Jul 29, 2021
5 min read
French producer and DJ, Dombresky, AKA Quentin Dombres, began his career as a hip-hop DJ navigating the scene in France. Although we know him now as an icon in the world of uplifting and joyous house music, his journey to this point was a lengthy one.
“Before the Dombresky project, I was a hip-hop DJ in France. I played in some clubs but I was a ‘mainstream’ artist. In 2015 I felt like I didn’t enjoy what I did anymore. I could not see the finality in what I was doing... I still love hip-hop but I grew up around dance music and I was always interested in it… One day I was like, fuck it, let’s start from scratch.”
It took Dombresky over a year to make the transition. He had no experience producing music and had only ever DJed hip-hop. He was lucky enough to be surrounded by talented friends who were willing to lend a helping hand and give him advice at the start of his career.
“Point Point, Mercer, Snake, all helped me to learn to produce. My first goal was to sign with Fool’s Gold Records… Fixing your goals works well for me. Everytime I fix goals, I focus on it and achieve it. I knew the French market but I wanted to see something else. I decided at the time with my manager to move to America. I had $700 in my bank account. When you think about it, it was totally insane to do that but if you don’t take risks, nothing will happen. My first EP was called ‘Reaching Perfection’ and the second one was called ‘Trust the Process.’ It’s all about the journey and I care about that. I never wanted to become famous super fast, I love the journey and the process.”
Upon arriving in the states, Dombresky quickly secured a booking agent based on the success of his first single with Fool’s Gold and a subsequent remix on Tchami’s Confession label. Although relatively unknown at the time, he was able to attach his name to rising labels and brands, creating a small but devoted fan base. Although his rise through the ranks of house DJs is ongoing, Dombresky can point to a moment early in his career when he felt his talent and ability to perform gave him a breakthrough moment.
“[Nocturnal Wonderland 2017] was my first big festival. A lot of people came who had never seen me play. I remember it exactly like it was yesterday. Magic happens. It’s hard to get it. Not every set has magic. There are a few sets that feel magical. When everyone is in the same vibe, same direction, same mentality. Everyone was together. It was amazing, one of the best sets I’ve ever played.”
The set at Nocturnal Wonderland came alongside some high-level releases from Dombresky. The iconic red gloves, the French energy, and the release of one of his biggest tracks to date, "Utopia" made 2017 a big year for the new DJ. Although his musical style would soon shift, Dombresky was quickly becoming a household name.
“You never know if a song is going to blow up or not… Having the chance to try the track live and seeing the reaction of the people helps a lot. Sometimes I know when it’s going to be a big song. Sometimes I know when it’s not going to be big but I still love it. The thing I’ve learned over time is that you don’t need to release a hit or big song all the time. Some people like a sexy song, some people like a chill song. I used to only release bangers. ‘Housology’ I loved, I knew it wasn’t a crazy one but yet people loved it. You cannot control the reaction of the people, but you can have an idea on if it’s a club banger or more of a listening track. Now I’m more focused on just making the music I like.”
“For me it was a big goal. Now I’m asking when’s the next one! When I first saw it in Ibiza, I knew I had to play it. The team was so nice, I felt at home. I still have some stars in my head. When I play, I try to express joy and smiles and happiness to the people. It matched so well with Elrow.”
Although Dombresky now feels like he has the freedom to take his career in any direction he likes, the last year and a half proved challenging. While some artists used the pandemic break as an opportunity to hole up in the studio or work on a new version of a live show, Dombresky reflected internally.
“It changed my mind a lot… I didn’t produce anything… I’m a sensitive person, it fucked me up. Seeing people dying and sick around the world. It was not possible for me to be creative. I was able to work on mixing and mastering but my music is too happy for me to feel like I could make music during this time… These questions like am I good enough? Now it’s just like, fuck it. I just want to share my energy and share my music.”
Going forward, it’s all about staying true to himself and going with the flow. He tries to avoid rigid scheduling. It gives him space to feel creative and produce new music whenever he wants. He has some special back-to-back shows coming up with Noizu. And he hopes to release a ton of music in the coming months. For now, we just hope to see him playing all over the world as soon as possible and to continue making people dance and putting smiles on people’s faces.