Bashful and biracial — MOONA‘s Mouna Dif Pacherie felt alienated from her peers. She found refuge in poetry and singing. Rap, acid jazz, UK garage house music and disco pop’s magnetism made Mouna whole. However, sometimes, it’s necessary to switch lanes in order to reach your full potential; Mouna sensed this. Ten years into her career as a flourishing French musician, Mouna jumped at the opportunity to become UZ‘s tour manager: kicking off her journey as the Quality Goods empire’s power player she is today—on connaît le reste.
Happy 4th anniversary! Spill the tea on what’s next for Quality Goods Records (QGR).
Thank you – I can’t believe it’s been four years already! We have signed, discovered and supported so many artists during these years. We are close to over 200 tracks being released! All of them are handpicked by UZ and myself.
So what are our plans for the future? We will continue to be selective in who we support, we will continue to prioritize Quality over Quantity. Take risks in pushing forward developing artists who for some have little to no following at all. We will focus more on a geography scale and have a collective of preferred artists we will develop in each territories on the live front. EU, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, USA. There will be more livestreams, shows, writing camps. We want QGR to become some form of a lifestyle cultural experience – a collective of cool & edgy handpicked talents.
Also we are launching a new installment release next month called “Quality Vibes” – I am very excited about that and hope to take our fans on a new musical journey that has more depth, emotion and melody. I will say no more! You will have to check it out.
When and where, in Paris, did you first meet UZ?
Actually, we met in Strasbourg, France – 2009. My best friend was a highly active solid promoter in the electronic hip-hop music scene in the city. He had booked UZ who at the time was known by his original alias “Dj Troubl” the 2x World DMC champion and rap producer. Dj Troubl then was the accompanying touring DJ for a pretty edgy rapper & graffiti artist in France called Grems. I attended the live show event and connected then for the first time with the man we now know as “UZ.”
Which three qualities should an aspiring label head possess in order to make it in this industry, unscathed?
Culture. You have to know and understand the music you are pushing on your label. It’s history, it’s evolution and therefore you can have a sense of where it is heading to. It all starts with the music.
Vision. It is important to have vision and a great intuition. What kind of label do you want to be? What kind of artists do you want to push? How many? How little? For how long? All of this determines what makes your label special or not.
Leadership & resilience. These are 2 qualities but I believe they go hand in hand and are essential to each other.
Break down the process of planning and executing Quality Goods Exports Digital Festival.
1. Have a concept. In our case I decided to work hand in hand with selected key promoters & venues around the world as we are an international platform. They would help push and promote the event extra to hosting it on their platforms. For some of these venues we were planning on an actual label tour in 2020.
2. Determine which platforms to stream on & how. In our case we solely focused on Facebook & Twitch. And for that we had to learn how to master OBS software for live streaming.
3. Lock in a cool line Up. We reached out to some selected artists: some who have released with us & some who have releases lined up with us 😉 We at QGR have since day one supported and championed the next generation of producers in the trap electronic music realm – we were the first to support artists such QUIX, ATLiens, sumthin sumthin, Oski, tvboo, tynan, Rome in Silver, in the early years of their careers…. So obviously for this one we were going to continue with this moto and put on what we consider to be the most exciting acts in this scene. Some you may have never heard of but trust us you will soon hear more of very soon.
4. Open line of communication with all artist teams so the setups would be exciting, interesting, diverse and well thought out aesthetically. I’d suggest checking out Cozway’s outdoors livestream setup for instance, Perk Pietrek, Ian Munro… They take you on an unreal journey.
5. Branding. Create all artwork & media assets & get on hard he promotion ☺
Why was Quality Goods Exports Digital Festival crucial to staying connected with the label’s fanbase during COVID-19?
I think this current situation is some form of a blessing in disguise. All artists (no matter how big or small) today have the chance to step up and showcase their talents through this form of media without the pressure of everyday music industry expectations such as ticket sales. We can freely book the up and comers that we release music of and show the world how good they are also on the live front. This is a chance for them to shine and prove their worth. viewership of our digital festival and the database we collected from it gives us the leverage we need for the label tour bookings we will be working on later down the line. Of course when all goes back to normal in 2021 on the live front.
QGR prides itself on scouting supreme talent from around the globe. Presently, which country is rich with promising producers?
There is truly some exciting talent all around the world. We have released artists that are based in Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA… and we will continue to do so. Always. Quality music knows no borders. However I have to say that there is an exciting scene building up in France right now. France has always been huge in its impact on the electronic and rap scene in the world and now I am really hearing a take on this crossover that we at QGR have always been about – so keep your eyes peeled. We have signed a few of these French promising artists 😉
What records did you grow up grooving to in Strasbourg?
That was during the glorious myspace days hahah. Here a few of the songs & albums I would play on loop and groove to systematically. You could say that I was very much influenced by the UK & US scene at the time:
Slum Village – Fantastic Vol. 2 (2000)
Produced by J Dilla – RIP
Sa-ra Creative Partners – Hollywood (2006)
High profile producers that worked with John Legend, Dr Dre, Franck Ocean, Jay Z etc..
Their sound comprises of jazz, soulful element synthesized space-age sounds blended with a pinch of hip-hop
Marc de Clive-Lowe – Live (2006)
He is a veteran of the UK’s broken beat movement, blending jazz, electronics, funk and percussion-heavy world music.
4hero – Hold It Down (Bugz In The Attic Remix) (2002)
Huge staple collective in the UK broken beat world
What is the music business missing out on by not maximizing the talents of female-identifying professionals?
The current state of the music business industry is still very much dominated by the white male. Men have an obsessive tendency to constant competitiveness – it is in their genes. It’s their instinct to be so. Having more female-identified professionals balances that competitiveness – smoothes it out. They humanize this tough industry. And remember we are dealing with artists – everything they create derives from emotion and sensitivity. Men can be very much all about the business, numbers & competition and not enough about the artist, his needs and creativity.
Also gender equality and racial diversity is essential to being a forward thinking successful company: they each bring in a different output, open up to different perspectives, present higher capacities to adapt to new situations and the challenges they may present. You can’t accomplish that if you are only surrounded by like minded people only – you can only accomplish the same thing as everybody else. You are not challenged. You don’t evolve and simply stagnate.
How have your studies in architecture, as well as a passion for photography, contributed to your success?
Both my studies and my passion for architecture & photography have contributed immensely to who I am today, how I see the world and how I conduct business in the music industry.
During the time I studied architecture, it was mostly if not to say a strictly man’s world at that time still (early 2000’). Most of my teachers and mentors were men – and let me tell you they weren’t soft on the few of us women nonetheless. They prepared us for what was to come later when we were to become an architect: we would have to impose ourselves in a strictly man driven world where they would assume we would be incompetent & fragile. This part of my life help build my character, my strong will & determination in taking on all challenges head first no questions asked. Also in architecture I was taught how to take on a vision, an idea and concept, develop a new project and bring it to life.
Photography has been very complimentary in these studies. It helped me push back my creative boundaries, express my ideas efficiently visually with no limitations. Photography was a way for me to showcase a story, a narrative in an aesthetic way. I believe deeply that in today’s world: music has to be visual. That’s how the listener connects to the music: the visual catches your eye, tells the story behind the music, eventually gets you to connect with the producer, singer, composer.
Name one small, but mighty, action people in the industry can take to make a positive impact on gender equality.
Do not demonize men, educate them. They are not our enemies. We need to speak up to them, educate them on what is acceptable and what is not. Sometimes they have no clue that some of these jokes, gestures are sexist and absolutely inappropriate. Open dialogue is essential on a daily basis. We need to create a solid foundation of communication to create a long lasting change.
Introduction written by Sydney Goldberg.