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DJ Q

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DJ Q is a cornerstone of the UK Dance scene. From humble beginnings in 1997 to a weekly DJ set at Ministry Of Sound Radio, Pan-European tours and a long awaited debut album earlier this year, Q has come a long way. Heading past the equator, DJ Q is heading to CIRCO on Saturday, June 28, as part of his first Australian tour. SIMON DONNES spoke with Q about his background, his record label, and the UK scene at large.

The UK scene is a different beast. Far removed from the trap and electro of America and what some are calling the ‘vinyl revival’ sound coming from our own shores, the British Isles are a land of garage, bassline and grime. DJ Q, a mainstay of the scene, is at his all-time best: you don’t hang around for over a decade unless you’re doing something special.

“I just love music so much that it was sort of bound to happen [laughs]. I grew up with drum and bass and jungle being big influences. So I got obsessed buying records and that led to playing with them and DJing them and it went from there. The production came a few years later and I think that’s what really set me apart was that not many people made the jump successfully.”

A rock of the UK scene, DJ Q has watched the tides change for himself and his peers. “It’s changed dramatically since I started. Before you had to be a wicked DJ, like you had to be the very best to get recognized but now it’s a lot more DJ focused, producers aren’t getting as much attention – it’s easier to get noticed being on the decks. It’s good and it’s bad because there’s more opportunity but some producers can’t DJ so they’re stuffed.”

A long-time radio host, Q hosted a weekly broadcast on the BBC’s 1Xtra station. The youngest DJ to ever take the mantle, DJ Q found mainstream success in the exposure and stayed there for eight years. Now he plays a monthly show on Ministry Of Sound Radio, called Essential Garage. “I’ve been on Ministry of Sound Radio for about a year and a half, that’s been really good. It’s so different to 1Xtra because I’ve got a lot more free reign to play what I want: it’s my show basically whereas before it was a show by BBC 1Xtra that I played for them.”

DJ Q also manages his own personal label, Q Recordings. “It started off years back just releasing my own tracks, relaunched it last year to start promoting tracks and producers that I like and respect. I get a lot of music sent to me, half of it never comes out because it doesn’t get picked up by a bigger label so I thought I’d help put some of this good music out there that otherwise wouldn’t be heard. I’m looking to bring out a bunch more remixes and singles of my own on there in the next 12 months or so, it’s going to be pretty exciting.”

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