qu: The Wednesday Alternative Mix

5 Minute Read
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Vietnamese-German producer and artist qu delivers a soulful mixtape.

qu is an underground producer and musician who writes his own material and is signed to German label Kabul Fire.

His music is heavily influenced by Hip Hop yet also has a number of touch points connected to his roots growing up, drawing upon inspiration from the golden era of the genre. He has found a home on Farhot’s label, a suitable home given Farhot’s background working alongside the likes of Giggs and Nas.

This tape features a number of musical styles and genres – moving between rap, funk, soul, house and beyond. Recorded at his studio in Hamburg it is a perfect mixtape which cements the jazzy undercurrent found in some of qu’s own music.


His new record features collaborators, the likes of East London’s Jay Prince amongst others. This mix features an evolution of such similar sounds.

Listen and read the interview below:

 Who are you, where are you and what are you?

 My name is qu, I’m an artist & producer from Hamburg, Germany – born and raised. My parents are from Vietnam, they came to Germany in the late 80’s. 

What does your music sound like?

I always struggle to answer that question, but let me draw the lines in which my sound  moves. I come from many genres. I was trained in classical music for over a decade. I played the classical guitar and went to classical music college for a while before I dropped out. But in terms of starting to make my own music, HipHop was the main force behind my sound. J Dilla, Madlib, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Ryan Leslie, Pharrell, Kanye West to name a few. 

I cannot describe my sound without mentioning these names and many more, because ultimately they inspired me to make music the way I’m doing it today. When I think of Pharrell, Kanye West, The Neptunes or even Frank Ocean – they remind me of one thing: 

Pushing the boundaries. They pushed the boundaries of their so-called „genre“ so hard and shifted the culture to an extent that it dont matter in which genre or category they move in. The music just sounds and feels good. 

So I like to say my music sounds like something in between. Not saying that my music is „experimental“. You can just clearly hear that I’m not only consuming one sort of genre. Nor have I invited anything new. 

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

 The Mix was recorded in my own studio in Hamburg. The ideal setting for listening to the mix would be to play it loudly. Whether it be on your speaker system or headphones. And be on the move! Be active, do something. Start your day with this mix, the first thing you listen to today. 

I like the feeling of a good & productive start into the day. I hope the mix will help you and give you a good boost. 

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?

I love good views & good lightning situations. So my dream location would be somewhere in a house with wide & big windows with a good view to the ocean, where the sun is setting. 

Which track in the mix is your current favorite?

My favorite track in the mix currently might be the 4th track. It’s an edit by Jrobb of the song „kiss me more“ by Doja cat & SZA. 

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

I think both are very important. For me it’s not just the first track or the last, that’s important. But more so the tone you’ll set with the first track and creating a coherent  tension from the start to the end. 

What were the first and last records you bought?

I can’t really remember the first record I bought really, cause it’s such a long time ago. I was 15 years old or so, when I bought the first Vinyl. But I remember one of the first records I bought, which I really was proud of were: 

the miseducation of lauryn hill

Kind of blue – Miles Davis 

The shining – J dilla 

I think the last record I bought was Mr. Morale and the big steppers by Kendrick Lamar.

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

I don’t have a specific DJ right now that I would go Back with, but if I could, I would travel back all the way to the beginning of HipHop where the sound systems from Jamaica just had been sort of introduced to the Bronx etc. Just to see the people and how they moved to the music back then. The sense of an electrifying excitement of something new. 

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

I never had a real proper DJ set up before because I would not consider myself a real DJ, but I started with a Numark Turntable,  which DJ Qbert has designed. My DJ setup now is just my Serato surface on my laptop, which will be plugged into some kind of pioneer Controller. 

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?

This Mix would taste like an apple in the morning. A fresh & vital start into the day with the right & healthy food. 

If it was an animal what would it be?

The mix would be a cool dog, with sunglasses on, looking out the window next to the driver’s seat.

One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?

Well, I wouldn’t say it would be impossible but surely very challenging. But I’m thinking that one of the tracks from Miles Davis Album (Kind of blue), would be challenging considering the genres we have now. But I think it always depends on how you’re gonna flip it.