We’re massive fans of Quentin Hiatus here at DNB Dojo so news of his second full length LP was music to our ears, if you’ll forgive the pun. To celebrate the impending release of Acceptance we caught up with Quentin for a chat about the writing process, labels, influences and more…check it out below, and be sure to peep our premiere of album track Tisno as well!
DNB Dojo: Hi Quentin, thanks for taking some time to chat. How are you today sir?
Quentin Hiatus: Man, it’s good to connect again, been a while! I’m good man, currently drinking coffee while answering business emails lmao.
DD: The last time we spoke was back in 2014 for your debut LP It’s Only, so it seems very fitting to be catching you again at another big milestone release. Thinking back, how does the process of writing this album compare to the last one?
QH: It’s Only was my first album and such a vulnerable process. I was very scared about doing a full album at the time. I was worried about revealing my full self as an artist and what that might mean.
This time around with Acceptance I have very little fear of vulnerability and being my full self. Hence the name of this album.
DD: You’ve also released six volumes of your I’m Neither Quentin Nor Hiatus series in the time between your debut album and Acceptance. These releases are effectively mini albums…do you approach them in the same way? Or is there a difference of intent with the releases you label as LPs?
QH: Hmmm, great question…the series INQNH is a standalone venture if you will. It represents the different phases I go through emotionally and artistically. You’ll notice that series is a bit more “all over the place” as I put way less restrictions on that series while developing, it will tend to be very experimental.
My LP releases tend to focus on a particular narrative or feel while telling a cohesive story, IMO. Kind of like a TV series vs. a movie.
DD: I remember from the last interview that you agonised about whether to release It’s Only with your own label or with another imprint. Was the decision to put out Acceptance on Free Love Digi easier this time around?
QH: Absolutely, it was sooooo much easier. I have learned so much about myself since I release my first album. Between that album and now, I have developed a much stronger level of confidence in my own imprint, my work and myself.
DD: Recently you’ve had a few releases on RAM’s sister imprint ProgRAM, and releases for the likes of None60 and Unchained. How do you go about choosing which tracks to send out, and which to keep for FLD? How does the process of releasing with a big imprint like RAM compare with your experiences elsewhere?
QH: I struggle with this a lot! I tend to be very rebellious in nature – working with large imprints can be challenging for someone like me. It’s very much a team effort on larger labels. I’m used to working alone. That can be tough. I also have a very strong sense of identity; this leads me to be very particular about modifying my music to please others. That can be challenging for me working with a label like Ram. But I have to say, Ram’s label management team is fucking amazing.
Jim Gash specifically has championed my unique sound and allowed me to have my own space to do my experimental sounds on the label. Not once, has he asked me to be someone else in my music. We vibe together on projects and move forward. Best experience I have had. I’ve worked with other large labels on projects that did not come to fruition and had much different and unpleasant experiences – even degrading at times. I appreciate Jim and the Ram team tremendously.
DD: Digging into the tracks on Acceptance, I love the variety in the tracks, both in tone and rhythm. To my ear it sounds like a big melting pot of influences with hip-hop, D&B, footwork, R&B and plenty more all blended into the compositions. Are there any particular artists or records that influenced the writing for this album?
QH: Totally man, I don’t listen to much D&B anymore, haven’t for many years. My inspiration comes from other places. Artists like Derrick Branch, JuiceWRLD, Gregory Porter, Ski Mask the Slump god, XXXtentacion, BCUC, Saul Williams etc.
DD: The track titles on your records often really vividly capture the vibe of the material; Daytime on Neptune and This Planet We Must Leave It spring to mind here. Do you go into the writing sessions with a strong idea in your imagination, or is it more a case of sitting down and seeing what comes out?
QH: At times I absolutely do, I’ll have a vibe or feeling in mind for sure. With my more melodic stuff especially. My more experimental sound tends to be a bit more off the cuff and improvised.
DD: Your music has always been political, as evidenced by tracks like Seven Days of False Equivalence. What would you say to those who (wrongly, in my opinion) say that music and politics shouldn’t mix?
QH: I would not say “political” as I don’t look at black history in America as a political subject – to me, it’s a human experience, history and social science subject. I think it’s very important for people to understand that they have much to learn about black people and our history in America. It tells the story of every human who has ever struggled against a violent oppressor but achieves greatness despite it.
For people that think music and “politics” should not mix…what the hell is art other than reflections of what we see and experience? Art is one of the only ways you can be completely honest with the world around you. It is also completely up to the artist on what they highlight in their work. If you do not like it, there is tons of other music out there for you.
DD: There is a lot going on in the world right now, to say the least! How have you found the current crises have affected you, creatively speaking?
QH: I’m honestly not affected like many people are with the current racial climate, for example. NOTHING that’s happening from an injustice perspective is new. None of it. What’s new is the majority of the mainstream actually connecting with this injustice. I’m not part of that mainstream. I’ve been here for a long time, speaking, inspiring and combating racist bullshit. As a black man, I haven’t had any other choice in my life.
DD: Looking away from your solo work, can we expect to hear more from your Onism Qi collab project this year?
QH: We are actually in preliminary process of developing new stuff, stay tuned!
DD: Last but not least, any shout outs or other upcoming projects you wanna talk about?
QH: I’m working on a new project for Unchained Asia I’m excited about. My next E.P on Program is coming this year as well!
DD: Awesome! Thanks for your time Quentin, big up sir!
Quentin’s Acceptance LP is out at digital stores via Free Love Digi on August 11th.