The city has been hearing rumblings of Quintana Mills for quite sometime. Quintana began making his mark sonically through his production, and most notably while engineering for the likes of Why-G, NorthSideBenjii, J Neat and the late Houdini. To add to his work behind the scenes, the 19-year old received a mixing and writing placement with London Artist Nines on his album “Crabs In The Bucket” which was found trending on the billboards.
His work away from the mic helped create this mysterious aura about the North Vancouver native. Now, after appearances on Teshale’s “Exordium” with the stellar track “Do Better,” and Chaos Club artist MaxZ’s first release “Addicts,” Quintana is ready to bring listeners his experiences alongside a smooth blend of melodies inspired by soulful R&B and Trap.
“Someone Else” is his first single off of the unreleased project, Due West, and we were fortunate enough to sit down with Q beforehand.
Were you always going to be a singer/songwriter? Or was producing and engineers only in the plan?
Quintana: I’ve been an artist first the whole time. But you’re not going to be able to build connections if you can’t bring anything to the table. Unless you have a fan base or some buzz.
If you can offer some value to someone else, like yo, “I’d like to engineer you”, “I’d love to help you with this, that and that”, “I’d love to meet you.” It’s easier to make those connections.
Where does that come from? At this stage, isn’t it hard to lend a hand when you’re trying to make it on your own? Is it your love for music?
Quintana: Yeah, yeah. See, everyone right now wants to be an artist. Everyone wants the spotlight. See, I never needed anything like that. What we’re doing right now, we just wanna’ show what we’re making as a collective.
That makes sense, cause you love your own music. You’re confident with it and it turns me, even at this stage of your career, into a believer.
Quintana: I appreciate that.
One thing that always stands out about your music, especially with “Someone Else” and what’s unreleased, is your writing. Have you always been writing?
Quintana: I been writing but it’s changed over the last two years. Things are clicking now. You practice and you practice and you end up finding your pockets. You realize that context matters. I just say what I know.
Is it pen to paper? Do you need the beat first?
Quintana: Nah, I’m freestyling all of it. But I’m not guessing.
How do you stay humble after getting a placement on a song that’s doing very well? Did you let that get to your head?
Quintana: Nah, that’s just a blessing. That’s my first major placement and seeing it hit the billboard, I was happy. I even called my mom that night.
That for me was one of those small trophy’s. It’s important for anyone doing this but the thing is, you can’t get gassed about it. There are too many highs and lows, don’t ever get it twisted. We’ll talk about it more when I’m on the billboard.
Talk about this new single, “Someone Else.” How was it made? How many times did you re-record it? What was the process like?
Quintana: Internet had been out in the dot for 8 months. I hadn’t seen him in a minute and out of nowhere he showed up in Vancouver for his birthday. He didn’t even tell anyone.
For me, after not making music with him for a year that’s all it took. That energy. He’s here, I gotta’ make a banger. He punched me in and that was it. I don’t even think I revisited the record and it was a blessing cause he’s an engineer as well.
Nothing too crazy. I mean the subject matter, the pen on that, that’s a different story.