Music Spotlight: DJ QUIK
DJ Quik Interview Wednesday Dec 1 2004
I scooped up Gabe the Saint to go meet with DJ Quik on a winter Wednesday in Hollywood... When I heard the meeting place was across from Crazy Girls... dreamy visions entered my brain - kush blunts, dumpin champagne, the entourage of hot biatches at DJ QUIK's beck and call - crawling at his feet... What I found was a little unexpected but dope to witness... He was hard at work mixing and engineering his latest album. A lot of people don't realize that when it comes to studio work, DJ Quik does EVERYTHING. Watching him slide faders and hit keys in the room you get the sense that the man could jump into the cockpit of a 747 and roll out...
Unit: How are you?
DJ Quik: Pretty good actually
Unit: Just heard a little bit of what you got going on downstairs...
DJ Quik: Yeah, that was a track I did with Wycleff in NY
Unit: Tell me about your new album, I heard you've got Nate Dogg on there and some heads from the south.
DJ Quik: Yeah Chingy's on there, Cleff... I went to NY and cut most of it just to kinda get a different feel, different... whatever it's called. [chuckles] You know, just different elements. I wanted another inspiration and NY is definitely inspiring. I set out to do something different than I've ever done, you know, listening to everybody else's stuff trying to stay current and at the same time take the extra steps to be a little bit ahead. Specially with technology in sound just using a lot of tubes to warm things up. Using a lot of different collaborations with people that I would have never worked with in the past, or didn't have the opportunity to work with. It's more fun club music but at the same time, getting some shit off my chest without dissin too many people or what not.
Unit: Take me through the process of writing a song...
DJ Quik: It depends on how I feel that day or what kind of song we're planning on writing, like it's funny... negative things that have happened to me always inspired my best songs. Not that I look for negative... but when bad things happen to me, the best songs come out of me.
Unit: What would you say are the most useful, pieces of equipment that you rely on, that you always come back to?
DJ Quik: MPC3000, VP9000 Variphrase Processing Sampler, Pro Tools obviously, Studio Electronics ATC X & ATC 1 and my turn tables for mixing.
Unit: I'm guessing when you first started making beats, there probably weren't computer programs like Pro Tools... how do you feel programs and technology like that have affected your music, do you think it's been positive?
DJ Quik: Pro Tools made it a lot easier to edit and be creative, I mean it's a creative tool and at the same time it increased the sound quality, improved it, so I get some real warm sounds out of Pro Tools which is kind of an oxymoron, they weren't always warm but they're getting better with the sample quality these days.
|I thank God I did a lot more listening and looking than talking. I took a lot more in than I put out, until it was time to start putting out. -DJ QUIK|
Unit: What's it like to party these days with DJ Quik?
DJ Quik: You know it ain't safe to party no more, everybody's fuckin scared of sex and shit. Scared of STDs and or bitches talking about 'em... I don't know it's just not... the party scene ain't what it use to be, it's way different now.
Unit: Are you kind of over it?
DJ Quik: Yeah, actually, I am. I'm fucking way over it.
Unit: That's too bad. [frowns]
DJ Quik: I want to be a composer now. I still drink and party and kick it... It's just not as fun as it was when, you know, when you're young and you didn't have all the opportunity to do all the partying, when it was new to you. The novelty is wearing off a lil bit now, I party because I have to go and be sociable, have meetings and talk to people it's like it's a job now almost.
Unit: Have you settled down on a personal level? It seems like that's kind of the vibe you're kicking.
DJ Quik: Oh, I'm not settling down, I guess I'm just maturing a lil bit, it's like I've had a lot of fucking tragedy in my life and it sucks you know, reflecting and seeing my favorite people to party with... some of them are dead. So it's not as much fun now to party because the people that made the parties aren't here anymore. I'm a little more bored than settled.
Unit: Who were your favorite people to party with back in the day?
DJ Quik: My boy Darwik, Top Dog, Bundy, Gerard, Wayde, Martin, you know... even Masburg.
Unit: I want to talk about the era that you came up in. You came up in an era when the West Coast sound basically revolutionized Hip Hop. What is it about songs like "Tonight" that capture the strength of the Compton/Long Beach sound and made it so tight?
DJ Quik: Probably because the idea back then was such that, the West Coast was prominent, it was the sound, it was the trend, we just tried to capture what was going on right around us immediately because it was pretty much the only thing going. Now there's so many different styles...things have changed a whole lot. People don't even talk the same as they use to back then, I mean, what was hot and new and innovative back then, now it's kind of trite, it's crazy.
Unit: What do you think propelled you to this point in your life, you're basically one of the icons of West Coast Hip Hop. What propelled you to this spot where you're at right now?
DJ Quik: Wow. I don't know... I thank God I did a lot more listening and looking than talking. I took a lot more in than I put out, until it was time to start putting out. I think it's because I processed well like a good computer. I just tried to give it back like I got it you know, without alienating people. I still let people into my world. I just try to be a spokesman for people like me you know what I'm saying? So when it comes to being personal with the music I just try to do shit that I like and i know that other people will like. If it don't turn me on, I'm sure it ain't gonna turn anybody else on, I just try to stay current.
Unit: Name some current favorites... Who do you consider to be the dopest MC's out right now...
DJ Quik: Well that's easy,
Unit: Besides yourself of course...
DJ Quik: Hey man, thank you dog. Emus... Emus is super great, he's an enigma... he's real special, Jay Z... super quick thinker. Obviously M and Jay and actually there's others too... I like Trick Daddy for some strange reason. I like TI. I'm digging the South shit right now. Not just because it's in, but because they really have something to say, that shit's hot.
Unit: What's the best place in LA to shop for gear?
DJ Quik: Music gear?
Unit: Clothing, music gear, whatever.
DJ Quik: Clothes, actually I got a stylist and she does all my shopping for me so, I don't get out too much anymore [laughter]. But you know If I did, I would go do a little clothes shopping at the mall... walk through Topanga Plaza or what not. And for gear, Guitar Center and Good Guys got the hot shit too, on a consumer level.
|The best parties I ever had were in a house as opposed to the club. It's just so intimate so personal... You can sneak away and fuck a girl in the bathroom real quick and just like that come out with your dick wet, wash up and go finish partying. -DJ QUIK|
Unit: What advice do you have to give to someone who's trying to get into Hip Hop these days?
DJ Quik: These days? It's crowded as it is? Understand how complex the game is, how much it's changed. The negatives and the positives are even now. Even though there's a lot of competition, the play field is even. So, as long as you're different and innovative you can find a niche and when you find your niche run with it because it's fleeting.
Unit: Where does the name DJ DJ Quik come from?
DJ Quik: Back in the day everybody in the DJ scene used names to describe their speed so there wasn't any DJ Quiks out. I just wanted to be something that epitomized what I did when It came to cueing up records and just engage in the audience. I got a lot of my experience from DJ-ing house parties. The best parties I ever had were in a house as opposed to the club. It's just so intimate so personal... You can sneak away and fuck a girl in the bathroom real quick and just like that come out with your dick wet, wash up and go finish partying.
Gabe the Saint: [laughter]
DJ Quik: I didn't mean to seem so drab, I'm just in strain mode I'm down there composing right now.
Unit: Yeah, you were focused.
DJ Quik: Oh, it's done now.
Unit: What were you doing with the tissues on the keyboard? What was that all about?
DJ Quik: Ah man, I broke my keyboard... I got a Kurzweil, I dropped it... Actually I didn't drop it I got mad and flung that fucker across the room one time. Sometimes when creativity don't come you can't force it, but it's frustrating I just had one of my temper tantrums and threw that bitch.
Unit: Sometimes it might make it sound better, or?
DJ Quik: You never know, I mean it sill works so kudos to Kurzweil for making good shit!
We thanked DJ DJ Quik for his time and we headed down to the mixing room to take some photos... He paused for a moment to pull out the cover of Eminem's latest CD package (which depicts Eminem committing a mass murder at an Opera hall.) We all ageed the artwork was dope as fuck...
DJ Quik: You know that only E could come out with some shit like this. Black rappers couldn't get away with this shit...
Gabe the Saint, Taj, and Peek TBG MYL contributed to this piece...
Photos (c) Unit One