Before he plays secretsundaze's Easter Party, the New York house producer discusses some of the underground parties that shaped him.
DJ Qu first emerged in the latter half of the '00s, producing deep, stripped down house music that both paid respects to and continued the lineage of New York's house masters. Originally from a dancing background, Qu is now strictly a DJ, playing international dates practically every weekend before returning to his home base in Newark.
DJ Qu has two records in the pipeline: the first is the 'SS1' EP for the secretsundaze's label. The second is a one-sided 12" for No.19 Music due out on Record Store Day (April 18th) called Cycling (I'll Wait). As Qu lines up to release those records, and before he plays secretsundaze's party at The Laundry in Hackney, London this Thursday (April 2nd), he's crafted a guide to some of the most influential parties that he attended in New York City over the years.
"There's been many amazing parties and venues in NYC from the '70s into the '90s, where an underground experience was the focus," says DJ Qu, "You were able to party multiple nights a week and catch something different with every event. There were of course legendary clubs like The Loft, Paradise Garage, Studio 54, Redzone, Sound Factory, Tunnel - just to name a few, because the list can go on and on - but here are five parties that I personally cherished and left a huge impression on me. These parties that I mention contributed to my education in music and club experience in a major way."
DJ Qu: "Wild Pitch was a party in NYC that existed in the early '90s. The party moved around from venue to venue, but the most memorable one, for me, was when it was held at a club formally known as Kilimanjaro, located on 19th Street in the West Side of Manhattan. This is the place where I met a lot of the dancers that I'm still friends with today. I was able to experience DJs like Basil, Manski, and Victor Rosado, just to name a few.
"Here is a dance contest that took place at the party back then to give you a sense of what the scene was about."
DJ Qu: "The Underground Network consisted of artist and promoter Barbara Tucker, and FM radio personality Don Welch. It was held every Wednesday night at a venue called The Sound Factory Bar from the mid-to-late-'90s. The resident DJ was Little Louie Vega, and these were the Masters at Work days, so the music was on another level at the time. The crowd was fortunate enough to hear all the upcoming projects from this dual before the rest of the world, so all I can say is yes, we were spoiled big time! It was a two-level club, so there's was another room called the Funk Hut. DJ Camacho was the main resident down there with all the classics and rare oldies.
"Here's a video of Louie Vega warming up before the crowd was let into the club on one of the nights, and an old flyer that I found on the UN page."
DJ Qu: "I personally think that this party needs no introduction, as it's pretty well known globally, but just in case you're not familiar, I'll give a brief description. Shelter is probably one of the longest running events in the history of club culture in NY, with a lifespan of over 20 years. Timmy Regisford is the man behind the magic. The party has taken place in a couple different venues throughout the years, but the 6 Hubert Street location is the standout of them, all and pretty much the home of Shelter. Saturday nights were legendary back in the mid '90s at Shelter, and the soul sound of house music pretty much dominated the night. Tracks like Blaze's Lovely Ones and Kings of Tomorrow's Finally were all broken there first, along with an array of the different genres to complement the entire night.
"Although it's tough to give you the full experience through video, here's a mini-clip showing the club Shelter vibe..."
DJ Qu: "New Jersey's finest dance club ever, as far as I'm concerned. Nothing has come close yet. Awesome sound system, beautiful dance floor, and Tony Humphries wrecking shop! Tony's blending skills behind the decks were impressive and took you on a journey. The Zanz felt like being in a NYC club, but in Jersey. So magical!
"Here's a small video of a night at Zanzibar..."
DJ Qu: "Now this party holds a very special place for me because it was the first residency I had in NYC. Formed by Brian Green, it was an event created by the dancers, for the dancers. No other party showed love to the dancers the way HDC did. All the best dancers at the time met up there to connect and build on the dancefloor. As one of the DJs for the night, I was able to play whatever I wanted and I learned a lot of what I do today due to that experience.
"Here's a small video of a dance contest that took place at the House Dance Conference, where I was honored to play the music. Not the best video quality, but you will get the gist of it..."
secretsundaze release the 'SS1' EP on March 30th 2015 (buy).
DJ Qu plays secretsundaze alongside Mosca, Virginia, James Priestley, and Giles Smith at The Laundry in Hackney, London on April 2nd 2015 (buy tickets).