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NewTracks New Artist: RQ & Frankie

NewTracks New Artist: RQ & Frankie

Ryan Quinlivan, or short RQ, and Frankie Daly met when Frankie was teaching his daughter how to swim. Ryan used to be one of the music curators for RDU in Christchurch but has since moved north to be near Raglan. Their collaborative new drum ‘n bass single Be There is the first time the two have worked together, and Ryan’s first step into more commercial music production. The song featured on NZ On Air Music‘s NewTracks compilation this February.

What’s your full name, where are you from and what instruments do you play?

Ryan Quinlivan, from Ruapuke near Raglan. I’m slowly teaching myself keys and used to play drums many years ago.

Was any high school or other music training important?

Completely self-taught and I know it’s a cliche, but I learnt a lot from my parents’ record collection (most of which I have “archived” for them in my collection).

Any other projects we might know you from?

I have had some jazzy/ambient releases over the past few years, some of it down the total other end of the spectrum from Be There – dark drone, noise type stuff!

What’s the background to how RQ & Frankie came to be?

I met Frankie when she was giving my daughter swimming lessons in Christchurch. Neither of us knew the other was into music until a bit later when Frankie saw my pic in relation to my job as a music curator for 98.5 RDU FM. After she told me she was a vocalist and (very talented) pianist I immediately asked her if she would like to try to work on something together. Be There happened very quickly and very easily, in no small part thanks to Frankie’s knowledge of arrangement and hooks.

How has your own music evolved  to where it is now?

I have pretty much come full circle in terms of what I want to achieve as a producer. When I first bought a computer to make music, I was a massive fan of early Good Looking Records-style DnB and was trying to make tracks like that, never successfully! Between then and now I have had a crack at nearly every dark, minimal corner in electronic music… slowly coming back to where I started… lush, emotive DnB.

How did you come up with the name for the new project?

Over the years I have had a few aliases, but whenever I was really serious about the tune/project I use RQ. Even though this track is a bit of a departure from my more recent stuff, it was always going to be an RQ track.

What makes Be There stand out for you as a single?

The lyrics are great, and with that melody, it is a total ear-worm. I catch myself humming it all the time!

What is the story behind Be There?

I had wanted to try and make something a bit more commercial for a while but had never had a vocalist to work with, so I jumped at the chance when I met Frankie. I sent her a few tracks from the mid-late ’90s I really liked (Kosheen, EZ Rollers etc.) and we started from there.

Frankie then supplied me with a bunch of vocal takes and MIDI files of the piano parts and I ran with it from there. There were only a few tweaks back and forward between us and it was done! Having someone with her depth of musical knowledge was a massive step forward for me as someone with pretty much zero… problems that would have stopped me for a day or two would be resolved with one two-minute FB chat.

What’s your favourite moment of the single?

I love the drums filtering up under Frankie’s voice in anticipation of the second drop, it all comes together so well!

Who did you write/record the single with and where?

Be There was put together with myself in Ruapuke and Frankie in Christchurch, with me sending clips down and Frankie re-singing parts and firing them back up, sometimes with screenshots of the arrangement if I needed advice on placement/timing of elements.

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

All I want is for people to be belting this out at the traffic lights in their cars, a big smile on their face!

In general, how do you work out what song would make a good single?

This really the first time for me, I usually work down the darker, more stripped back end of the DnB sound.

Be There is the first time I have made a proper ‘hands in the air’ tune and I knew straight away it needed to be treated differently than my previous work. When I caught myself humming it or singing it out of nowhere I immediately wanted to get it out to as many people as possible, just to share the joy!

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for?

Frankie and me are hopefully starting a new track really soon and I am keen to push things even further sonically and musically. A ‘poppy’ track dare I say it!

Can you please tell us three other local tunes that should be on a playlist alongside your song.

Lost Tribe Aotearoa from here in Raglan have a new single coming out soon, I would be keeping my ears peeled for that one!

Outside of that, I don’t really know what’s going on out there! We live very rurally and my finger is NOT on the pulse really!

Have any of your previous applications not been included on NewTracks?

This was my first application, but I was familiar with NewTracks as I used it every month while curating bass / electronic music for RDU down there in Christchurch. As such, I knew where the level was in terms of appeal and quality.

Was there any NZOA criterion you struggled with in the application? 

Everything was pretty straight forward. It looked a little daunting at first, but I just went through one by one and it all made sense. I did think you had to have a video to be able to be eligible, but one email put me straight on that one!

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

I’m a super DnB head, so I follow a few related things:
https://twohungryghosts.blog/
https://www.hospitalrecords.com/podcast/

How can we find you on social media?

https://www.instagram.com/rqnz/
https://soundcloud.com/rqnz
https://rqproduct.com/

Any last words?

Be excellent to each other!