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Meet Quix, who went from being home schooled to big time beat-making

Wednesday 15th March 2017

For Jono Schnell, growing up was all music.


Trap DJ Quix playing a club in San Diego last month.
Quix playing a club in San Diego last month.

Photo: Quix/Facebook

For Jono Schnell, growing up was all music.

Now better known as trap producer Quix, he was home-schooled for a few years and for him that meant being able to learn to play instruments.

“I had a lot of downtime to play the drums and guitar and stuff, and get my musical background good,” he told RNZ's Music 101.  

And then he discovered electronic music.

“First it was dubstep, which is really intense music. It’s like heavy metal to classical music.”

He went through a phase of experimenting, trying to make dubstep, house, trance. “I just wanted to make stuff. I just wanted to put something down and be able to listen to it back.”

And then, at age 18, Jono found the style he’s built his reputation on. “Something resonated within me. I was like ‘this is actually what I feel like I need to do, this kind of music’.

The song he heard was RL Grime's Flood, which was playing on George FM as he drove back from music practice. Jono says: "It honestly changed my life that evening. It incorporated every music element piece of energy that I loved. That night I searched George FM for the song and had it on repeat!"

He tried to figure out how to capture the energy he heard in other trap tracks, but make it his own, and make the audience feel what he felt.  

Four years on, stats from Soundcloud show he’s connecting. A collaboration with Boombox Cartel is at 1.7 million plays and everything else he released last year has had hundreds of thousands of plays.

His recent remix (with Ian Munro, another New Zealander) of Purple Lamborghini by Skrillex and Rick Ross has been garnering huge responses at American festivals when spun by the likes of trap legend Flosstradamus.

Until recently Jono was working as landscaper in Auckland during the day. He says mid-week gigs could be brutal.

"When they were happening at two in the morning it meant I'd have to travel there, come back home and get a couple of hours sleep before I woke up at 6:30am to go mow someone's lawn.”

He found himself getting notice in the wider world when New York artist Party Thieves heard a Quix tune on Soundcloud, and Schnell ended up signing with his management team.

Now he’s based in Los Angeles, home to a community of globally-known electronic artists. “Everybody’s in LA,” Jono says.

“I was talking to one of my managers over there and [he was saying] I want to get you into the studio with this person, this person, this person. I want to you to start working on tunes. I want to get you vocalists. I want to get you signed up to record deals.”

That was the moment he realised that giving up his day job and giving 100 percent to music was actually happening.

Jono says even when he was working as a landscaper he felt like each day he was closer to his dream of touring the world and being a famous DJ. “Which is funny to tell people, but hey, look at me now."

LISTEN > QUIX interviewed on RNZ's Music 101:


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