JM#123 – Alexander deQwest

The last time Alexander deQwest for the Jæger mix, he had just stepped out of retirement and Ivaylo’s mix series had been his first gig since calling time on an extensive career that at height of it saw him play 200 gigs a year. After the significant hiatus he finally came back to the booth last year, and the Jæger mix left him emboldened, saying at the time: “it feels like something has awakened in me again.”

Deqwest returns to the Jæger mix with a delectable mix of deep, throbbing House tracks that favour an upbeat tempo and a soulful disposition. Rhodes keys running the gamut across the manual while sparkling syncopated beats, splash and frolic in the upper frequencies instill an efficacious early Sunday evening party atmosphere.

The Oslo DJ turns  it up a few degrees on this mix and organic elements find a happy balance with the electronic nature underpinning the tracks in a mix that works on many levels. There’s some human dimension to each track, with vocals, a funky bass or a string section delivering something familiar to the ear while a beat continues to motivate the body. Deqwest blends House formations with flavours from Exotica, Disco, Funk, Jazz and Soul in a completely diverse mix that channels directly towards the dance floor.

Thanks to the determined persuasion of Jæger mix resident, Ivaylo Alexander deQWest makes his second appearance on the Jæger mix. There were some questions that arose from Alexander deQwest’s last visit through the succeeding Q&A, burning questions about his extensive career and his ensuing enthusiasm for the scene, that we get to ask now.

Welcome back to the Jæger Mix. What have been some of your musical highlights since the last time you played?

It must be to experience all the great artist in the indy scene in Oslo. I’ve photographed an emerging artist every week these last months. So many beautiful and talented souls coming out now. To me, music is energies and colors of our time. Like a testament of our contemporary state. I truly love to capture this in so many ways. The true pleasure of a dj is diving into this huge universe and being a sound curator of our time.

How does this mix differ from the last session?

This one is really freestyle, basic and straightforward. I like diversity, flavours and mix of genres, that’s really me. I feel this one shows more of how I play at clubs also.

It took some convincing to get you behind the decks again last time, but this time there wasn’t a lot of persuasion on Ivaylo’s part required. Are you back for good now as a DJ and what’s exciting you in terms of the scene at the moment?

I’m back in Oslo full time now, but I will not go back to working full time as a DJ. I might say yes to a monthly or weekly thing if a good match comes along. I just quit my job as Head of Digital this summer and opened my own photo studio here in Oslo 3 months ago; this has been a dream of mine for years now. For now I will focus on building up my photography business, so the DJ gigs will be limited. I’ve even hooked up my mixer and turntables in my photo studio where I spend most of my hours these days. Regarding the scene, I will now have plenty of time to rediscover it after being “away” for over 4 years.

When you stepped away from the scene in 2014 at the height of your game, what was the reason behind your choice?

The reasons were mixed. I did 3-5 gigs a week, and still didn’t earn enough to have a grown-up life after expenses. I also felt “lost in between”, mainly too underground for the mainstream and too expensive and diverse for the underground. I was lucky enough to get some international gigs, but when your not a well known producer the fees are often too low to live of off.

25 years is a lifetime’s dedication to something and it must have been a huge decision to just give it up like that. I assume it wasn’t a sudden decision?

I was just so tired of hype, self promotion and BS in the industry – and I also needed a better lifestyle. After basically growing up in this business I saw to many things repeat itself, I also needed a change and some new challenges. I also got in a relationship and moved out out town and got myself a better paid job which I really needed at the time. I ended up setting up a studio in my house and doin’ the music for myself and not going out.

What was the thing that missed most about it throughout it all?

The true flow state that I generated in the booth and the connection with pure music lovers on the floor.

Yup, I’m awake and am hoping for a match to be found at some point. I really feel at home behind the decks. You know, to me DJing is like an old friend that been in my life since I was 13, years can go by, but when you meet up again, it’s like it was yesterday. I will just be really picky and exclusive on how and where I share my energies and dedication in the future.

Thank you for laying down some tracks for us again, Alexander. What’s laying on the horizon for deQwest that will tide us over until the next time?

Thank you! The pleasure was truly mine. It’s always a pleasure spinning in clubs made by true music lovers. Keep up the good work guys.

PS. There is nothing on the public horizon, I’ll keep it low-key, close and off social for now, but you might find me behind the decks somewhere soon ;D