Welcome to Dreamland: Ottawa producer Quest discusses sixth instalment of compilation series
Last summer, I was given the opportunity to host and perform at Ottawa’s annual hip-hop festival House Of PainT. My goal was to network as much as possible and stick around for the entire show rather than escaping to the solace of my hotel room which is always quite tempting for introverts such as myself. One of the performances that really caught my attention was a group of artists consisting of Hevve, Quest, ChRIS KEEZ, and NC.
Unlike the majority of artists who were either old school boom bap or new school trap, these guys had the best of both put together. We ended up chopping it up alongside the Rideau River after their set and made plans for future collaborations. Now keep in mind, conversations like this happen between artists at events all the time and usually nothing comes to fruition. But due to Quest’s dogged determination the Quaranteam was formed and the music has been flowing.
That’s the thing about Quest, he doesn’t stop. Consistency is an understatement, he is literally the glue that keeps artists together and working. Quest started his career as a music producer in 2001 learning from his mentor, Da Heala who has gone on to produce tracks for The Weeknd. He built a reputation for being the “go-to” guy for music production in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. He collaborated with Ottawa hip-hop artist Hevve and together produced the collective work album, V. They later showcased at RBC Bluesfest and signed with a label which garnered them significant recognition.
But what really separates Quest from other music producers is his Dreamland Sessions. The project unites artists from the National Capital Region and gives them a platform to shine. It’s a selfless project that connects artists through collaboration and firmly places Quest in the builders category of hip-hop culture.
Quest has just released his sixth Welcome To Dreamland album with producer BurbnOnTheBeat which is available now on all streaming platforms.
I sat down with Quest to learn more about Dreamland, what inspired the project and how it all came together.
HipHopCanada: How did Dreamland start?
Quest: I started producing albums full time in 2009, in Gatineau, and back then my crew/studio was called DFP. And it consisted of 90% french rappers. After 10 years of DFP, in 2019, I had a desire to re-brand myself and focus on English hip-hop as my main goal. With this desire, came the idea of re-branding the name of my studio. Since DFP stood for Délit de Fuite Production (Hit & Run Production), I opted for an English name this time around. At that time, Hevve was working on his next album, on that project was a song called “One Night in Dreamland.” And I asked Hevve, this Dreamland nickname you have for Ottawa, I love that a lot.
He explained to me that he always saw Ottawa as the land where Dreams never fulfilled until you move to Mtl or the Dot. And that’s the exact moment when the new studio, label, and crew became called DREAMLAND. On this day, Dreamland official family members consist of: Quest, BurBn, Hevve, Dip Black, Mischa, Timal Garnier, SoulfulPoet ChRIS KEEZ, Dominique Gorley, Kar33m, Arfie, and Mass. Fun fact, D.L. is my initials.
HipHopCanada: Explain to us what Dreamland is?
Q: Since the beginning, I have always named my studio. So basically Dreamland is the name of my studio, and also my production company. This company offers music production, photography, and videography services. Dreamland also refers to my crew and close-knit family of artists. I like to refer to them as my Dreamers. Dreamland is also a movement and a way of thinking that includes anyone that I respect and share values with. Yourself, Fortunato, is part of my Dreamland movement and extended family.
HipHopCanada: What inspired you to start the Dreamland Sessions?
Q: In anything I do, there is always a little nod to the past and some sort of tribute. My name Quest is a tribute to A Tribe Called Quest (the first rap group I fell in love with). The idea of the concept of the Dreamland Sessions came from the Much Music Rap City show that aired when I grew up in my teen years. I remember that show had often a guest and at the end of the show, that guest would perform a freestyle in the booth. I’ve always loved it and when I had the opportunity to do it myself, I jumped on it and called it the Dreamland Sessions.
One day in July 2019, I was in the studio with Dip Black working on his album. The session went great and we still had time to spare, so I proposed to Dip the idea of the Dreamland Sessions. He loved it!! And Dip is excellent on the spot writer. So I started crafting a beat and he started writing on his side. 16 bars is all you need, I said to Dip. So in about 35 minutes, the beat was done, the lyrics were written, recorded and the performance filmed. Then I released it 2 days after on my YouTube Channel (Quest Dreamland) and immediately the movement gain traction especially in Ottawa, and on this day I have done 65 of them, with the same on the spot concept, and I plan on doing at least 1K of them. My main goal is to get Method Man to do one.
P.S. Fortunato, you’re gonna have to drop one ASAP. But for real, I am super humbled by the reception so far, I get talked about it daily, I guess Ottawa was ready for a concept like this. A concept that the main goal is to showcase the talents I have around me. I might even drop one myself (Laughs).
HipHopCanada: Let’s talk about your videos. Everyone knows you as a music producer but you’re a very talented video producer as well. How did you get started?
Q: First of all, thank you! it was all an accident (Laughs). It started, when my photography mentor Chali, left me his camera at the time for a weekend to play with and get familiar with it. I started playing around and taking photos for the artists that came into the studio during that time. Then posted those pictures on Instagram, and got mad positive feedback on the composition of the photos. Then I purchased that same camera for my own use. Because I loved photography so much, I started doing it full time. Then started buying new lenses. And then one day, I noticed that camera filmed as well. Started exploring those filming options and saw that it was actually decent quality. Add to the matter that video production services are not cheap, plus my curiosity nature equals me doing my artist’s videos now (Laughs). And since then, I updated my camera, got a few more lenses, a stabilizer and now I actually shoot at least one video a week. Did I believe I would do that seriously one day, nope, but I do believe life plans and lays down opportunities for us in an organic way and I jumped on that opportunity? its with that same camera that I film the Dreamland Sessions, and that video for the song “Poppin” which you are featured in.
HipHopCanada: What is your vision for the future of Dreamland?
Q: My vision is to always keep working with artists that I love and respect. Maybe stretch out my reach to Europe, Asia and the World more! Continue to invest in me, to better my company, go get grants, and bigger financial opportunities. And always make sure that Dreamland and whoever is associated with inspires the youth and leaves a marking positive legacy. Cause no matter what, my goal has always been positivity and to inspire.
HipHopCanada: Tell us about your upcoming projects and what we can look forward to?
Q: My own rap album maybe? (Laughs) On a serious note, I do wanna have the opportunity to produce a Folk music album one of these days. Dynamic aka Ya Favorite Lightskin and I plan on doing a follow up to our 2018 album (On A Quest). I also plan on producing more music for soundtracks, movies, tv-series, video games. This is a field I have always been super interested in. I am also continuously working on my compilation albums that are called Welcome To Dreamland. This compilation is divided into Chapters, and in chapter 6 now and I would start having bigger Canadian names added to the next chapters. Like for example, Classified, Choclair, Kardinal to name a few. Expect also to start hearing a Dreamland podcast, this is in the works. And expect me to start directing and filming short movies, to which I will compose the soundtrack. That’s It my Dreamers, I would keep on saying my ideas and projects but I wanna keep some for later. Cheers and big shout out to HipHopCanada for always holding it down for Canadian talents.
Written by Fortunato for HipHopCanada
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