MikeQ [Fade To Mind|Qween Beat|Mad Decent], is an American artist and one of the leading figures of the US’s long-running (but still largely underground) Ballroom/Vogue-House culture. Based in New Jersey, the 28 year old producer is not only one of the busiest DJs, but he also heads up his own “Qween Beat” label and turns out a steady stream of Vogue and Ballroom tracks, re-edits, and remixes. His spine-snapping DJ sets are seriously in demand at the moment, not just at the well-established Vogue nights of his native culture and up and down the USA’s East Coast, but beyond (London, Paris, Tokyo, etc), and his exploits have been earning column inches and full spreads in press such as Vanity Fair, XLR8R, Urban Socialites, Paper Mag, Fact, The Fader, ID Mag, Time Out London, The NY Times, and more.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. My name is MikeQ. I am a DJ/producer out of New Jersey and New York. I play many genres but my main squeeze is Ballroom/Vogue House/House, which I produce myself and also have a record label soon to release this genre of music.
How has living in East Orange affected your music? Where I live at In East Orange, NJ, has been the formula for what I do—being exposed greatly to House music, Jersey Club and later Ballroom.
How long have you lived in East Orange and what brought you there? I have lived here for 25+ years, and I moved here from a close city with my family years ago.
What kinds of things are influencing your music right now? Dancing, parties, other music, the Art of Vogue, and just clubbing in general.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Well, the main thing I am working on right now is debuting my label, Qween Beat, soon, releasing a compilation, followed by EPs. So that is what is on my noggin and another Solo EP soon + remixes, scoring a film and just so much more.
How did your interest in music begin? I can say I have always loved music, maybe more around the time when I was in middle school and just started hearing Baltimore and Brick City Club. Once I started smoking weed around high school, I started loving more styles of music and I can remember being able to hear more instruments and that just increased over time. I even had a cassette tape radio show, where I would have an intro and record my voice, play songs and do fake celebrity interviews…too funny.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after hearing your music? Well, being that my music is super connected to a culture (Ballroom), it really helps or what would help more is to have dancers along with me, so that you not only hear the music but also, understand it more by also seeing the dance. Having an MC is another plus because by then you’ve completed the Ballroom Trinity as I call it, as we all (DJ, Dancers, MC) connect with each other in our setting, so if the person could be able to take that as a whole it would very understanding.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? I don’t have just one, I could easily say Australia, LA, Florence, Berlin and so much more. So many places just take me to different states of mind, which I love equally.
Most embarrassing moment on stage? I don’t think I have had one. But if it had to be, probably when the music shuts off during my set? Or me fucking up probably to the point where nobody noticed, but that’s like whatever to me.
What were you like in high school? Quiet, geeky, probably unnoticeable. And I bet fierce looking because I didn’t care about the way I looked until I got out that bitch.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your music? Best reactions? People dancing in general, people showing me mad love and support and compliments after my set. Any kind of praise is so good to me, and it’s even reached the likes of more famous DJs and artists, so just respect in general is what I love. I have seen critical comments before but that stuff is so low to me, where I can’t even remember what it was but if anything, I am my biggest critic.