Q&A with QNC
Ahead of the long-awaited ‘The Habit of a Lifetime (And How To Kick It)’ album release, QNC took time out to answer a few quick questions…
Can you tell us how this collaboration came about? You’ve known Aim (Andy Turner) for years, what prompted this record?
QNC – After doing ‘The Force’ we knew we needed to collaborate but our schedules didn’t mesh and we had other projects going on. But we kept in touch. In between, we did ‘Before…’ on Aim’s ‘Birchwood EP’ which kept our creative vibes aligned.
How long did it take for the record to come together?
QNC – Couldn’t say. More than a few months for sure. We took our time, seeking the right concepts, material and features. It was a true collaboration, including additional skeletal production from Curt and some vocal production by Q-Ball.
Can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process? You’re based either side of the Atlantic ocean, was it the modern day approach of sending audio files back and forth between each other?
QNC – It was recorded on both continents. Including conference calls and file sharing. Yes. Modern day-ish. From Aim’s recording facility in the UK to Curt’s own D&D East on Strong Island, where a majority of the raw vocals and scratches were recorded.
Describe environments in which you wrote and recorded your vocals.
QNC – Regarding D&D east, the vibe stays the same. We go in fully focused with no interruptions and a pint or two as we either write or touch up what ever was already written. We usually write our verses separately and come together in the lab to meld them. It helps with consistency.
Tell us a bit about the record’s lyrics.
QNC – The lyrics are crafted to each track. The great thing about working with Aim was we could sculpt each lyric from the feel of a track, where it took us. We had the creative room to do some storytelling, uptempo, and just some raw boom-bap.
How do you feel this record differs to anything you’ve worked on previously?
QNC – It differs in that Aim gave us beats to choose from as opposed to Curt creating them. That sounds insignificant, but it’s really very important. It allowed QNC, as a unit, to write with more freedom and less constraints than in our usual label driven offerings which Curt would produce. This album has a track for everyone. Any real hip-hop fan can go from beginning to end and get a true understanding of what we intended to do here.
How was it working with Aim?
QNC – We’re all perfectionists. We all knew what we wanted to achieve and basically just got to it. The lack of deadlines allowed us all to experiment a little, to create something different and something of real quality. As far as lyrics go, we push each other. If Curt spits a verse over the phone or in the car that makes the project, Q would re-write his entire verse if he thought it didn’t hold up.
Would you say there is any particular concept running through the album/ any particular theme(s)?
QNC – Not really. It’s a cornucopia of ideas and concepts from three different angles, sources, and minds.
Who else appears on the record and what are their contributions?
QNC – We have Aim’s artist Niko, Sean Price from Bootcamp Click, Brand Nubian’s Grand Puba, JVC Force’s Bee Luv, and QNC’S artist Rally Black a.k.a. Dimes. We wanted artists that we knew would add particular flavors to particular songs. Lyricists that had their own distinctive styles, that could basically light a mic up.