Quentin Kane & Simon Sheldon have a rich musical history, rumbling on the dance music scene for time – Quentin’s 10 year residency at the Legendary Thompson’s Garage in Belfast and Simon performing at Glastonbury and world tours with his DnB band Spree, it’s fair to say the pair have earned their stripes! Together they have released on acclaimed labels such as Yoversion Records, Defunkt Recordings, Audiobite Records, Blacksoul Music, Double Cheese Records, along with many releases on DJ Spen’s Unquantize label. We catch up with the Irish duo as they drop their exciting joint album project, ‘Exodus’.
Quentin Kane & Simon Sheldon DMC interview A huge welcome to DMCWORLD Quentin Kane & Simon Sheldon, where on planet earth are you
SS. In our studio in Armagh, N Ireland. Overlooking the beautiful Armagh countryside.
What is the best piece of new music you have heard recently?
SS. I’m loving the Performer LP by Montero, I love music which makes a wink to the past. We do it ourselves in most tracks lol, another band I’m loving at the moment is ‘Cowboy flying Saucer’. I’ve actually just remixed a track for them which I hope will see the light of day next year. House music wise, Sean Mcabe, Peter Brown, Marc Cotterell and PEZNT are producing great stuff. It’s really buoyant at the moment, lots of quality about. Label wise, any thing on Good Vibrations, Blacksoul, Plastik People and of course the Quantize camp are on fire. Since getting a release on BBE I’ve been listening to a lot of tracks on BBE, such a fantastic label.
QK. Xenyx by Simon and myself, I can’t believe we wrote divinity in motion lol.
For those who don’t know, please tell us a little about how you first got together?
SS. I was gigging about a lot with my band Spree at the time we met and Quentin gave me a few lifts to gigs and we just got chatting about music and our mutual love for house music. it wasn’t till 10 years later we actually got in the studio and from the first few tracks we produced together we both knew we complimented each other.
Who or what inspires your sound?
SS. If you’ve listened to our music it’s no surprise we love all things oldskool. Both of us saw the rise of house music back in the 80’s and 90’s and we trudged across muddy fields to party in a field till the following afternoon or danced for hours in a car park before heading onto to the next party, normally back at our house. We love the anthemic club sound of the early 90’s and we like writing tracks that pay respect to that. That said, we both love soundtracks, funk, soul and jazz and I think that comes across in our music too.
You’re about to drop your brilliant album ‘Exodus’ on DJ Spen’s Unquantize label, what can you tell us about it and are you pleased with how It sounds?
SS. Yeah we are over the moon to release Exodus and on Unquantize is fantastic, we have a hard drive full of tracks and we felt this bunch of tunes worked well together and showcases what we are about. We’ve already made a dent in the second album and it takes a more laidback feel while still looking over our shoulder to the 90’s feel. We are both really proud of this LP, I think it’s a very honest body of tracks that tells you what we are about.
You also have a number of collaborations on the album, who brought what to the table?
SS. Yeah, we have local legend Glen Molloy on one of the tracks. When I moved over to Ireland Glen was busy playing all over the place, he’s fantastic DJ and now a friend, both Quentin and myself thought we would like to get Glen to play on a track, he was well up for it and we love the finished track. We are both huge fans of Dana Weaver too and with Dana being part of the Quantize stable it seemed logical to collaborate on a track and again we love the outcome. We also have lots of live brass through the LP and this comes from Linley Hamilton and Lewis Smith, I’ve worked in the studio and played live with both Linley and Lewis before and when you need trumpet or sax they are the go to duo, extremely talented. We have a track coming out next year with Lewis playing sax all over, recorded in one take and it’s just brilliance.
There are a lot very familiar sounds from the golden days of the classic house era, were you big ravers back in the day and now with the likes of Glitterbox club nights, etc, causing a storm, do you think that classic hedonistic sound is coming back in a big way?
SS. Yeah, both us enjoyed partying Thursday to Sunday back in the day and all my best friends are a hangover from those days, the relationships we forged are life long. We both had our favourite haunts with mine being Feel in Preston, Lancashire. Week in week out we seen top dj’s and bands, great times indeed. I do think everything goes in cycles and yeah I can feel and see a rise in weekenders and big nights, bring it on.
Your new single from the album ‘Xyenx’, gives a gentle nod to two huge classics in particular, please tell us a little bit more about it and the thought behind it?
QK. Yeah well when your love by Jamie Principle/Frankie Knuckles it still gives your goosebumps, the tracks led by that amazing arp and bassline. We just wanted to recreate that sound but make it our own sound. I hope we achieved it as we tip our hats to Jamie & Frankie. As for the ‘man with the red face’ nod it was a happy accident.
Tell us about your studio set up?
SS. We both write differently really, I use hardware mainly with my studio centred around a Korg X8 with a number of rack synths, Nord lead 2, Access Virus amongst others and running Cubase. I started using Cubeat in 1989 and then it became Cubase so I’m reluctant to switch to Logic although when I use it I love it too lol.
QK. My DAWS Logic S and I use an Akai advance, machine and trigger finger pro for writing beats into logic.
Are 2 heads better than 1, who does what in the studio?
SS. Definitely, we both have different skills and get the best from each other. I tend to overdo things and Quentin just knows when to stop and not over do something.
QK. Totally, the beauty of our relationship is we sing of the same hymn sheet. Our interest in music are the same so we compliment each other. We always like to enjoy it and take our time with the music, we don’t like to rush, lol.
How do you generally go about putting a new song together?
SS. We don’t really have a ‘way’ of doing things, sometimes I start a track and Quentin takes over or vice versa and sometimes we work on it from the start and occasionally either of us can do a track nearly to completion and the other one just adds the finishing touches, whatever works to be honest.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most, writing and producing or performing?
SS. All of it, but probably the writing. QK. We enjoy it all totally, but if I had to choose I like the feeling you get when a tracks complete.
We come to raid your record collection, which embarrassing record do you chuck out the window before we arrive?
SS. Too many to mention lol, I love my cheese. If I had to choose maybe The Final Countdown by Europe, although I think my mate Scott smashed it
to pieces actually.
QK. Probably Wigfield Saturday Night or the Macarena lol, pure fire, lol!
What record makes you say ‘damn, I wish I made that’?
SS. Again so many, Papua New Guinea by FSOL or Bizarre Inc, Playing With Knives.
QK. Gat Décor – Passion – nuff said!
What are your 3 current top tunes?
SS. So much good music about at the minute, loving the Ebo Taylor YenAra remixes EP, Figure of Jazz By Todd Terry and Junior Sanchez is a belter and out on Unquantize Addicted by Soulista featuring Jino is quality too.
QK. The Jagg Your Love is Medicine on Quantize, Chaka Khan’s Like Sugar, Xenyx by ourselves lol
Looking back on your career so far, what piece of precious advice would you give to yourselves?
SS. look after your ears, I have tinnitus from years of dodgy sound systems, so buy good ear plugs all, Tinnitus is no fun.
QK. Don’t give up.
Finally, what’s coming next for you?
SS. We have our next release on Unquantize coming early in the new year with some heavy weight remixes which we are really excited about. We have a collaboration with Belfast boys Ubblahkan on the go and finish our second album. I released an album with my collective Spree last year on Anormorphic records, currently chatting with them about a second LP.
‘Exodus’ will be released on December 14th on Traxsource promo / Full release December 28th 2018 on Unquanize.