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Get to know the artist known as Qwamii

 "Don’t wait for opportunities. Look for them."

QWM Photo 02

Editor's Note: I stumbled upon Naqiuddin Ihsan's music seven years ago, and I have been following his music ever since. We have not yet met in person, but having been a fan of his music for so long, I feel like I have known him for years. That's the power of music.

Read on, dear readers, and get to know the artist known as Qwamii.

What is your stage name, and what do you do?

My stage name is Qwamii. I just got back from South Korea doing an internship for six months at the KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology). Now I am back in Brunei to continue my final year in Universiti Teknologi Brunei, majoring in BSc (Hons) in Digital Media.

Other than that, I am also a multimedia freelancer.

Describe yourself in a few words.

I grew up in the Belait district, enjoy cafe-hopping, and love the Ayam Goreng Kremes Telor Asin dish from the Bali Pitstop. I am an outgoing socially-conservative introvert. (Not sure if that makes sense, but that is what I am. Haha). I may not initially come across as friendly but once we get to know each other, things will change!

When did you start making music?

I started producing in 2008. My first few tracks were based on Happy Hardcore and Hard Dance genres. Home-based-studio producers (just like bedroom singers) such as EnV and B0UNC3 from newgrounds.com were the first ones to inspire me to produce music.
 
Which artists influence your music?

My first few influences were Hardstyle producers which were Blutonium Boy, Showtek and the Dark Oscillators. Then from 2009, I shifted to Tech Dance and Tech Trance because I wanted to produce tracks heavily influenced by Kidd Kaos (a.k.a. Kris Ryeland), an award winning 20-year-old Hard Trance / Tech Dance producer.

Later, I moved towards Electro House, Progressive House, Progressive Trance and Uplifting Trance, following the footsteps of Simon Patterson, Dash Berlin, Armin van Buuren and all other legendary Trance producers.

Now, I produce more towards Future Bass and mainstream EDM. My current influences are The Chainsmokers, sumthin sumthin and Lauv.

QWM Photo 03

What was the first music album you ever bought?

My first album was Linkin’ Park’s Collision Course (2004). I did not know anything about techno, trance or any electronic music back then. My first genres I was exposed to were like Rock, Hip Hop, Rap and R&B.

What do you use to produce your music?

I use a 15” MacBook Pro Retina running Windows on dual boot. I make my music using a Digital Audio Workstation that is currently supported only on Windows. Why a MacBook? This is because I move around a lot when I make music. Most of my time is spent in cafes. (Sometimes people address me as “The Cafe Music Producer”.)
 
Describe the music scene in Brunei.

Live band performances are popular in Brunei. On the other hand, EDM is also on the rise. Music producers can go to two ends: Public or private (ghost producer) or even both. Nowadays, I can say the multimedia industry is also growing, creating more opportunities and allowing music-related talents to embed their products & services in.

Share a few highlights from your journey so far.

My highlights include winning the Beyond Compulsion Remix Competition by Clayfac3r in 2010, participating in the Signal Remix Competition by Cymatics, and having my tracks played at a few local events such as TEDxYouth(at)Gadong and YES Letop.

The biggest highlight so far? Being featured on Kristal FM. A special thank you to Kueymo and Sushiboy and Kristal FM for dedicating an hour to my tracks! Be sure to check them out as they keep uncovering more local music producers!

Word-of-Mouth marketing is crucial, especially in a small place like Brunei. Have you had the experience of any of your songs going 'viral' in Brunei or beyond?

One of my tracks Adai Adai went viral in Brunei. It was just a random thing I did. I recorded it using my iPhone and then I posted in on Facebook. It exploded to 7,000 views! I really did not expect that it would get so much support. With that, it motivated me to make a full version of the song.

Another track that went viral internationally is my remix of Avicii’s Levels which now has reached over 71,000 listens on both SoundCloud and YouTube. I am still surprised that the number of listens continues to rise to this day!

Sometimes the hit songs are the ones you least expect.

Which social platforms do you utilise to share your music, and why?
    
Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and SoundCloud. This depends on which platform my listeners are most comfortable with. I want to get my music to my listeners as conveniently as possible.

What are key lessons you have learnt from your journey as a musician?

One, never give up. You don’t fail until you stop trying.

Two, networking is the utmost importance. You never know what new opportunities you open yourself to when you make new connections.

Three, don’t wait for opportunities. Look for them. This was my biggest mistake before.

Complete this sentence "In three years time, I...."

...will keep continuing to and push my music career and penetrate the international market more.

everyone

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