We caught up with long time C-U legend John Graham aka Quivver earlier for a chat about his gig with Sasha at The Barbican plus we’re proud to exclusively premiere his new collaboration with Funk D’Void.
There were tonnes of videos online of you singing live at Sasha’s gig at The Barbican over the weekend. Just how nerve wracking an experience was it?
Quivver: it was a mixture of terror, excitement and joy 🙂 The reaction from the crowd was phenomenal. I was only on stage for 5 minutes so never really had time to settle in. I came off buzzing but also felt a little bit gutted because it was over. It gave everyone a huge natural high. Big adrenaline rush. Sasha was absolutely beaming when he came off stage.
How long had you been practising for it?
Quivver: Sasha and the team had the difficult job of picking out the tracks and work out how they were going to perform them live, so they’d been practising for months. I had it quite easy in comparison because I only had to practise my vocals. I did some rehearsals with the guys in London a few weeks before the gig. We did the final rehersal at SW19 – which was an intimate gathering for friends and family and the people in the industry. There were about 30 or 40 guests. It was almost as scary as performing at The Barbican because you knew everyone! They were only 5ft away 🙂
How did you first meet Sasha?
Quivver: I first met Sasha at Miss Moneypenny in Birmingham which was a popular club at the time. We’d heard he’d been supporting Saxy Lady so AM:PM’s (big record label back in the day) A&R guy asked me and Neil (who was the other half of Quivver back then) if we wanted to go and meet him. We were really big Sasha fans so it was a really big deal for us. Neil went and said hello to Sasha who did a little Sax impression when he sussed out who were were. It was really funny 🙂
He was always a big supporter of our remixes which us made us really proud. When we got signed to Perfecto we’d go out with their A&R guy Spencer a lot, so we ended up crossing paths a few times in the clubs.
Tell us how you got involved with Sasha’s Scene Delete project
Quivver: Sasha started working with a good mate of mine Dave Gardner a few years ago (who’s recently formed Sentre with Dennis White). Dave sent me 6 or 7 instrumental demos that they were looking to get vocals on. I wrote a vocal for one of the tracks and sent it to them. Dave later came back to me and said somebody had already claimed the track – which was a bit gutting. In the end, they ended up liking the vocal so much, they made a new track especially for it – which was really humbling 🙂
So your Skanna remix came out on Beatport this week? How come you went down that route?
Quivver: It was Sasha’s idea really. Skanna was my former drum and bass alias and he thought the track would lend itself perfectly to that style. I got a message from Two Bad Mice with some really positive feedback about it the other day about it, which are names from the past I really respect. They told me old me there’s a whole new generation of people who are rediscovering the classics, so it’s given me some motivation to revisit my Skanna alias again. I’m hoping to get an EP finished before the end of the year.
I was asked to do a Skanna gig in Shrewsbury last July (2016) and was surprised how many people were in to it. There seems to be a really healthy drum and bass scene at at the moment.
So we hear you moved back to the UK from LA recently
Quivver: Yep and it’s probably helped me have the most productive year in my career for a long time. I’ve done about 8 remixes 🙂 I found out that Tango lives about 10 minutes up the road from me, so I think we’re gonna do a Tango and Skanna collaboration. It’s also made it a lot easier for gigging in Europe too – as it’s a long flight to get anywhere from the West Coast.
So you’ve just done the collaboration with Funk D’Void which came out sounding really progressive. Who approached who to do that?
Quivver: Joe my manager came up with the suggestion and hooked us both up. I sent Lars (Funk D’Void) some beats and he sent some synth stuff back to me. We went back and forth a few times. To be fair lars is known more for techno but he did have a more melodic, progressive influence on this track and i’m really happy with the way it turned out. 🙂
We noticed a lot of techno labels are releasing progressive these days. Nick Warren summed up the current situation perfectly in his interview for us. We’ve been publishing a weekly #essentialprogressive guide that rounds up best future progressive releases on techno, tech house and deep house labels, as we believe they’re likely to be missed by the hardcore progressive followers.
Quivver: I think that’s a good idea actually because you find a lot of labels like Terminal M and Kling Klong are putting out stuff that sounds like prog. It’s all starting to sound very similar now.
Hopefully the snobbery with progressive might start to go away.
The music media and Beatport had almost destroyed the scene. Props to Hernan Cattaneo and Guy J sticking to their roots and platforms like you for riding the wave of the criticism. It’s nice to see the scene getting a bit more recognition these days.
You release a lot on Selador and it seems to have become a bit of a home for you.
Quivver: I’ve known Steve and Dave for years. I used play at Alderaan which was Steve’s night back in the day. When Dave told me he was starting Selador I was really happy to get involved. The relationship is great and it’s good to be part of the Selador family.
What else do you have coming up?
Quivver: I want to start making this Skanna EP plus do another EP of songs, as I enjoy writing them and it’s good to do something different. I also need to get another Quivver EP done too.
The next release is one of the remixes for Edu Imbernon’s label is Strangest Ride on the 29th June Then there will be a remix for Stelios Vassiloudis out on Selador soon. Plus there’s something for Raphael Certao out July 17th. I’ve also done a remix for Pro B-Tech Noir which is in the next couple of months too. There’s also a remix coming out for Stripped Digital in July.
Gig wise, I’m playing Ukraine and Budapest, then a weekend soon in the states Orlando and Seatle. Then Scotland. There’s also two dates booked in for Argentina at the moment during the 2nd and 3rd week of July. Plus there’s also two dates booked in for Ibiza with Dave Seaman and Selador.
Sounds like busy times. Thanks for chatting to us John.