Baby Doc Interview
Responsible for creating ground breaking NRG sounds throughout the 90s, and releasing on prolific labels such as Noom, Prolekult, Positiva, React and many more. London's Baby Doc, active as ever, needs little introduction. HTE catches up with Quinn for a quick chat about his forthcoming album, remixing pop stars, new analogue gear, nights at Trade and hilarious hotel mishaps...
Hi Quinn, how are you, and what you up to this week?
I'm really well thanks, I am writing this on a Train from Amsterdam to Berlin. Originally I was going to fly direct but the border was closed to people from the UK. So I spent a couple of days in Amsterdam at my mates amazing house and am going out on his boat before this leg of the journey. I have both a European passport and an UK one so I'm sure I will get in if I hide the UK one!
Take us back to the start, your sound was pretty aggressive for its time, what first inspired you when carving out that unique Baby Doc NRG sound?
Originally, when I started there was either girly House or Rave and very little in-between. I liked the harder sounds coming from Belgium and Germany, but also loved high NRG and sequenced baselines etc. Basically, I didn't hear the tracks I wanted to dance to, so I had to make them myself.
I remember a term Hardbag being bounded about in the mid 90s, what were your thoughts on that at the time?
I never made any handbag or hardbag, It was a term for the softer parts of music at that time but never about mine.. It didn’t especially bother me as I was managed at the time by the same management that the Candy girls were. It just wasn’t my thing.
Your discography is packed full of pivotal and pioneering underground labels, such as Noom, Prolekult and React to name but a few. Your sound has also been requested on some more commercial releases including The Pet Shop Boys and Iggy Pop. How did those come about and were they good experiences?
I loved remixing those big pop stars. It’s not like today when someone claims to have remixed a classic track. Just by sampling it without any permission from the original artist .Thats called a bootleg. A remix is when the producers have been commissioned by the record label or artist to remix their tracks. In the day it was so lucrative and I found it so easy. Just to give you an idea, I got paid £12K for remixing the Pet Shop Boys and had it done in two days. What was there not to love!
I have always been a massive Iggy Pop fan and when EMI asked me to remix 'Nightclubbing' for the Trainspotting album, I was delighted. Thing is, I was doing so many remixes each week I actually forgot about recording it. I got a call from high up at EMI asking where their remix was as the album was being cut at Abbey road studios the very next Morning at 9am. I had 6 hours to write and record my remix without any of the original samples as EMI had lost the tapes. Somehow I got it finished in that time.
A couple of weeks later I was with some friends in my studio and the studio phone went. I answered it and I heard a gruff voice saying ''Hey it's Iggy, I love you remix man " I then gesticulated to all my friends and mouthed ''Its Iggy pop!'' pointing a the phone!
You have a new release incoming right? Please tell us more..
Yes I have just released my new single ‘Leash’ on the wonderful German label BLU FIN.
You’ve always been more of an analogue fan in the studio, what kit have you been utilising the most in recent times?
I bought a couple of new toys this year. One I love is the Korg Minilogue which sounds very much like a Roland Juno from the day. I have owned about 30-40 analogue synths and drum machines over the years so I am pleasantly surprised how good some of the new synths are.
I also bought The Roland TR8s drum machine which they claim is a version of The classic 909 and 808 drum machines. I have owned three 808s and a 909 and the TR8s does not sound like them, but I still love it. I actually almost brought it with me to Germany to play around with but as I had my Traktor DJ console in my suitcase already I thought it best too leave room for at least a few clothes.
Now that it looks like we may be getting some freedom back, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
Well like I said I’m going to be in Berlin for 6 weeks. I have a 110 sq metre apartment with a DJ booth and a huge balcony overlooking Berlin so that's going to be fun. I will be finishing my album ‘Twisted silky’ and then there is some talk about me travelling to LA at the end of the year.
A trade regular, can you please give us one unheard story from your days at Turnmills?
Well, there are so many its hard to find one safe enough to put down in print. I shouldn't really tell this one but hey ho! I had been at Trade all night and one of the promoters Laurence malice's Friends was there after getting out of rehab. This obviously hadn't worked as he was off his head. He had been a pain in the ass all night hitting on my girlfriend so badly that at one point Danny Rampling and I had to physically pull him off her.
At the time I had a classic army landrover, I was waiting in it outside after close at about midday on Sunday when the door was sharply pulled open by the Trade security. Then the guy was thrown unconscious into my car. “Quinn get him out of here and take him to Laurences’’. Not only had this guy almost ruined my night but now I was responsible to taxi him home! Now I was really pissed off. I start driving back to Laurences when I get caught in some slow moving traffic, ahead of me I see a Policeman slowly walking through the traffic looking into each car at this point my passenger stops breathing! If you want to hear what happens next you will have to wait for the book I am writing this month.
What other London nights have been your favourites over the years, to either play at or be part of?
I loved going to Wildlife on a Friday at Heaven, this was a React records night, so much fun! Two Play also, and I really enjoyed all my gigs at Pendragon.
Finally, as someone who has travelled the world as a DJ, what is the most rock n roll scenario that you have ended up in over the years?
Well there was the time I was chucked out a hotel with two naked girls which was quite funny, but this is a good one. I had just arrived in Melbourne Australia and had been out drinking etc with my Australian friends after the flight. I was sharing a room in a very posh 5 star hotel with my then girlfriend. We both went to sleep and I awoke later dying for a piss. I walked into the bathroom only in my boxers and closed the door. This was when I found out I was in the Hotel’s corridor and I was locked out. No amount of banging would wake my girlfriend out of her jet lagged sleep. I then heard behind me an angry voice "listen mate I have had it up to here with you”. It was the head karate coach I found out later for the Australian Karate team. Not someone to piss off. So I ran around the hotel looking for something to wear and only found a tiny towel. I got the marble lift down to reception and was greeted by a hundred laughing Japanese tourists who I had to walk through to get a new room key. I told my mate Anthony who with Sacha Barron Cohen writes Borat when I was in LA later that month and he used my story as inspiration for the scene at the end of Borat where they run around naked in a hotel .
It was me!!!!