Guestlist meets Metalheadz debutant Quartz

Drum and Bass | Thursday 11th October 2018 | Tom

Metalheadz new boy Quartz aka Elliot Garvey started 2018 as a relatively unknown Drum and Bass producer from Cardiff with a fascination for music dating back to his childhood.

Learning to play the drums aged 8, Elliot soon moved on to experiment with synthesisers and electronic music over time, developing an infatuation for sounds that occupy the darker side of the sonic spectrum. His style pays homage to the very roots of the Drum and Bass scene, making use of some of it's most traditional sound palettes, whilst maintaining a unique futuristic outlook on sound design and an very individual attitude toward his music production. Quartz is a producer capable of taking his listener on a real journey with his music using his carefully crafted soundscapes and moody atmospheres to create tense vibes to tell his thoroughly euphonious story.

Quartz's first solo Drum and Bass release was in 2013 on Alignment Records with “Bone Marrow” and “Cut Deep”. Since then he has gone from strength to strength featuring on a number of labels including DSC14, IM:LTD, Warm Communications and his own Acrylic imprint (co-owned by fellow dance floor destroyers Survey).

This month sees Quartz biggest and possibly most definitive outing to date, his debut on the mighty Metalheadz, the outstanding “Hall of Mirrors EP”. Guestlist caught up with Quartz for a chat about his latest foray into rhythmic necromancy and have a catch up on life with Metalheadz so far...

Hey, how are you? Good thanks, just making a coffee.

What was your first thought this morning? Coffee.

If you had to only eat or drink 3 things for the rest of your life what would they be? Coffee, Cake and Cake

Which 3 artists have been the biggest influence to your sound? Drum and Bass wise, Amit, Instra:mental and Photek. Non Drum and Bass wise, Harold Budd, Drexciya and DJ Krush.

What would you be doing if you couldn't make music? I've never really done anything else except make music, I started when I was 8 years old, i’ve worked crap jobs in the past though! I guess you might find me working in a Customer Service Call Centre somewhere if I wasn't on the buttons. Although I recently finished a degree, so my aim outside music is to get into teaching.

What is your favourite song of all time (any genre) ? Life-Force by Oliver the 2nd.

What’s got you motivated right now? My mother passed away 4 months ago, without going into too much detail she was the only person who was really backing my music passion when I was younger and it's sad that now she won't get to see the end result of what she worked so hard to nurture. Its something I think about a lot and gives me the extra drive I need to push myself to see just how far I can go.

Can you describe your sound in 3 words? You tell me?

Is there a meaning behind the name Quartz? No, to be honest it just looked good on paper! I've since learned about how some watches use quartz to regulate their electronic oscillator which is quite relevant I think.

How did you end up linking up with Metalheadz? My close friend put me in touch with Goldie, he checked some music and we met up in Bristol, I guess he saw something in me so we have kept in touch. He’s very supportive of my music and helping me mould my future work to be the best it can. I’m still searching for the right words. This is the biggest milestone in my entire life so far. 

Whats the biggest thing you have learned from him? Personally I'm not really a DJ, I have always been more into making music than playing it out. I think one of the biggest things he's shown me is that you kind of like what you like and therefore you make what you make. We come from a similar background too so it was cool to connect on that level also. I’m not a producer that would be happy spending my life sitting and making music that someone else wants me to make just to get it signed. What he's given me now with Metalheadz is an opportunity to really experiment with my sound. To fully define what Quartz is all about, the boundaries of the labels sound are so expansive the area I am able to operate within is so large I am really excited to show the world what else I have been working on!

Now you have a release on Metalheadz does this make you feel like you have been validated as an artist? I guess, I don’t feel validated to myself yet though, I feel I have a lot more to give. I’d been sending music out to people from time to time over the years, but it's something I rarely do. I selfishly make a lot of music for myself and most of it doesn’t come out. I should confess to being a bit of a music hermit, I think I can count the number of people on one hand I send things too. I’ve suffered with mental health a lot in the past and I know it’s cliche, but making electronic music has quite literally pulled me out of some serious holes over the last 12/13 years. For a long time it was a stress relief, a way to unwind. The feedback I had been getting when I did send stuff out was always good, however some of my music maybe didn’t fit what people were looking to play out or pick up. I was on the verge of giving up on pursuing a professional music carer altogether about a year to 18 moths ago. I am very much of the mindset that I would rather not make any music than feel pressured into making it just to conform to a label to get it signed. Then along came Goldie and Metalheadz and now I feel confident that I have the perfect platform for my music that fits well with me as a producer and will enable me to really experiment and grow as an artist. I’ve got the drive back.

Two of the tracks from the new ep feature co-labs with Survey and Gremlinz, 2 artists you have worked with previously, do you prefer to make music with other artists or on your own? I'll be honest, sometimes I find it hard to physically sit in a studio and make music with other people. Most of the collabs I've done previously have been because I've been friends with someone, it's come up in conversation, and we've ended up working together on something as a result. I'm not someone that actively looks to co-lab with other artists it usually just happens. Both the co-labs on the EP were done by bouncing the projects too and forth on the internet due to the logistics of Gremlinz being based in Canada and Survey in Germany. I like working that way because generally if you don't like something in the track you can just change it if you need to, there is no debate.

How long have you been working on the EP for? Is there a story behind the release? The EP has been complete and waiting to come out for about a year now. I've probably had the project files on my computer for about 3 years, working on them on and off over a period of time. It's all music that has served a purpose for me at the time I made it. Very rarely do I go into something with a clear idea of what I want the outcome to be, it kind of just happens at the time. I might have an idea of a chord I want to use or a scene or a mood I want to create but I never go into something planning what I want the final outcome to be. So I guess the EP is more of a timeline of music I felt like I needed to make over the last 3 years, it wasn't planned. Now it's a really good feeling to see it all together and released, I suppose it is a bit of a musical story if you like!

Which up and comers should we be keeping an ear out for in 2019? Check out my Rinse FM show in a couple of weeks there will be loads of my musical friends on there!

What's next for Quartz? Now I have got the support of Goldie and the Metalheadz camp I feel like I've got time to have a listen back to reflect on the music I have released so far and think about whether I am really encapsulating everything I am as an artist in my sound? I think there is more I could be doing to focus in and really mark out my sound especially with Metalheadz backing. In my opinion they are the most free drum and bass label with regards to their sound that there is, its more like an Electronica label. What Goldie and Metalheadz have done for the UK Electronic music and culture is undeniable.  Huge thanks to the whole Metalheadz camp, excited for the future.

Quartz's “Hall of Mirrors EP” on Metalheadz is a must have epic 6 track adventure featuring co-labs with Survey and Gremlinz, to be released in the form of an exclusive 3 track vinyl. The digital release (including 3 digital bonus tracks) will be on general release from 26th October 2018 and is available for pre order from the Metalheadz Bandcamp page 

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