Revealing the Source of QRTR and OLAN's Collaborative Magic

Jun 20, 2023

Harry Levin

3 min read

Throughout the history of music, there have been creative partnerships that take the strengths of individuals and combine them into a far greater whole than the sum of its parts. Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Method Man and Redman.

In the modern age of electronic music, OLAN and QRTR are one of those partnerships.

As solo artists, they have both been making serious waves in dance music over the past few years.

OLAN has become an Anjuna regular, sharing her spectacular, alternative, breakbeat-driven debut album, Contra, via Anjunadeep last year while performing in New York, Austin, and Red Rocks under the banner of Above & Beyond’s globally renowned record label and event series.

QRTR also released her debut album, infina ad nausea, in 2021, sharing its unconventional grooves and far-reaching dance influences through Dome of Doom, which is home to tastemaking artists like Daedelus and Huxley Anne.

The initial connection between the two was very 21st century. QRTR listened to Contra on the way to Electric Forest and slid into OLAN’s DMs on Twitter. They then connected in person in New York during the Anjuna Open Air and immediately hit it off personally and musically.

In listening to their previous work, the collaboration makes sense, but upon actually producing music together, their reciprocal approaches allowed each to grow as artists.

QRTR had always wanted to have the experience of songwriting collaboratively with a vocalist in the room rather than producing a beat with her own vocal idea for another vocalist to reinterpret. With OLAN on vocals working alongside her, they were able to manifest songs in a natural flow.

On the other hand, as a vocalist and songwriter by trade, OLAN often notates complex and emotional narratives in her lyrics. QRTR is the one who helped her simplify, translating the message into as few words as possible.

The result of this effortless collaboration is the EP Control, which features two sublime cuts: the soulful two-step sound of “All U Need,” and the punchy elemental techno of the title track.

But the collaboration didn’t stop in the studio. The EP was eventually signed to ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective, and on the heels of that signing, QRTR and OLAN were tapped to support ODESZA for their entire North American tour, entitled The Last Goodbye.

In light of this major booking, they deliberated how best to bring their collaboration to the stage. B2B DJing was an obvious choice, but they opted instead to design a new live set complete with live vocals and instruments, displaying their dynamic as creators in the live space.

With so much momentum, it might seem like a natural choice for an album or a bigger project to come soon, but OLAN and QRTR are also a couple, and rather than complicate their relationship by further intertwining their personal and professional lives, once the tour is over, they plan on going their separate ways, musically, taking what they learned through creating together into their individual projects, reserving shared time just for them.

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