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Interview Quinn to Special radio

SR – In Russia you became known after releasing the album “Ecstasy in Avila”. What did this album mean to you?
Q – Answer:
“Ecstasy in Avila” was my second CD release on Shiro Records. It was a re-release of my first CD Quinn and had a few new tracks, a remix of “Sacred Revelation”, new art work and a couple of deleted tracks. For a whole year the cover was featured on a billboard on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. I felt that this release was more refined than Quinn and it got the attention of many radio stations and industry people.

SR – Did you expect success when releasing your first record?
Q – Answer:
Success and making-it have always been questionable words for me, because as long as you’re doing what you love, and passionate about it, then I think you’re successful. I haven’t had millions of people buy my records but the ones who have have written me very kind letters telling me how much they appreciate my work. So touching just one person is a gift to me. Success is also a state of mind. If you walk around always wanting to be somewhere else that seems more glamorous or successful then you can miss out on a whole lot of life. If you walk around with a positive attitude and act successful, then successful you are.

SR – You have become a successful talent. What or who most of all helped you on this thorny way?
Q – Answer:
My family has been the biggest support to me as well as having a strong spiritual life. The entertainment business can be very challenging, especially when you live right in the thick of it like I do. Having people around you who love and support you makes all the difference.

SR – Did you know that you have admirers in Russia? Have you been to Russia?
Q – Answer:
I had no idea that I had admirers in Russia, but I’m sure glad to hear that I do. I haven’t been there yet, but I would love to visit someday and hear some of your great choirs and explore your beautiful country.

SR – Question about the music you make. How do you define the style of a musical material which you create?
Q – Answer:
Many people over the years have called it so many different things (Ambient World, Ambient Pop) depending on the movement in music that’s the most happening at that moment. I’ve seen what I do as embracing the many cultures of the world and bringing them together in a way that stirs the soul. It happens to be that I love world, classical, alternative, soundtrack and pop music, so it tends to have that kind of underpinning. If I had to categorize it I would say it’s Alternative World Pop Music.

SR – How do you select themes for the pieces of music?
Q – Answer:
I do a lot of reading and studying of books, paintings and art in general. I’m also inspired by visuals, such as in movies and documentaries. A movie that really inspired me was called Baraka. It’s an amazing movie with no talking or actors, just images from around the world and great music. I’ve written a piece for my new CD Beneath the Quiet, called “My Secret Yearning» and it came from years of reading about Anchorites and Anchoresses as well as lots of research in public libraries and book stores. I like to be inspired by something that moves me to write, but many times I just sit at the keyboard and just start to play. The things going on in my life and how I feel tend to come right out. I also like to write lyrics, so many times the words come first and I’ll start with a word or phrase that I find intriguing, and go from there.

SR – The music which you write, is very various. Your musical preferences also are various? Share your musical preferences, please.
Q – Answer:
I grew up mainly listening to jazz, but was very influenced by my Dad’s juke box in the family arcade which had the music of the Beatles, Otis Reading, Elvis Presley, The Doobie Brothers, Chicago, Rufus and Chaka Khan. When I went off to school at The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts I became influenced by The Police as well as world music. These days I’m listening to Moby, Enigma, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Anonymous 4, Loreena McKennitt, Dead Can Dance, Kate Bush, Emmylou Harris, Sheila Chandra, Jocelyn Pook, Tom Waits and PJ Harvey to name a few.

SR – And on what music were you brought up? We know this history how in 3 years you started to play drums. Tell, please, more in detail as it happened.
Q – Answer:
My whole family played a musical instrument when I was growing up and we would get together like the Partridge family and play in the music room. My dad loved rock and rock-a-billy, my mom (A classically trained pianist) – organ music and people like Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass and Neil Diamond, my brother (The Rocker) Led Zeppelin, Rufus and Kiss. So when we all got together anything was possible. I was playing with them as well as in the marching band, orchestra, jazz band and singing in the choir. I started playing drums at three because my folks gave me a tiny drum set for my birthday, and from then until now, it’s been my life’s passion.

SR – Processing of national music and national instruments by means of electronics. Many today are engaged in the creation of such music. Name the musicians who in your opinion, make today’s qualitative music in this direction?
Q – Answer:
I think Michael Cretu of Enigma continues to do great work as well as Peter Gabriel, Sting, Jocelyn Pook, Kronos Quartet, Philip Glass, Delirium, Michael Brook and One Giant Leap.

SR – With the occurrence of Quinn in world music began the whole direction where national music not only undertook a basis, but it was processed on electronic tools. Quinn (The first CD) started to create new music with the use of national instruments. How did such an original idea occur to you? What roots of that music did you make?
Q – Answer:
I think it all came out of a overwhelming desire to create something more than playing drums for other artist’s records. At the time of Quinn I was delivering actor’s pictures to casting agents playing in a band at night. After running around in the hot Los Angeles’ sun all day I would go to the rehearsal space where I would simply release all my emotions and musical ideas onto an eight track cassette recorder. I would play the keyboards, bass parts, effects, electronic percussion and live percussion all in this very tiny room with my head phones on. I didn’t have any thoughts about what I would do with it or if it could be played on the radio, it simply had to come out of me. While I was still delivering pictures I stopped by a record company to play them an artist I was working with and the A&R guy said that he was interested in what I was doing musically as an artist. I told him I had something in my car and played it for him. After a little bit of listening he said that if I brought him a few more pieces then he would put my record out. Ecstatic, I ran back to my car smiling and jumping for joy, continuing to deliver the actor’s pictures by day and recording at night.

SR – The use of national musical instruments in modern music meets even more often these days. Not always are these experiments successful. How does the music you make differ from these others?
Q – Answer:
When Quinn was first released there was Enigma, Deep Forest and B-Tribe. Shortly thereafter a slew of similar records came out focused more on making money on the popular eclectic/pop movement, than on the quality and passion of the compositions. Being a drummer first, I was focused not only on the rhythm but on the flow, scope and emotion of the pieces. The pieces needed to move me – to bring the emotions to the surface – to transport you, making you picture far away places and people. Places of mystery and magic. One of the very first records to do this, well before any of the groups we all know now was, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Brian Eno and David Byrne, which was released in 1981.

SR – Today you supervise Orison Records. With what material does this company work?
Q – Answer:
Orison Records and Orison Music are solely run by myself and right now only put out ŒQuinn’ records. This has been a lot of work with all the business matters, phone calls and time away from creating music, but it’s also allowed me to make the exact kind of records that I want to make. You can visit to find out the latest news on Quinn and Orison Music.

SR – All know, that you work with exotic drums and other national tools. Do you have a big collection of such tools?
Q – Answer:
I have a large selection of drums from around the world as well as electronics. I also have lots of samples of world musicians and singers. As far as drums I have Dumbeks, Talking drums, Djun Djuns, Tablas, Djembes, Isigubus, Taos Drums, Box Drums and lots of manipulated drums and percussion. I find myself very attracted to the drums from India and Africa. In the near future I would like to start using less electronics and work with more live musicians, which is where my next CD is heading.

SR – What for you determines the selection of tools? Whether there is a tool for each character?
Q – Answer:
I tend to gather instruments that have a unique sound and that can provide many tones and textures out of that same instrument. Every drum or piece of percussion has its own character and it’s just a matter of finding the right elements for the song that moves you.

SR – Do you play on all these instruments?
Q – Answer:
I do play all the drums and percussion but I also like to play with other drummers samples and manipulate them electronically. I play some wind instruments like penny whistles, snake charmer and bamboo flutes as well as electric keyboards and acoustic keyboards like piano, harmonium and the shruti box.

SR – What instrument that you work with is the most surprising, or most favorite to you?
Q – Answer:
As far as my own playing it would have to be drums, with keyboard bass taking a close second. As far as other instruments that I don’t play that captivate me. There are so many. Duduk is an amazing instrument. It’s an Armenian sort of oboe. I was lucky enough to have a great duduk player Chris Bleth, play on my Chasing Silence record. If you want to hear a beautiful piece featuring the uduk listen to, A Cool Wind is Blowing, played by Djivan Gasparyan. It’s a famous folk song of Armenia. I also love the Chinese Yang Chin, the European Hurdy Gurdy, the Middle Eastern Oud and the Indian Veena.

SR – Do you give concerts or basically work in studio?
Q – Answer:
With my own CDs I basically work in the studio, but I play drums live with other artists. I’ve been working on putting together a live show for some time now but as you can imagine it’s a challenge, since in one measure you’ll hear a tribe of male pygmies from Africa and in the same measure a female singer from Thailand. I’m looking forward to doing something in the near future though.

SR – You’ve worked with many known musicians and executors. With whom have you most enjoyed working with?
Q – Answer:
I’ve really liked working with so many people but especially Michael Brook, Mitchell Froom, Donna De Lory and the band East Mountain South.

SR – You’ve written soundtracks. Is it more difficult than to write simply compositions? In what movies were your works featured? Tell more in detail about it please.
Q – Answer:
I haven’t had the chance to score a whole movie yet but I have contributed my songs to a movie called Silent Trigger and Father, and composed the opening for the movie Sub Down. In making records the music is first and most important, but when you score a movie the music must support and enhance the movie. I’m so in love with the process of making records that until the right movie comes along I’ll just let people use my music in their movies.

SR – Whom from Russian executors or musicians do you know? Do you have a favorite among them?
Q – Answer:
I’m still learning about different Russian musicians, but I love the Choirs of Moscow and St. Petersburg and especially the voice of Olga Borodina. She sings on one of my favorite CDs called, The Evening Star (The Rachmaninoff Vespers) with the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir. I also like the Russian vocal ensemble Ancient Echoes.

SR – Last, a traditional question of Special radio. What would you want to wish young, beginning musicians. What mistakes should be avoided and what should they pay attention to first and foremost?
Q – Answer:
: I went to a conservatory but I don’t think it’s for everyone. We all have our own path and we need to listen to our hearts and follow our passion. What works for one person might not work for another. Be true to yourself, keep your integrity with all your might and never let anyone discourage you from pursuing your dream. And of course practice, practice, practice – and then practice some more.


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