Quincey Tones is a UK beatmaker who has worked with an impressive list of artists so far in his career. The list could be a whose who from both the UK and the US and he has even ended up working with Weezy! Read on to find out what Qunicey Tones had to say about his beginnings in Ska and what he has planned for the future when he spoke to our reporter Lady Jay UK.
Lady Jay UK: Tell me about the name Quincey Tones…
Quincey Tones: When I started out producing I was trying to find a good name to go by. I would pretty much change names every month 'cause they were all pretty wack to be honest haha. For a while I already had the nickname of Quincey Tones among my close friends but had never considered it as my producer name. I can't even remember why it came about that I was given this nickname but it just stuck. I mean obviously I was a fan of the great Quincy Jones but it wasn't like I spoke about him every single day. I would always be introduced to people as Q or Quince so it just kind of made sense to roll with it and take on the Quincey Tones persona. Obviously it's a name that people will remember as well.
Lady Jay UK: You toured with a Ska band for a while didn't you!?
Quincey Tones: Yeah, I played double bass for them back in 2001 I think it was. We weren't like the 80's 2-tone ska bands, Madness, The Specials etc. We were more like original ska music from which reggae was born. We had a whole load of jazz musicians and a lot of those guys back in the 60s came from jazz backgrounds so there were similarities with the soloing aspect. We actually got to play a bunch of gigs with ska legends and innovators of reggae music The Skatelites, which was a great honour. I mean these guys had played with the likes of Bob Marley and they were still performing to packed audiences into their 60s.
Lady Jay UK: So when did the transition to Hip Hop come about?
Quincey Tones: Even when I was playin' bass in bands I was makin' beats. It was more of a hobby to begin with, just something I enjoyed doing but wasn't takin' too seriously. I guess I’d been heavily into hip hop since 95/96 but never considered a career as a producer till maybe 2003.
Lady Jay UK: How long have you been in music for?
Quincey Tones: Pretty much my whole life. Neither of my parents were particularly musical but my dad started my brother off with guitar lessons when he was six. So naturally as the younger brother of two I wanted to do everything my brother was doing and started taking my own guitar lessons not long after. I've had periods of playing most styles of music in my life, beginning with classical guitar, onto rock, through to reggae, jazz, soul, folk and of course hip hop. It's given me a broader knowledge of music and an open mind, which has undoubtedly worked in my favour as a producer.
Lady Jay UK: You're really on some international business! How did collaborations with artists so far afield come about?
Quincey Tones: I just made it my mission to get beats to any artist I wanted to work with no matter where they were from. So many MC's in the US are linked to each other in different ways that I guess word began to spread and people would know who I was from working with this guy or that guy. I'm gonna have a lot more material dropping from artists worldwide soon enough. From UK to US, Sweden to Australia.
Lady Jay UK: Talk to me about creating music…
Quincey Tones: I never try and force it for starters. Like there's always times when things just don't seem to be working for one reason or another. I'll often go back to things at a later date and it'll all just make sense with fresher ears. Creativity can definitely come in spurts for me. I can go through a week of makin’ five-ten beats a day and then hit a wall the following week. I guess it's much like writers block. I've had a tough couple of years in my personal life and I've learnt that I’m probably at my best when I’m in hard times. I suppose music has been my release.
Lady Jay UK: Do you have any habits or routines when you’re producing?
Quincey Tones: Not really in the process of making the beat. Like, how I go about it can change dependant on that particular track. But one thing I do always tend to do is listen back to the track a lot when I’m making it, seeing which MC I can hear on the track. I freestyle over my beats a lot when I’m makin’ them… you don’t wanna hear that though haha.
Lady Jay UK: Do you only produce Hip Hop?
Quincey Tones: Nah. That's something I’ve branched out from in the past year. I produced a band at the start of the year that are as far from hip hop as they come. Fantastically talented musicians and songwriters made up mostly of jazz musicians but I’d say musically they have influences of blues, folk, soul, jazz. I got to work with string sections, horn sections, choirs and some of the best session musicians in the country, which is great for my contacts list. Definitely something I’m interested in doing more of but for the moment I’m going to concentrate on making a name in hip hop.
Lady Jay UK: How's the project with O.C. going? How did you form this partnership?
Quincey Tones: Well it's only two tracks on his next solo album, not like a whole project. But yeah, one of the tracks is completely finished and mixed but the album wont be out for a while still I think… I think the album with AG is dropping first. I basically know OC from his manager and he was feeling my beats… not the most interesting story haha.
Lady Jay UK: What's next for you?
Quincey Tones: I got a lot of stuff in the pipeline. I’m really excited to get my new stuff heard so we’re shopping beats at the moment and we’ve had a lot of interest since the Lil Wayne hit the net. I’ve basically really stepped up my beats recently… I thought if I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do it so really started critiquing my stuff and stepping up the levels… so I’m really excited for when rappers start picking my new stuff and the world gets to hear it. I’ve sent stuff to big people who’ve been like “I haven’t heard a beat tape this sick for years” and stuff like that… I’d definitely say my output of the last six months is a massive improvement… now people just gotta hear it haha. As far as solid things… I got multiple tracks on Q-Unique’s new album, multiple tracks on Wordsworth’s new album, probably doing a collaborative project with Q-Unique, the OC tracks, a few joints with Lowkey, some work with Yungun and more.
I’m also working on my solo album. I don’t wanna go into too much detail as I want to make sure it’s fresh when it drops. But it’s quite different to most producer albums, it’s gonna be real cohesive and have a concept, not just be a bunch of random tracks… I’m trying to make a classic I can play to my grandkids. It’s only really in the early stages of recording (vocal wise), so, so far only really has either good friends or people I’ve been working with so asked them to jump on. So far I got Naledge, Yungun, Masta Ace, Royce da 5’9”, Ras Kass and a few more. It’s gonna have a ton of live stuff as well, I’ll be getting my conductor’s baton out haha. There’ll also be some non-Hip Hop guests that might surprise you, hopefully in a good way! Ermmm, that’s pretty much everything I can divulge. Like I said, had a fair bit of major interest, so hopefully there’ll be some big news in the near future, but for now… my lips are sealed haha.