Sean Quinn: Applying the accelerator

Success most often equates with being busy and it would seem that Sean Quinn has made his business to be in busy-ness. Easily one of Australia’s most successful DJs, Quinn’s biography reads like a history lesson is Australian dance culture.

Flash backward a decade and Quinn was rising high with his production crew ‘Quench’, scoring massively with Dreams. Immediately he rocket-propelled toward international recognition, finding his music being played all over the world. Shortly thereafter, Quinn formed ‘Our House’ with Kasey Taylor, producing a number of floor-stompers. All the while keeping a flare of panache and the sense of mind to not take things too seriously.

Quinn won major support in the big leagues over the years from such luminaries as Dave Seaman, Paul Oakenfold and Steve Lawler and he has played the world over with his style of progressive house and breaks.

This past year meant incessant touring, the release of an eclectic Two Tribes’ mix album and a six year retrospective production album from ‘Our House’.

ITM’s Marquee Moon caught up with the busiest man in Oz to talk about track selection, pigeon holes and why alcohol is the adhesive that ties everything together.

ITM- By the looks of it, this year has been incredibly busy for you. Releases, touring residencies, etc. How has this year specifically affected you and/or changed you and your approach to DJing?
– Just a shift of priorities really. More time, more access and more desire to be in the studio.

ITM- In past interviews, you’ve lamented the fact that you’ve been pigeon-holed by the media as being strictly commercial progressive house. With the ‘Two Tribes’ mix and the ‘Our House’ release, do you feel like you’ve finally killed the pigeon-hole, seeing the amount of breaks you’ve been incorporating?
– I think I¹ve killed the pigeon hole to an extent but it hasn¹t equated to a balance of work across both genres.

ITM- One aspect to your DJing that definitely sets you apart from others is your constant commitment to playing out brand new music each week. How do you find a balance between playing out a new track one and playing a track in mutiple sets? What separates some tracks from others that causes you to keep them in your record box?
Their response from a dance floor perspective and whether they are forward thinking enough to stick around all dictate their longevity.

ITM- Because of this commitment to finding and playing new music, is it daunting to release mix CD’s, seeing that a CD is permanent? In other words, the music on the CD is new now, but given some time, will be old.
I always spend a great deal of time trying to hunt down and clear new tunes and generally wait till the day before its mixed to finalize the tracklisting in an attempt to make it as fresh as it can be.

ITM- Are there tracks you tend to hold onto or consistently revisit from time to time that date basically from any time period in your career?
Yeah there is a romantic view of the period of music that ran 89-92 here in Melbourne so we tend to re-visit the bigger Sasha, BT records of the time every now and then.

ITM- What residencies do you currently hold?
The residency landscape has changed in Melbourne these days. Unless you play house music or music for furry. Fluffy, fluro people there is nothing. I play at Tilt on Fridays.

ITM- What are some tracks that are currently blowing up your decks right now?
Michael Burns presents ­ Blue Haze into Nothing (Hamel) and Petal ­ Wubble U (Luke Chable and Sean Quinn Remix)

ITM- You’ve always been a big supporter of Australian produced dance music. Do you think this is a bias or is good music good, regardless of where it’s from?
There is a current international understanding that the highest concentration of world class production talent resides right here in Melbourne. It would be a stretch to call that bias.

ITM- You’ve been Melbourne based your entire career. But you’ve played all over the world. Is home where the heart is or will home always be Melbourne?
I love the city of my birth and I can¹t really see myself pulling up stumps to live elsewhere in the world for any great period of time but I would gladly spend a couple months a year overseas.

ITM- How has the city affected you and your productions? How has it affected your DJing?
I think there is a healthy competitive push that one is always aware of here that drives you to try harder and that is a really positive thing.

ITM- With the transition of ‘progressive’ towards more of an underground sound, would you say your sets are getting deeper and darker because of that?
I¹ve always steered clear of the deeper darker stuff because of the way it has hurt the scene here. There are always elements but if it becomes the overwhelming element it tends to suck the fun out and drive the chicks away.

ITM- What are the merits of playing to a massive audience compared to the merits of playing to a smaller room? Any cons for either?
They are two totally different approaches with only one constant to tie them together, booze. With the bigger parties its for nerves and the smaller rooms for fun. Its a lot easier to create a vibe in a smaller room with a low ceiling.

ITM- What are you into when you get absolutely sick of music?
Non forward thinking, benign radio fodder.

ITM- Would you ever consider taking Our House on the road and DJing as a duo with Kasey Taylor?
Kasey and I have played together for many years but as we both become busier the opportunities to do so become less and less.

ITM- What are some immediate plans for beginning of 2005?
Get my new years eve/day commitments over and done with then take a holiday and straight back into the grind.

You can catch Sean Quinn playing this New Years Eve at The Cottesloe Hotel in Perth.