- Words Notion Staff
We caught up with TQD to discuss their musical firsts, from early Wiley edits to meeting Todd Edwards, and how to be heard outside your hometown.
TQD are the collective fusing speed garage flavours with melodious RnB and bassline. Pursuing their own trajectories, DJ Q, Royal-T and Flava D have individually left a mark on British rave music: shaking up the dancefloor with brain-rattling sets up and down the country. As TQD, the trio have released a steady stream of hits over the past decade, and after a five-year hiatus, they returned in 2022 with “there 4 u”. A bass-driven summer heater, the track announced their comeback and propelled them into the raver’s conscience once more.
Adopting an electrifying approach to their creative process, TQD have released a slew of singles in 2023. “nice and close” is their latest: a bass-heavy slice of UKG, the track revels in hedonistic drops, whilst staying true to the smooth and soulful elements of their past. Dropping on the seminal collective’s Butterz record label, it’s a track that will satisfy bassline’s hardcore cognoscenti and bring some new fans on board too.
Before an inevitably busy schedule over the summer, we caught up with TQD to discuss their musical firsts, from early Wiley edits to meeting Todd Edwards, and how to be heard outside your hometown.
Royal-T: There was an edit of Wiley’s “Ice Rink” that I made on my family PC when I was a teenager, using parts of the track for a remix. It was awful.
DJ Q: In 2003, I made my debut in the music industry by contributing to various compilations. However, it wasn’t until the following year that I had my first official release – a 4×4 garage track titled “Love Like This” under the 2020 Records label. This track quickly caught fire in the underground northern bassline scene, specifically at Niche nightclub.
Flava D: I never really had a moment where I said to myself ‘I want to be this…’, making music just came naturally to me and I never had a business mindset back then. The labels found me. I knew I wanted to be a music producer from an early age. To me and my younger mind, I was happy to stay in my bedroom making tunes all day whether it made money or not.
Royal-T: My first gig was The Streets at Southampton Guildhall when I was 15. I will never forget it. Mike Skinner is someone l have always and still look up to a lot.
DJ Q: One of the biggest challenges I faced early on was getting my sound heard outside of my hometown. Unlike today where the internet makes it easier to share your music, I had to graft. Whether it was networking with other and DJs at raves or hitting up record stores to connect with people, I was always trying to connect with wider people. I even dialled up the numbers printed on my favourite vinyl records to meet new people and make connections. From there, things just started to gradually take off.
Flava D: J Dilla and MJ Cole
Royal-T: Probably last week! Nah, all jokes aside, there are always challenging times, but that’s what keeps me going. I love music that much. I always put my all into something I’m involved in, so it can be a bit disheartening when things don’t go my way. But keeping things moving and turning the losses into wins is too rewarding to give up.
DJ Q: The first time I’ve ever felt starstruck as such would have probably been when I met Todd Edwards in LA. He’s always been one of my favourite producers. At the point of meeting him we had spoken online but never met in person. We originally planned to go for tacos but ended up heading to the studio and starting on two songs.
Royal-T: Getting a DJ gig abroad was the first. Before, I had only ever left England once and was then booked to play Prague and Amsterdam within the same month. It was a major moment for me.