Today we are speaking with Rich Allan aka “Pawn Shop” and formerly “Quad Control”. He has been involved with DNB and other EDM projects in MN & GA. We are going to pick his brain on his name change, production, promotion and his move to ATL.
Q: You are originally from Minnesota. What sort of DNB projects did you work on out there? When and why did you move to Atlanta?
A: I really didn't dabble much in the actual production aspect of Drum n Bass back then. When I did, I thought my music sucked, so I never finished any projects. In terms of projects for promotion, I mainly worked on a couple of weeklies (they were at the time). An old buddy of mine and I ran a night called 9th Circle, which was in a cool little basement setup in North Minneapolis. It featured multiple genres of music, but our main focus was Drum n Bass. I used to always try to collaborate with some of the bigger promoters so that we could feature DNB in the bigger clubs as well. Back then it was tough to ether afford the ability to throw a jungle show at a bigger establishment, or just impossible to sell the idea to them to begin with, but when we would have the support from the more "mainstream" promoters working alongside of us, it allowed us to have bigger shows from time to time. Just before leaving and coming here, I was apart of starting Konkrete Jungle Minneapolis with my homies Brace MC, and Easyrider (Paul), which they ran for years after I was gone. Outside of that I was more in to just digging, and getting my hands on promo's before anyone would, and of course the dubplates that NO ONE had around our area.(real actual acetate cuts of the tunes, not just some mp3)
I moved to Atlanta around spring of 2007, primarily to be closer to family.
Q: I know you have been involved in the promotion and production of many shows here in Atlanta. Of course the most notable was your ATL BASS WARS project. Tell us about the project, how it began, and why it came to an end. Are you planning to jump back in the promotion game?
A: Bass Wars was originally started because I have always been in to massive sound, regardless of the size of the venue. When I first moved here, I was really displeased with the lack of emphasis on sound in most of the clubs I would frequent. One night, when I lived in East Atlanta, I ran in to a friend of mine (Todd) and we randomly started talking about how it would be cool to just start a small night, at a small venue, and to bring in a big sound system. He so happened to have just become GM at a venue called Blue Frog, so eventually we talked a bit more and decided to give it a shot. Over the course of a few years it blew up, and the sound became louder as time went on, to the point that it would rattle bottles off of the wall, and get at least a few complaints from the surrounding neighborhood. It was great. Needless to say, as time progressed, so did the crowds, so I began dabbling with the idea of moving to a bigger venue.
Eventually an opportunity arose with being able to move to Quad in early 2012, which exploded in terms of crowds, and the talent we could eventually afford to host. A lot of the success can be attributed simply to good timing. I was able to be at the right place at the right time, as some would say "a perfect storm". Combining the increased popularity of Bass Wars, and the young, hungry, excited young promoters associated with Quad really allowed us to grow to a size I never expected in such a short period of time.
To make a long story short, a few hasty decisions, primarily derived from overconfidence lead to the demise, and the loss of motivation to continue on. In early 2013 during the time of attempting to find a new home for the event I was hit by a car, with two other friends of mine and it lead me down a path that I am still battling to this day. Physical issues that I have been working on climbing out of for almost 3 years, which of course leads to battling depression. Since the accident, I inherited a massive amount of social anxiety, which can be crippling. Coming out this December to play at Torch will be a big accomplishment for me.
I am steadily working my way out of the vortex of life's complications, but as many know, it takes time.
I've thought about possibly dabbling in a small DNB show here and there, but outside of that, I've set my sites on strictly DNB.
Q: I’ve always know you as “Quad Control” for your DJ sets and production. Why did you change to “Pawn Shop”?
A: Going back on the last statements, with battling physical and emotion pain from my accident, I felt that one aspect of beginning to move on was to become "reborn" as a producer, and a DJ. Although I had releases as Quad Control, I wasn't very well known outside of where I was from, and here in Atlanta.
I come from a time where DJ/Production names are given to you from close friends, either from their own idea, and or from conversation. Since knowing I wanted a new start, one evening during a conversation with my friend Armanni, we came up with Pawn Shop.
A Pawn Shop is where you go when you're broke, and need help, along with a place you can go to buy just about everything. From old music, to jackets, you can buy anything, at a good rate! Because Pawn Shops are so diverse, I felt the name suited my diversity when it comes to music, so I took the name.
Q: What sort of DNB do you like to spin? How about to produce?
A: I spin everything, as long as it kind of makes sense. My true love will never go away from Jump up. Nothing like long drawn out bass lines that make you look like you are 50 pieces of sour candy at once. Also, since I have such an appreciation for the MC culture within Drum n Bass, that style goes hand in hand with it.
Q: What equipment do you like to DJ on? What sort of gear / DAW are you using for producing?
A: I like to DJ on any setup, although for the last 6-7 years I've used CDJ's with Serato.
As far as production goes, I use Ableton, and have been for about 6-7 years. Before that I was on Reason. I like to keep it simple, with a little Oxy8 keyboard as far as gear. One day when I win the lottery I want to pick up a Virus.
Q: What are your thoughts on our Torch night?
A: I've always been a supporter of Torch. It's all family to me. If I hadn't been dealt with the issues mentioned before I would have been out more often, or at all for that matter. Anything that pushes the music that is closest to my heart is a winner to me, and that means you're WINNERS!
Q: I noticed that you are on a bit of a fitness kick. Any tips to share?
A: Yes, I have been. It started about a year ago. Kind of goes with my whole battling physical pain, and issues. I literally got sick of being in pain, and sick of being as fat as I was. I told myself, and my Doctor that I wanted to do what I could to come close to losing 100 pounds. It's a daily struggle, but I'm to the point where I am training to one day run a 10k. With all of that the physical pain still remains, but it sure helps with my mental well being.
Let's see... Tips. As cliché as this sounds, it's absolutely 100% true. You literally have to just get up, and not lollygag, and pussyfoot around and start walking every day, when you have time. Gradually work your way up from 1/2 a mile, to a mile and so on, until you can walk as far as you want without even thinking about it. Once that gets too easy, move in to jogging, and proceed with the same situation. Top that with counting your calories as much as you can, and it will lead to at least losing weight.
Q: When you are not in the studio or spending time with your family, what sort of hobbies do you have?
A: I like playing video games if I'm not working on music, or messing up my house with my son Donovan. My other hobby is of course walking/running. Can't really afford too many hobbies like sky diving at the moment, or racing cars like I used to. lul
Q: Tell us about your new mix and where we can check you out online / social media?
A: My new mix features 9 of my own tracks, and a few from some buddies of mine. Otherwise it also includes all of my favorite, newer dance floor bangers. I knew I had to at least show people what I play, and it isn't really much different from what I used to spin. Either which way, the biggest thing about the mix is, although I still play a lot of the same style I used to be known for, it includes a lot of my own original work, which in the past, never did. I am working very hard at becoming a better producer. Something I always put on the backburner when I was promoting, which I regret. Now that I am not promoting, it has allowed me to do what I should have from the get go, which is to grind in the studio, and to steadily become a better producer.
Anywho, you can hear my new mix called "Rise From the Ashes" on my sound cloud page
Mix Link: https://soundcloud.com/thepawnshop/pawn-shop-rise-from-the-ashes-mix
You can like me on the facebooks here: https://www.facebook.com/basspawnshop