which was a new concept for me. Also, connecting with the right people did wonders as well, so who you know can play a role in the scheme of things.
DJ QU Soma (Strength Music Recordings)

You’ve been known to be very picky when looking for vinyl records at the record store. How do you deal today with the constant stream of new digital promos? 
To be honest, I do very little downloading when it comes to digital promos. I might download one out of every 10 that I receive. I guess I'm still picky even when receiving free music! There is something about buying the music that makes it more dear to me. I definitely include more music that I actually purchase rather than promos I receive in my DJ sets...

You’re very respected for your DJ skills, but you've said you're still learning the craft of DJing. What’s the latest thing you learned about DJing?
The latest thing I've learned about DJing is using the USB capability when I play. I'm actually pretty late, but there is no time like the present. Let's see where this technology takes me. Never stop learning I say.

On Friday, March 11th, Le Bain presents DJ Qu and Analog Soul. Doors open at 10pm. The Standard, High Line.