The deep melodic sounds of French producer Quatri have a depth and uniqueness that is hard to quantify or draw comparisons against. His detailed and emotive production style, which made its foundations at cutting edge imprint Nie Wieder Schlafen, is quickly turning underground heads. A perfect fit for Constant Circles, he makes his debut with a remix of Just Her & Nandu, and as such, joins us for a chat and a guest mix on the radio show.
What is the story behind the name Quatri? Is this your first project or have you had other aliases?
Hello, thanks for having me in the latest Constant Circles podcast and for this interview. A pleasure to work with you Just Her.
Ah the name Quatri came from randomness when I was a teenager with my friends! We used to make memes and post them on Facebook and people loved these, so I made a page and out of nowhere named the page/myself “Quatri” as the publisher of these memes – haha. Then people started calling me “Quatri” on a daily basis, so with time I felt like this is THE name that is associated with me. And obviously it’s inspired from my actual last name which is “Qatramis”.
It’s not my first project! I used to make Trance music 4-5 years ago, and I was using the same name actually. I couldn’t get myself to change it haha! It would feel like I am a different person if my name wouldn’t stay the same.
What is your background and how did you get into music?
Funnily enough, unlike a lot of people in the scene, I have absolutely no music related background… My family has never been into music all that much, and I just got to like it and discover it by myself – I mean that’s why I don’t have a vast musical knowledge compared to the people I work with. Sometimes when chatting about music with my colleagues at NWS, they go “Oh it reminds me of this (famous) track from this (amazing) artist!” and I am always like “Oh nice let me check it out, didn’t know about that one!” and they would be “are you serious?” Haha! Or for example when I got into music production, my close friends and family would most commonly react “Ahmad, making music? What?”. I guess it’s just the way it is, I have a love for music, that people around me didn’t know about obviously.
So yeah I just got to literally fall in love with the deep progressive side of Trance music 7 years ago, which led me to start producing it! Time went by, and I developed as a producer. I quit Trance because of the commercial oriented approach it was taking, and finally got into underground deep house & electronica! I think everything happens for a reason, and I am happy to be a part of this fantastic scene.
You are part of the Nie Wieder Schlafen crew, how did that collaboration come about and do you have a particular role at the label?
Well the story is quite a nice one! It all happened roughly a year ago. when I sent a demo to a French label called “Lossless” run by Sophian, a friend of Steppi (the Nie Wieder Schlafen label honcho). He replied to the demo like 3-4 months later telling me it’s not their style for this one but that he might know someone that would be interested, which was Steppi! So I started chatting with him and he presented me to all the family of Nie Wieder Schlafen, and I was just overwhelmed by how nice and motivated they are!
I have a really close relationship with Steppi, we talk about music and life, everyday. We share the same taste & have a lot of common interests that we even decided to start a new alias together.
And I guess my role in the label is quite simple, making music and forming the label’s sound! Steppi is always interested what my thoughts are about certain tracks he might or might not sign and I help him make such decisions for the label.
You have a really unique, organic sound. What is your production process and what are your key pieces of studio kit?
I have a big love for real life memories. Each memory has it’s vibe and it’s background sounds that define the context. I like to hear sounds from everyday life when listening to music, which is what makes the music feel more “organic” – it feels real & human. It makes the music feel more like a cinematic sound, where you have the actual (non-human made) audio from the movie combined with the movie soundtrack to it – it amplifies emotion and lifts up the listener, puts him in a different world, into a situation you created.
I have no sophisticated studio kit, just a powerful PC desktop, a soundcard, and headphones. As my family has no musical background, we have never had any hardware for music production. I think I just reached a point now, where I need to start getting some gear to further develop singularity in my music! Having gear feels way more fun. I also want to take a year or two learning to play live – I’m planning to get a nice set-up for just that. I think live mixes are really interesting and can be next level, but when you put in the work behind it for a good amount of time, you can make it exceptional. I am sure David August’s live set at Boiler Room was worked on for months before being put out, and being one of the best live performances I have ever heard in my life. You know what I mean ?
You recently remixed Just Her & Nandu on Constant Circles – how did you approach the remix and what direction did you take it?
I wanted to achieve a deep sounding production. I started by doing a bass-focused atmosphere that gives a great drive to the track – then I started writing some melodies and especially focused on the chords. It was sounding nice and catchy to my liking very soon, but something was missing. While trying to find new melodies, I started playing with the piano chords that I had written before and just came up with this long, emotional piano hook! I just kept writing it and writing so fluidly and getting all emotional while listening to the track haha! It has to be the special thing about this track, and I just love how it’s sounding now, even though there are some final edits to do. What makes it special for me, is the persistence of the rhythmic bass and drums that gives the dance drive throughout the track.
Do you have a certain idea or genre in mind when you start each project? Where do you get your inspiration?
Ummh tough question! Depending on my mood and my recent listens/inspirations I tend to setup a style/genre in my mind and produce based on it. But then most of the time I end up finding an idea that is not so related to this genre that I setup, and I end up doing something different. But I always go for having a genuine sound that doesn’t sound like the other tracks that are being shared.
My source of inspiration comes from various fields! I mostly get inspired when I listen to a new movie score, or when I watch a movie! I am a big fan of cinematic music. But then I tend to get inspired from a lot of downtempo/soundscapes and tracks from series, like “The Blue Dot” by We Are All Astronauts for example. And one of my biggest sources of inspiration as well is just hearing the music that is being put out by the Nie Wieder Schlafen family! Each producer is so unique in his way, that when he shows you a track, it’s so amazing that it motivates you to start doing your thing too!
What do you have coming up in terms of releases and gigs?
I have a couple of remixes coming up very soon! The first track of the mix is actually one of them! So far 3 EPs are scheduled for this year, coming up on labels like Oleeva Records, Nie Wieder Schlafen, and new french label called “Hosted”. I can’t wait to share all the music, especially my Oleeva EP as it is getting some mad support.
In terms of gigs, I have a couple of dates coming in the schedule very soon! I cannot reveal anything as nothing is confirmed yet, but very exciting days. I can’t wait to start sharing the musical vibes live to people!
What is the coolest gig you have ever played & why?
Well most of my time in the electronic scene was spent behind the computer, producing music. As this new chapter of mine has just started last year, I really didn’t get into mixing till roughly 12-14 months ago, so I haven’t played at a lot of events yet! Having said that, the Nie Wieder Schlafen label showcase Berlin was definitely the coolest gig I’ve ever had!
How did you put together your guest mix for the radio show & what have you included – any exclusives or surprises?
I went for a deep progressive escalation of the mix! I included as a first track, my remix for Simply City’s “Glass Elevator”, which sets a laid-back chill vibe. Then comes O/Y’s incredible “Achromasie”, where the action begins. Half way through the mix, I play the latest fantastic remix by Luis Junior for Freedo Mosho “Back To The Woods”, and this is the peak of tension! I switch vibes to a more dreamy oriented one with the amazing “Brutus Jam” by Karmon. This track is mindblowing, I can’t get enough of it. And finally I finish off the mix with emotion, what I do best, with my remix of Just Her & Nandu.
And catch him on Constant Circles Radio: