William Holland is a musical mastermind. His diverse sounds across the global landscape have been influential for over a decade. It’s possible you may have heard of one or several of his projects such as Quantic, The Quantic Soul Orchestra, Quantic & The Flowering Inferno or Quantic & His Combo Barbaro? With roots in the UK and now planted in Cali, Colombia, Mr. Holland is poised to make his next move sharing along the way many musical treasures and maybe even his homemade lemon curd!
We recently caught up with Will to rap about cumbia mashups, “Trees & Seas”, what makes music palatable and what he has in store. Enjoy and don’t forget to download a little Dub Y Guaguanco by clicking the down arrow on the track below :)
What are the first 5 words that come to mind that you might use to describe the music you create?
Soulful, Alternative, Innovative, Explosive, Wholesome.
Saw you absolutely kill the Do Over a couple months ago with your Cali [fornia]-centric cumbia mashups like “Ain’t Nuthin’ But a G Thang”. How have you been able to hone in on such unique sounds making them into one seamless, danceable song?
Well, that came about from making a version originally of J Dilla, after that I got interested in covering other songs. The lines between hiphop and North American Black Music are slowly blurring with Tropical sounds like Cumbia, so it seemed fitting to try and ‘version’ some of these songs. I’ve been learning accordion in Colombia for a couple of years now so making specials like this are a chance for me to get better on the instrument and experiment with rhythms.
After a “bakers dozen” or so of releases what is one piece of musical equipment you couldn’t live without?
Well, I’d like to put it down to a fantastic piece of old equipment or eccentric piece of British sound engineering equipment. But in reality, I couldn’t live without a Mac Powerbook, since the first one I bought (and believe me I’ve got through a lot of them over the years!!!) its been an invaluable part of my production process. Its allowed me to travel the world fairly lightly and record all over Latin America & the States.
I have to ask what was going on when you created “Trees & Seas” and the whole Mishaps Happening album - it’s genius. It’s got the whole simple loopy hip hop, chill, melodic, cinematic vibe infused in it.
Quantic - trees and seas by The Mint Collective
I made Mishaps Happening and particularly ‘Trees and Seas’ whilst living in Brighton, England. I’m not sure what was going through my mind. I’ve always enjoyed working with a loop aesthetic and building up the vibe slowly. I had started renting a small room in a shared studio complex in the centre of the city, I’d often stay there till the early morning making songs. I’d always leave the warm confines of the studio and listen to the songs I had made on the walk back home. I remember vividly listening to this song on completion, walking up the hill to my house in the Brighton mist at 3 in the morning.
Your music is so palatable to really any type of listener. P.s. my dad loves “Dub Y Guaguanco”. Is this a conscious effort?
Mmm… well I’m really into trying to make music as universal as possible. The only danger with this is that you risk softening up or watering down the music in the process. I’m trying always to tread carefully and make each song live up to its full potential. Some songs are more universal than others, and a style Reggae is one of the most universal there is.
Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno - Dub y Guaguanco by The Mint Collective
Heard you play Ana Tijoux (who we love) on both the Soundwaves Radio show in LA last month and the Tropicalismo mix w/ the Mochilla cats & Sabo. What other female emcees/vocalists are you into at the moment?
I’m not sure why but I’ve always preferred listening to female rappers than male. I grew up with two sisters and a mother who were always singing so maybe that has something to do with it. Its also maybe that I’m not super into Macho Hiphop styles. Ana is great, very talented and definitely pushing things forward. I also like Goyo from Colombia’s Chocquibtown.
You’re based in Colombia and originally from the UK, where do you think you’ll live and dig for sounds next?
I really want to do something in Trinidad, a calypso orientated project of some kind. I’ve also been trying to get to Angola for years, hoping to get round to that this summer. Colombia has been very good to me and I enjoy living here dearly, but let’s see where life takes me.
Best show you’ve played, ever?
Oh god that’s a hard one. One of favourite DJ shows was in Sicily, in the yard of an old Wine Factory with Blossom falling from the trees onto the turntables. With the Combo Barbaro we recently played a fantastic show at the Worldwide festival in Sete, France, that was magnificent as the stage was set in an Amphitheater up on the cliffs looking over the sea.
Something most people don’t know about you?
I make a good Lemon Curd.
What are you looking forward to?
I’ m looking forward to performing at the Shock Awards in Colombia this week. I’ m also off to my family home in Dec, so looking forward to a good cider and English cheddar (two things Colombia just cannot supply me).
Just wanted to thank Will and Jasmine at Tru Thoughts for making this interview happen. This is a huge honor for me, I have been a Quantic fan for a musical lifetime. ♥♥♥ xx-jm