A lot can happen in a year. That is what my fortune cookie said last night at my favorite sushi dive in Tokyo. This was less than an hour before a flight halfway around the world. To be precise, it said: “A lot can happen in a year. Beware.” That last bit? Tense flight. So, when I landed (even before arranging my tickets for Nocturnal Wonderland, where QUIX will turn San Bernardino into “Bangerville”), I bought life insurance.
Just in case. Because stuff happens. A lot. In a year.
But in the superfluid world of EDM, DJs can build their own staircase leading to the apex of their career, seemingly overnight. If a deckmaster would’ve gotten my “A lot can happen in a year” cookie… it would have had a wildly different vibration. Genres can rise and fall, career-founding relationships won and lost, record contracts signed and expanded upon. This is especially true if you are a New Zealander named QUIX (also known as “Jono”); however, if that were the case, you would have said, “Screw the stair-building crap.” Why?
You’ve got a jetpack.
And when your career is on the jetpack-as-opposed-to-stairs path, it is hard to overstate things. “Obviously, I get more attention outside of New Zealand… we’re so small,” QUIX famously said in 2016. The statement became a sort of running joke with devotees, as the bass-heavy trap master went from trash-canning his full-time job in NZ to rolling through a 40-city tour of the US.
“More attention,” indeed.
“DJing is much more than just turning up to a venue and pressing play. I’m 100 percent focused in on giving people the best experience of their life through music. It’s what I love.”
It’s a lot, for certain. Jetpack or not, with that level of output/activity, one has to have outlets—things other-than-music to divert the mind after, say, 10 or 11 shows in a row. Right?
“There really isn’t, to be completely honest,” Jono says. “Music has always been my thing. A while back, I’d gotten really into mountain biking; I also spent a couple years trampolining.” A couple of years? FUN FACT: It’s no lie. Trampolining in NZ is reaching national-pastime status. Over the hearth in each home hangs a gold-framed picture of their man Dylan Schmidt, New Zealand’s first-ever gymnast to be included in the Olympics. He finished 7th in men’s individual.
“But over the last couple years, I’ve really focused myself into my music production—being the best I can be in that area,” continues QUIX. “Maybe later in life, I might try something else!”
And if what he’s done in the dance music world can be transferred to other facets of life, he just might be going to the Olympics in… whatever he chooses. In the last two short years, he’s worked with Dabow, Gladiator, Party Thieves, KRNE, ATLiens, Peking Duck, Hydraulix, Instant Party, Woolymammoth, UZ, Boombox Cartel, Slumberjack, and Branchez on badass labels like Dim Mak, Quality Goods, Fools Gold and CR2. He came hard, fast, and notably with his high-grade trap whip-up-at-145-BPM interpretation of the Keys N Krates/Krane wonderjoint “Right Here” this April past.
Because he’s living the vida jetpack, and not the vida stepladder, Jono has chosen not to squander his energy elsewhere, but after dropping the Heaps Cool EP (Dim Mak) in late May and the success of “Riot Call,” he’s doubled down on his enthusiasm.
“This is going to sound really cliché and boring, but the most extraordinary thing that’s ever happened to me is my job right now,” he admits. “Like one year ago, I thought that I’d never be where I am now. The fact that I travel halfway around the world, playing the music I love, is extraordinary. For me and my vision, DJing is much more than just turning up to a venue and pressing play. I’m 100 percent focused in on giving people the best experience of their life through music. It’s what I love.”
And that, reader, is beautiful.
Trap, for those with the long view of EDM, is a relatively new art. QUIX, as a self-producer and as someone whose introduction to electronic was dubstep, has a unique view into what makes the genre tick and why it appeals to new DJs.
“The first time I heard dubstep was my first introduction to electronic. I’d heard electro and dance, but I needed something that resonated with me more. As I’m a big fan of hardcore and heavy metal, dubstep was a great bridge that drew me over and made my perspective grow in that sense,” states Jono. “I’d been listening to dubstep for a while, and when I started writing my own music, I found dubstep too hard to produce and resulted [sic] to making other things until I found trap. For me, trap is so versatile and so insanely easy to make, which gives me a lot of flexibility in my sound and room for me to develop as a producer.”
Embracing the “gig” and moving at the speed of sound, his art is the twisting-up of the producer and the performer in his kiwi soul, synthesizing ropes and rebar of air-damaging bass that has, in fact, moved Insomniac to purchase additional insurance on their world-dominating sound system for this, the 22nd installment of Nocturnal Wonderland.
So… if you attend, make sure to bring extra stakes for you tent so that it does not blow away (or explode) in the fury. Me? I’ve got life insurance.
Because a lot can happen in a year.
You can catch QUIX doing his thing at Nocturnal Wonderland 2017, which takes place Friday, September 15, and Saturday, September 16, at Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino, CA. For more information, visit the official website.