Interview with Qifi
SBS: Hello & welcome to our pages Qifi! Stoked to have you and looking forward to what you have to say to us all. We’ve had a chance to check out the latest single “All You” and read about you…you’re 21, born & raised in California…you’re an EDM DJ and you’re got a father that works as a manager at iheartradio that you’re somewhat patterning your life after from what I’ve researched. Let’s start there…when you say that you want to follow in your father’s footsteps – does that eventually lead you to management as well? There can more often than not be a very big divide between an artist & management…a performer and a player from behind the scenes – know what I mean? Do you feel an equal pull to both the art & business side of the music or is there eventually a fork in the road where you’ll have to make different decisions and potentially choose a different path than your father did?
Qifi: Life is full of many open doors while right now music is my passion and pulled me in to the mist of it all; seeing my dad manage tells me what I can achieve and as he takes me under his wing I know I can achieve in the managing side as I feel life as a whole has something different for me as society changes. Life is full of opportunities while still being a part of a prestigious corporation I understand that life is full of twists and turns. In conclusion another passion of mine is to travel where my dad does travel for his job, its only 2-3 locations a year from the different divisions of iheart (San Francisco, LA, and New York). My dream is to understand the world, learn different cultures and experience the inexperienced. That’s why I want to be a musician so I can travel around the world and find a better understanding of music.
SBS: With the explosion of EDM over the past decade or two, we’ve seen countless DJ’s come and go – but we’ve also watched & listened as the terrain of the genre was explored for the very first time. That being said…it’s still a boldly NEW genre by comparison to almost all of the rest out there…and generally that indicates there’s still a lot of room to further mine & explore the style/sound for all kinds of new stuff that hasn’t even happened yet. What do you feel like the next phase of evolution might be for the EDM genre? Does the music you make as Qifi factor in here? Do you plan to help build, evolve and shape the genre…really change it up and lead the way into its future – or is there something that you’re doing in your own style that you feel separates you from the rest of what’s happening out there in EDM? What would you say that is…and why?
Qifi: Yes, we are in a generation that is easy to research and look up new genres with a blink of an eye. The EDM crowd today listens to music that has heavily reference to drugs and typically the-harder-the-drop-the-better type of music that I believe will be the last stage of EDM and no advancement from there, but yet again we are in a rapidly evolving society where it will be more personal and music will explore the part of us that we never knew were there. My music is more of a melodic euphoric approach that the listener can get lost in and stay lost with ease.
SBS: From the perspective of a 21 year-old man entering the music-scene in today’s modern-age still struggling with adapting to ‘how’ to sell the music and create long-term careers in the industry – do you feel like it’s still 100% possible to pursue and achieve the dream of living a life as a musician? And – if that is the case…would you say it’s up to the artist to get the music there in this day & age or does it somehow become more up to the management when it comes to getting the music into the public eyes/ears? Does it seem like an optimistic venture…or do people constantly warn you about how impossible it theoretically is? Regardless of the opinions of others or maybe even your own assessment of the reality in the situation – what keeps you passionate about EDM and pursuing a lifetime in music?
Qifi: Anything that is worthwhile is impossible. With so many outlets to release music it definitely makes a difference while management is important for getting it out there management is called a team without one another we would be nothing, but if there is one thing I learned at iheart it is that you need to work for it…. In the past I’ve had some music ideas for a startup radio show in the mornings for KCLA 570 that got directly shot down from the producers; It didn’t make the cut because it didn’t have an audience or approval from the listeners. I was fed a lie and understood from there the corporation operated in a tyrannical order. I’ve seen people happily employed one day and gone the next.
SBS: How about history? Music history to be more specific. You’ve got a father that’s been a talk-show DJ in the past and I’m assuming you’ve probably had an upbringing that has included a lot of music & musically-related events in it. For example…I’m the son of a musician myself…at your age when I was 21, I would have already spent a good thirteen years behind the headphones and about sixteen years playing various instruments from piano to drums, bass & guitar. So tell me a bit about how you grew up and how music played a role in your life. Is there a possibility that perhaps having less life experience and being younger might potentially lead you to something that’s not being done or has ever been done in music so far? How so?
Qifi: Music has always been a big part of me growing up. My father raised me on the Beatles and has worked with tons of musicians as a producer for commercials and ads. Rick Springfield, being a frequent client of my dad, would always work with him in person (since back and the day they worried about sound quality and over the phone was still questionable) and they exchanged contact information. At seven I learned some song writing/guitar techniques from Rick and began to frequently go to his shows in Las Vegas where I was brought backstage to tryout his equipment and that day was the day I wanted to become a musician. Unfortunately I don’t favor tangible instruments as they are difficult for travel and time consuming. Dj’ing and producing fits my needs for music at the moment. Touring as a dj includes a usb and laptop. As a new up and comer I am not shackled by the standards to bring up new ideas that are generated in their head. I simply come up with a tune on the fly thanks to Rick.
SBS: I’ll keep this question as wide-open as possible for you: what is the ultimate goal you have for the music you’re making?
Qifi: I would like to inspire the new generation and a new way of thinking. Honestly, I just do this for fun. I have releases on multiple platforms: Amazon, Google Play Store, ITunes, iheart radio app, Spotify and the list goes on, but I don’t earn squat compared to my main job. I’ve talked to numerous artists about incomes and they mainly make it on tours and endorsements and I can’t throw away my job for something temporary like that. I enjoy my life right now and continue to dissect the music industry to find my niche and where I fit.
SBS: While you were growing up…electro-music was really finding its way to the mainstream for the very first time. While you were listening to music along the way…did your own personal taste for it change over time or were you always addicted to electro? I know my own personal playlists have changed completely over the years…and the music I make now isn’t the music I would have been making way back when. Mind you…doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any better – it’s just different. Are you feeling like you’re open to that possibility of change in direction in your music? You’ve got love & skills for the EDM genre right now…but if that changes in the future and you wanted to rock all of a sudden…and you’ve already built-up a big fan-base for your electro-music…do you think you’d still make the change? It can be tough to make a move like that once you’re ‘established’ – how do you think you’ll go about preserving your own needs for freedom of expression within the music & sounds you’ll make over the years?
Qifi: Yes, I like to look at music as a living growing thing, music has evolved so much and so many sub-genres are being created as we speak, but right now future is where my heart is at. If I change format, my fans would have to accept the fact that I’ve grown-up, however, they should be my fan for more reasons than my music, but for my personality. I listened to a lot of classic/deathcore rock back in my day as a pre-teen and swiftly transferred to techno from influence of my cousin ,a raver back then. Since then I made my stand to strategically listen to the new school we call EDM. I plan to collab with some artists sometime down the line, but for now I want to focus on me myself and I.
SBS: Tell us about the new single “All You” and what it took to make it all come to life in recording it. Was there anything you learned through writing, performing or production that will help you when you go to create future recordings?
Qifi: When I first started all you I had no idea where to take it, but after this it really opened my eyes and discovered what niche I want to attack which is around the euphoric uplifting and motivating type of future-bass. I want to have an anthem screaming “everything is going to be alright, just take a deep breath and continue being productive”.
SBS: When it comes to writing “All You” or any other song you might write in the future…what would you say that it HAS to have in order to make the grade for ya? Know what I mean? Some sort of signature element to the sound or the writing…you might want to try new things and that’s cool too of course…but even those songs will have to have that ______ SOMETHING…know what I’m saying? What do you feel like the songs you’ll put out will have within them that will always keep the sounds we’re hearing unique & identifiable to Qifi?
Qifi: My signature sound is going to be finding the voice of the unheard and incorporating it in my music. Preferably the buildup and drops will have a signature ingredient including qifi related sfx that involve cute melodic tones that spread happiness and bliss. I try to focus on the good and clean flow of a song; not some filthy dubstep.
SBS: I’m also curious about whether or not you’ve really started something big with the release of “All You” – like, as in, now that this single has dropped, is it going to cue the release of a whole bunch more material from you in the upcoming future? What kind of pace would you like to be putting music out into the world at and how do you plan to achieve it?
Qifi: Well with it only being out for a month I’ve had it in some vlogs and music channels reaching 200k views and approaching almost 1,000 downloads so I fill that my goals have met the requirements and for future releases I actually released a song called “Wrestling in the Leaves” on the sixteenth of October and plan on releasing another song on the first of November named “Come up” so far I feel that I’m going into the right path. My pace in releasing is quick right now, but I plan to slow it down a bit to make sure I release quality work that tells a story.
SBS: In listening to “All You” I really started thinking about all the different places you could potentially put a song like that. Ever think about those? So many opportunities exist to have your music showcased in films, television and independent projects…do you think you’d ever pursue those as an option? Let’s get the scene from your own imagination…suppose you had to place “All You” into a show of some kind…where would a song like this fit in perfectly with onscreen visuals? It doesn’t have to be a specific show of any kind – but what kind of atmosphere & scene would a song like “All You” perfectly complement onscreen?
Qifi: Yes, because I believe that in order to achieve one’s goals you need to implement a plan and attack at full force. With all of the creative minds out there in the world; I’m sure there is someone out there to showcase my music. Specifically I can foresee some of my music used in intros to blogs, or commercials that portray a happy tone. Like I said before I have music channels wanting more of my music and that provides me closure.
SBS: You’re 21 & eligible to vote in potentially the most important election in US history this time around. Are you planning on exercising that right to vote? Why is it important to you? Do you think there is room for politics within the music you’ll make over the years Qifi – or is that a place where politics isn’t allowed to breach? Through samples & guest-stars, EDM artists quite often speak through their music with bold social commentary…and for some, this is more important to do than it is for others out there. Will it be important for you to ‘speak’ through the music – or is it more about making rad beats & good times for you personally?
Qifi: No, voting isn’t important to me. From my understanding of the government; it cannot be trusted. Remember when Bush didn’t win his re-election so they recounted the votes to make him win? We have two felons running for office; Hillary is funding ISIS, Trump never paid taxes and the list goes on. We are poisoned through GMO crops, water and chemtrails plus brainwashing through tv and the media, and who funds them? Yes, corporations do. We have a choice to bring politics into music, but I plan on staying away from that. Music is a chance for people to escape; when listening to my music you’re supposed to forget about your daily problems and relate to your inner being. Who knows. I might slip in some “Truth” here and there. We’ll see.
SBS: Definitely want to say thank-you to you Qifi for taking the time to do this interview with us! Got one last thing here for you, which is the SBS ‘open-floor’ where you can shout-out anything else that comes to your mind my friend, anything at all. Best of luck to you out there in the electro-scene brother – hope to cross paths again in the future! Cheers dude – the floor is yours!
Qifi: Thanks for having me Jer! This was really fun for me. I want to thank my dad for supporting me through school and work and my cousin Mathew who has been with since day one; also being my photographer from time to time and always having my back while also supporting “All You” and the other projects I have coming up. I would also like to thank my friend Neil at KFIAM640 for getting my name out there on the floors of iheart. Shout out to my Instagram @qifiHD