Hot off of her Red Rocks debut and a breakthrough 2021, Qrion has laid the groundwork that is currently catapulting her to dance music stardom.
Last year, she was named to EDM.com's Class of 2022, joining a prestigious list of transformative artists including ACRAZE, Anfisa Letyago and ISOxo, among others. Every artist on the list has positioned themselves uniquely within the industry, and Qrion is certainly no exception.
The San Francisco-based DJ and producer has graced leading electronic music labels like Anjunadeep, Ultra Records, Last Night On Earth and more, landing her a spot on Forbes Japan's coveted "30 Under 30" list. Her unique, hypnotic sound interweaves many different electronic sub-genres, often making use of soft, exquisite beats and nostalgic sound design.
EDM.com spoke with Qrion about her expansive success to date, the Sapporo music culture, and how she made the decision to move from Japan to San Francisco to pursue her career in music.
EDM.com: You're fresh off your Red Rocks debut. Take our readers through your mindset leading up to the set.
Qrion: It was such a huge opportunity for me! I still can't believe I played at one of the most beautiful venues in the U.S. My team and my closest friends were there too! I'm just super excited and thankful for Porter Robinson having me for such a special event.
EDM.com: How did you prepare for such a landmark performance in your career? Did you do anything different than your typical preparation?
Qrion: I started by making playlists on Rekordbox. I made five versions of it so I can make a shift if people are dancing, less dancing, or bangers, whatever would fit the mood.
I usually make playlists that are genre-based but this time I made it more specifically to cater toward playing to a bigger venue and crowd—just to make sure I wouldn’t feel too nervous on stage.
EDM.com: What role does your Japanese culture play in your music?
Qrion: The local nightclub scenes in Tokyo are a part of the culture that has played a role in my music. The DJs always play tracks that nobody knows yet and tracks that go off hard. Not playing just "mainstream music" is what I learned from them and incorporating that into some of my tracks.
It's always nice to spice my sets up with underground music I appreciate. I have tracks in my catalog that are softer, deep house, but I also have some tracks that are club bangers that I felt inspired by being in the club.
EDM.com: Can you paint a picture of electronic music culture in Sapporo? In what ways is it different than the scene in the U.S.?
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Qrion: We have a small music scene in Sapporo! Since the city is small, everyone knows everyone, and most of the local DJs are friends. I would say it's very welcoming and has a more wholesome atmosphere than other cities I've been to.
EDM.com: Why did you choose San Francisco as your destination after moving away?
Qrion: I played my very first set at Public Works in San Francisco back in 2016. I had my first mind-blowing music experience. It was the first time I felt I could communicate through music and without words. I couldn’t speak English at all back then!
I immediately decided to move to San Francisco since I had one friend from Tokyo who was an exchange student there.
EDM.com: Your debut album is rooted in nostalgia. How did you pull from your past to write I Hope It Lasts Forever?
Qrion: I like remembering old, happy memories and expressing those in my music. It gives me a connection like a bridge between my heart and my family who are still in Sapporo. Thinking about my childhood in Sapporo and times spent with my dad.
Since I worked on the album during the quarantine, my family was a big part of my inspiration. The separation and being inside had me reminiscing on a lot of fun, loving, and meaningful times with them. I finally got to see them again for the first time since the pandemic in March.
EDM.com: Sampling also plays a huge role. Can you describe your creative process when discovering, selecting, and implementing samples?
Qrion: I think sampling music is super cool because we can dig deep into moments of past music scenes.
I was browsing an old vinyl section at Amoeba Records in San Francisco, and found an "I'm So Proud" vinyl by Deniece Williams for $1 which was released in the 80s. I got home and started sampling from my record player, chopped and cut it, played around with copy and paste, and that’s how "Proud" was made. I appreciate the older music from a different time and I'm happy to pay homage to these artists by sampling them into my own music.
EDM.com: What's next for Qrion?
Qrion: I Hope It Lasts Forever's remix album is coming out soon on Anjunadeep! This year I’ll be working on another album and remixes. I have a lot of cool festivals to play this year and I’m doing some international touring in new cities and countries… more dates are going to be announced soon.
I’m looking forward to being inspired by all my travels this year so I can put new feelings, experiences, and memories into my next album.