MikeQ is a producer from New Jersey, USA. Releasing music on Fade to Mind and his own imprint Qween Beats, he is curating the future of Vogue / Ballroom! We sat down with Mike ahead of his performance for The House of Mince tonight to learn a little bit more about what makes him tick!
In your own words who are you and what do you do?
I am Michael, MikeQ and this third person I have not figured out yet. I am a man of many hats but consider myself to just simply be an artist.
For those unfamiliar with ballroom, could you explain it in a few sentences?
Ballroom. Fun, creativity.. It's where the underground gay culture comes together and make our own world of fun.
How did growing up in the melting pot that is New Jersey influence your music style? Living in NJ I was exposed to house, Baltimore and jersey club music early on and most other Jersians have been as well, we love the beat and that beat has had a huge influence on what I create today.
Night Slugs sister label 'Fade to Mind' is one of the strongest supporters of Ballroom music, how did you end up working with them?
I think they found me first I can remember hearing the names of Girl Unit and Sara Manara first before anybody and they, Night slugs I'm sure spreaded it on. Kingdom I met at a DJ gig we had together for a mutual friend, he had already knew of me and we exchanged some tunes and from there our family relationship began.
Where do you see Ballroom in the future? This is a hard one, I mean it's definitely spreading globally in small spaces, I myself have exposed it to many or at least the music aspect of it. So the bookies being written as we speak, do I want it to go mainstream? NO... I feel like that's where shit fails and gets date stamped by the outsiders.
You have been curating and releasing culture under your imprint Qween Beat for a while now, what was your initial inspiration to start this journey?
No necessarily, it was at first just a name to put my music under but with so much talent coming from this culture and me being a leader it was definitely something to poke at and an idea that grew over time.
You currently reside in New York, how does the Vogue/Ballroom culture compare to the scenes its inspired around the world?
No I live in Nj, I just travel to Ny frequently, NYC is the Mecca of ballroom and always will be. No other will be like it but I've noticed that other places have their own thing going which make them unique and it changes by city.
Current favourite track in your bag? (can be digital or vinyl or whatever)
Right now hmmm, actually there isn't just one. Like my team right now Qween Beat I feel is killing it and I'm really into my meme era and what they sound like. Album coming soon, wait on it. And you'll see what I mean .
Who is inspiring you at the moment?
There is no who. Never a who but dance itself is always inspiring as well as just clubbing and music and sound. I find I mostly want to make tracks when I'm in the club listening to other DJs play.
Ballroom / Vogue has become a little bit trendy in recent years, how do you feel about the place of authenticity when it comes to the creation of the music / proliferation of the culture?
Well yea with a rise in anything comes the rest. And I will say there are folks outside the scene that really get it and there are others that don't. Our music is not about throwing a MAW ha Crash into your beat. It's something you can only pick up when you know what it's like in the ballroom world. The people, the places, the history... All of that is important and key.
MikeQ plays for the House of Mince tonight at Midnight Shift on Oxford St!
Support from black cracker + Victoria Kim + Kato + Baby Face Thrilla + Bhenji Rā
Last few tickets available here!