A lover of music in all its forms, QUENUM has an established 30-year career and has gained the respect of iconic techno pioneers as well as the following of the younger generation. When it comes to creating music or collaborating with like-minded artists, he always finds the opportunity to learn and share his passion with friends and with his audience. Overall, QUENUM is a classic DJ whose primary concern is to bring the dancefloor alive and ensure everyone leaves the club happy and fulfilled. His love for the groove was nurtured in his music-filled Afro-Caribbean home, and when the hip-hop wave first arrived in France, he went crazy for it and became one of the country’s most skilled break-dancers, as well as the rest of his brothers.
Hi Quenum, we’re glad and excited to have you on. Tell us a little bit about yourself, and what first got you into music.
When I was in high school in Paris, my uncle was working as a security officer for the Palace, which was this legendary club, like Studio 54 in New York. He used to take me with him, that was my introduction to nightlife. I kept looking at the DJ and I wanted to be like him, you know, creating this magical ambiance, this vibe, that made people sweat and dance. I wanted to do what he did, make people happy.
“I kept looking at the DJ and I wanted to be like him. I wanted to do what he did, make people happy.”
Spreading the joy of music is the dream that every musican can relate to.
After settling in London in the early 90s, you went on to create Access 58 alongside Paulo Nascimento. A label was also created under the same name. Can you tell us how you guys met, and about the project as a whole?
Paulo and I met in a studio in Brixton. We were hired by this guy called Claudio to produce tracks. “Hired” is a big word, because we were mostly paid with large portions of pasta, Claudio was a very good cook. Anyway, we had a lot of fun but didn’t produce anything very interesting, so we decided to get a bit more serious with our music.
We worked out of Paulo’s flat in Queen’s Park, and that’s when we got our first contract with Pacific Records. Then we started our label, Access 58, and moved into a super nice studio in Bethnal Green. By the way, Pacific Records are restarting, so look out for some cool surprises.
Speaking of music, you just recently signed your track onto Sabo’s label, Sol Selectas, and released a collaborative EP with Mathew Jonson on Shanti Radio. You’ve definitely been busy. Can you tell us your thoughts and feelings about going through these amazing artistic experiences?
What I enjoy the most about collaborations is the exchange — you get to see how another artist works and that’s a super gift. I think I have learned more by collaborating with good producers than in any other way.
“What I enjoy the most about collaborations is the exchange — you get to see how another artist works and that’s a super gift.”
Collaborating is an artful way to recognize strengths, weakeness, and build each other up.
You know I don’t choose to work with artists based on their Facebook following or sales. I only work with people I love and whose music I love. I’ve enjoyed all these collaborations because it came from the heart.
“I don’t choose to work with artists based on their Facebook following, I only work with people I love and whose music I love.”
It’s best to collaborate with those that you like, share your vision, and vice versa.
I have to say, Mathew Jonson is all the way up there! Not only is he one of the biggest talents in electronic music, but he’s also someone who is dear to me. We get along really well, he is a deep person and a true friend. That’s special.
You have another upcoming EP coming out this August. What was the creative process like for this EP?
Indeed in August, I have an EP coming out in collaboration with my friend Dachshund, on the label Reborn Project (Hoomidaas’ sister label). We have already done many projects together. Our creative process is generally the same, first, there is a mood, then the ideas come as they come. Generally, the first track gives us the guideline for the following ones. And for this release, we had a more melodic inspiration and the rest followed with the other tracks. We are delighted with this release.
An artistic experience we’d love to hear about from you is your upcoming tour this September. First, congrats, you’re going to be great. How are you feeling about playing alongside Carl Craig and Inner City?
I am delighted to start this new adventure in September. I have been following Carl Craig since a while. He had a tremendous influence throughout my career, as well as the entire Detroit scene. I had the opportunity to play with him a few years ago in Barcelona along with Octave One, Kenny Larkin & Derrick May.
I can’t wait to meet Inner City. Their legendary tube “Good Life” made me dance quite a lot.
With a tour like this coming up, it’s definitely important to prepare musically, but what’s your self-care routine to prepare mentally and emotionally? Any favorite ways to decompress when you’re stressed?
My favorite way to decompress and to prepare myself is definitely running. Running has always been part of my life and has tremendous benefits for my career. It’s not just physical, it also prepares me mentally and emotionally too!
I think it’s all about finding balance and keeping a healthy lifestyle. My job can sometimes be stressful and running is what keeps me calm and positive. I love running in city parks, and my favorite spots are Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo and Central Park in New York City.
“I think it’s all about finding balanceand keeping a healthy lifestyle. My job can sometimes be stressful and running is what keeps me calm and positive.”
Quenum always finds time for rest and rejuvination when his body calls for it.
You’ll be performing in Detroit, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. What feelings or emotions do you seek to inspire in the audiences?
I am thrilled to have this opportunity to share my passion and my music with a new audience, as I haven’t played on many occasions in the U.S. This is a great moment to convince this new public and share with them my musical sphere and for that, a tour is really ideal.