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Learn About the Roots of Colombian Accordion Music with the Help of Quantic’s Globe-Trotting Record Collection

Ahead of 'Curao,' Will Holland invited us into his loft to chat about growing up on Goldie, British Jazz, and cultural appropriation—all via a trip through his crates.
Photo by Sara Wass.

Over the last two decades, the multifarious Will Holland has produced a substantial 18 albums under various monikers and styles. The producer best known as Quantic has been a bandleader crafting jazz albums, an electronic music beatmaker, a discoverer of brilliant Colombian singers, a bossa nova guy, as well as one-half the production duo that gifted the world and that canonical iPod commercial with "My Swing Is Tropical" in 2007. As you should be able to guess, he plays instruments ranging from the accordion to the electric guitar, and as a DJ he's revered for cavernous crates that have soundtracked spellbinding moments everywhere from Brooklyn nightclubs to cumbia-only Boiler Rooms and Cuba's first major music festival Growing up in the mid 80s in the small riverside town of Bewdley in the sprawling county of Yorkshire in the UK, Holland would trek as a teen to larger cities nearby like Birmingham to hit record stores and soak in the bustling music scene, gazing upon the rows of the many hotly tipped sleeves on the wall. It was a noble step up from his first time holding an actual record as young boy, one he was able to pick up after collecting 12 tokens from the side of a box of Corn Flakes. (If you were wondering, that record was none other than "Come on Eileen.")

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As Holland grew past finding music in cereal—and an early affinity for American groups like Fugazi—his early passion for zine-making as a 15-year-old led him into the wormhole of electronic music promos, soaking up pivotal drum and bass from Metalheadz, and later, the sultry trip-hop from the likes of Portishead as he was starting to produce beats on his own. In 2001, Quantic debuted as a producer with his album The Fifth Exotica masterclass in smoky, succulent downtempo that could soundtrack a mushroom trip just as well as an all-night study session.

During a seven year stint living in Cali, Colombia in the mid 2000s—a country Holland described to me as a "musical mecca"—we've gotten to know Quantic the far-sighted bandleader and collaborator—one who's discovered talented vocalists and musicians everywhere from dusty small towns to bustling Latin cities. Just dive into his beat-riddled, horn-fueled album Magnetica,

recorded around 2014 when he was living in and around Colombia's pacific region. It was there he met a teacher and folk singer named Nidia Góngora, who together with Holland just released a new album of sunny, danceable Latin rhythms this May called Curao on the UK's Tru Thoughts Recordings.