Dorion Quest aka Mr Quest biography
Name > Dorion Khan Quest
Stage name > Mr Quest
I started djing in 1989 age 13 on a set of Garard belt driven turntables with no speed control or cross fader, I had to make what is known as slipmatts from pieces of cardboard, these where placed under the record on the turntable platter to give more control when cueing up a tune/record. The mixing process was very basic. I started off by just fading one track into another, no beat matching nothing at all. It was very messy and sounded terrible, I soon progressed into beat matching but I could only achieve this by manually manipulating, speeding up or slowing down the record by touching the platter/record deck with my fingers. I suppose this was an art in its self but I was happy to let it go after getting my hands on a turntable with the all important speed control function, it was very hard to get hold of equipment back in 1990 there were few shops that sold proper dj mixing equipment and you had to make do with what you could get your hands on. This was before the Internet and before mobile phones. Imagine me asking someone now days to go and buy an entire dj set up and they was not aloud to use the Internet, a car or a phone, the only tools available are an fm radio and a BMX.
It turned out I was not the only one in my manor who had this bug; there was an older crew of boys also into this early mixing phenomenon, I soon linked with this crew and we became what was know then as a posse (not a gang), I also had access to an FM radio where I could pick up pirate stations Centre Force 88.3 and Fantasy FM these guys where mixing at what seemed like a professional level. This whole pirate thing really inspired me; the rave thing was in full swing. People where dancing in fields and warehouses all night every weekend, there was secret meeting points that the establishment did not know about, there was specialist record shops all over the country selling music that no one had ever heard before, Rave music and Dance music. I felt as if I was a part of this scene, the feeling was that we owned it, we were all one family, everybody could sense something really special was happening and this music and culture was going to change the world.
So there we were in a small town in Essex all inspired and ready to make our mark, then up popped a local pirate radio Cyndicut FM, we could not believe it, these guys where on the same tip as us playing the same music and into the same culture as us, one dj I remember from Cyndicut FM was a guy called Andy C a local lad from the ends who inspired me and without doubt many in the country and now the world. Anyway me and my pal had been spending all our dinner money in the local record shop Brick House Records for some time and felt we had something to offer Cyndicut FM so we tried our luck at getting on the station, they let us down, they would not let us play, maybe it was because we where only 13 years of age I cant remember why, but what ever it was we did not care we had decided to start our own station.
After getting our hands on a transmitter and set of 1200 Technics professional turntables with a mixer we were ready to go, we set everything up in my bedroom stuck the transmitter aerial out the window and started to transmit, it was all so exciting, I don’t remember much apart from my dad coming in and catching us and saying “do you want me to put the aerial on the roof it might work better” DANCE ZONE FM was born on that night. It turned out my dad was a Raver and regally checked the FM dial for pirates, plus he’s tv had turned green as soon as we switched the rig/transmitter on.
Over the next few weeks my bedroom turned into a fully functioning pirate radio station, we got lots of attention from other local djs and before long we had a full roster Dancezone was on the move, we decided to start moving locations weekly as not to be caught by the authorities (The DTI). Over the next year we transmitted from peoples front rooms, sheds anywhere we could, we had now developed a huge fan base and there were plenty of people willing to help us, but we soon got complacent and set up a permanent studio in my parents loft conversion in a terraced street. This is where we got busted in 1992/1993 luckily I was still classed as a minor and the courts where lenient on me, I have to say Running Dance Zone was an amazing journey and I met some amazing people from all over the south east and for sure this was the foundation of my pirate radio djing and to come mcing/producing career.
Ok, busted by the DTI they had confiscated my decks, my records everything I remember staying in bed for 3 days just wanting to play music and create good vibes. It’s a bit hazy but around this period was the start of my producing bug, all I had was a cassette deck/Tape deck, the is still BC (Before Computers), I started to dismantle my TDK SA90’s and selotaped a looping type set up in the mechanics of the cassette. By doing this I could record break beats and with some care and attention I could create my own breaks, like the sounds I was hearing on the now transmitting Weekend Rush and Defection fm. I spent many hours doing this perfecting different techniques and creating very basic tracks.
Again I was not the only one, after the DTI had come down hard on Dancezone FM and Cyndicut FM both transmitting a stone throw from each other, There were a lot of hungry jocks around with nothing to do. We soon got our hands on samplers preferably an Akia sampler and started making beats. There was some big tunes coming out the ends from many different guys all in a 5 mile radius of each other we weren’t really communicating with each other due to the radio station wars that had gone down, but that’s a whole different story. There had been many attempts to get Cyndicut back on air as well as Dancezone, plus pirate stations where appearing everywhere the fm dial was becoming riddled with them. I was doing the circuit djiing on as many stations, clubs and raves as possible. I was getting sent all my vinyl direct from the most popular record labels and was 16/17 having the time of my life, I have to give the Boogie Times Tribe a mention here, Big salute Danny Donnelly, Winston, Danny Breaks and I cant forget Special A
Right Im making beats and keeping the faith, its about 1996 and the whole jungle thing had really kicked in, I was chuffed I had championed Jungle music for years, I teamed up with some home boys and started mcing, this is something I had always done since being very young, its not something I had a hunger for its just there were not many mc about back in the day and I suppose I just liked the sound of my own voice. When ever anybody needed an MC I got passed the mic, plus I had grown up watching reggae toasters standing on crates doing there thing at festivals in the eighties when the whole reggae sound system thing was happening, that had a big impacted on me plus my parents used to take me to the early Notting hill carnival’s so the reggae seed had been planted at a very young age. This was my style of MCing Jamaican patwa, well as much as it would be, remember I’m a white boy from Essex.
Ok 1996 I am a so called MC on a station called Pressure fm broadcasting from Bow in east London, by this time in my life I had put my small town mentality to bed and had experience many different areas and dramas oops I mean people. This was an exciting time on pressure fm it all went really well, I launched my 1st record label Solid Vinyl and was visiting the hub of the jungle music scene weekly. MUSIC HOUSE a dubplate cutting facility located down Holloway road London, exciting times and I feel more than blessed to of even been there, Bigup those that know (Im a Jungliz)
Well as before we inevitably got busted and again I retreated into making beats but this time I was established it was about 1997/1998 everybody wanted to be a dj or mc, you could even by a set of decks from Argos. Things had certainly moved on from the days of old when a set of decks was a rare thing. I was no longer a Raver, I was a Jungliz, I was producing full time for myself and a distribution company called Fuse Distribution aka Jump Start distribution, I had all kinds of faces recording at my studio, I had links in Jamaica, the Bronx New York, Canada, Miami etc ya get the picture. Don’t get me wrong I was broke we all was but some how I had gone all multi national. Quest Foundation was born.
Quest foundation was a collective of music people, there was singjays, singers, djs, producers, mc’s and lots more my music had turned into a full on troop of artists, I no longer classed myself as a dj or mc. I was running a sound and now playing my own riddim tracks with featured artists performing live, little did I know it at the time but this was how things where going to be from now on.
Between 1998 and 2002 I was involved in a vast array of projects spanning across many types of genre, I had launched Quest recordings, Unstable Label and released many white labels, I also re branded my original record label Solid Vinyl through Prime Distribution run by Killer Man Archer the legend from the Genocide II track Narra Mine, (bigup Kool London who really liked there logo, out to those that know). Some how I also linked with a childhood hero of mine DJ Rap, she released a couple of my tunes. This was the only time I released a piece of my music to another label so I consider it a fairly special cut, in fact there was some pretty rare bits of my vinyl floating around at this point of my career, most of which I don’t own. Regarding dj Raps release, Out to DJ SS who had a big hit after sampling a hug chunk of the bassline riff, he owes me a drink.
Ok 2003 things where getting hard out there, most of the veteran record distributers and shops had gone under, I needed a new distributer so I was on the look out for someone to help me get my music out there, Nu Urban Music Distribution appeared, it was set up by a collective of very influential people from the scene, trust me I was knocking at there door the 1st chance I got, these guys had a huge rep for distributing music and I had to be part of what they where doing. I signed Solid Vinyl to them in 2003 and re branded my baby for the 3rd time, I was about to do something no one had done before, I had a master plan. My label SOLID VINYL was about to evolve into some thing special.
To be continued