Qulinez: “Without Steve Angello, we might not have been here today…”
From ‘Body Dancing’ feat Belle Humble to dance floor cracker ‘Hookah’ and a load of other kick-ass tunes, Qulinez have been making waves alright! The Swedish duo recently inked an exclusive deal with us and to celebrate the new members of our family, we invited the guys from Qulinez (Alexander Lager & Johannes Gustafsson) over to chitchat about their friendship, their sounds, and what they think their future in music will look like.
Reportedly, you guys were friends long before getting stuck in this mad world of Electronic Music. Could you tell us how you met and why you became such close friends in the first place?
Yeah, we have known each other for a long time. It all started when we met through a close friend of ours. We started to talk and after a while, we both realized we had something in common: music. So we started making music together in 2006 and we felt it was so cool and funny. And here we are now, ten years later.
When and where did you discover that you had a mutual love for music and how did it all transpire from there?
We both had been making music before we met each other, so we think that it was there from the beginning. When we first started out, we had different thoughts about music and we took our own previous experiences and tried our best to make the most of it. We recognized that we had the same unconditional love for music, so it was actually an easy decision to make for us.
When did you realize you really could be making a living in music?
We didn’t think about it in the beginning. We started to make music for fun and we still do. But we think the thought occurred for the first time when we released our track ‘Troll’, simply because we began touring a short while later and saw that our carrier started to grow. But as we said before, we are not in it for the money. We’re doing it because we love it.
Your career took off big time when fellow Swede Steve Angello picked you up and introduced you to the SIZE family. In what way has Steve influenced the direction of your sound and/or certain career decisions?
Steve opened a lot of doors for us and helped us out big time in the early days of our career. So yes, of course he was and is a big inspiration to us. Without him, we may have not even been here today. So, big thanks to him. He gave us good advice on how to build up our career and we’ve tried to do just that ever since.
To be close friends with someone on a personal level is nothing out of the ordinary, but becoming partners-in-crime on a professional level is another thing entirely. How do you feel working together so closely in so many aspects of your life? Were you never afraid of losing this friendship due to work-related issues and/or friction?
We only see the positive when it comes to working together. We think it’s much easier if u have someone to discuss the music with. We love touring together and to do so is not a big deal for us. Of course, we argue about stuff now and then, but that’s just because we both want things to be good as possible. Plus, we can work a bit faster than any sole person could, haha.
How do you deal with having opposite views on music or career decisions?
Hmm, tough question! We try to do something that we both like, and if one of us creates something the other thinks is terrible, we don’t finish it. We think it’s like that for everyone who has ‘two parts’ to deal with. We are two, but together we are one.
How do you make the most of your time in the studio? Are you each responsible for different tasks and steps in the production process or do you work together on every single element of a track until it’s all finished? Does this workflow translate to your live sets as well?
We try to work together as much as possible. But sometimes, one of us is working on a melody while the other forges a drop. It differs every single day. Recently, we spent a lot of time in studio and on doing interviews and not on the show, but we’re looking forward to tour again. We are play together when doing live sets, but it’s not that often we prepare our sets before the show. We love to play new tracks and different styles and to not do the same as what the other DJs are doing.
How do you describe your sound and why do you think it works so well, especially when played live?
We try out a lot of different music and genres when we produce and the same thing can be applied to our live sets. We can’t say exactly what style of music we’re doing, because we happen to be entwined in so many different styles all the time. We produce trap, progressive house, big room, and other styles. So we might just call our sound ‘the Qulinez Sound’, haha. We truly hope that people can recognize a Qulinez track when they hear one.
How do you prepare for a live set, for instance for shows at festivals such as Tomorrowland?
Tomorrowland is the only show we have really prepared our set for. It was our third show EVER and we were a little bit of nervous before the show. So we decided to prepare our set, although that essentially means that we prepared ourselves, as opposed to preparing the set itself. It’s a drill now. Sleep well, eat a lot, and drink even more (water)!
Why did you decide to sign with Armada? Were there any reasons in particular or was this just the right move for you at the right time?
We think of Armada as a good label releasing a lot of good music. We have released some music on Armada before signing with them and we think that they did great work. For us, it was an honor to sign a contract with Armada. We are so happy and really looking forward to work with them! We think this is going to be so awesome!
Where do you see yourself in a few years’ time? What would you love to have achieved by then and what is the ultimate goal for Qulinez?
Our goals are to get bigger and bigger, to produce good music and make our brand bigger! We believe in ourselves and we have a great team at Vice Agency, who are working hard for us, and we’ve got Armada beside us. We think this going to be so good! So Qulinez will be at number one on Billboard and Beatport in a few years and we’ll have a big tour schedule, haha.
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any exciting things your fans should be looking forward to?
We have a lot of good things coming up, but we can’t tell you anything yet! The fans have A LOT to look forward to, we can promise you that. Working with Vice and Armada can lead to huge things, right?