QRTR, aka Meagan Rodriguez, has a sound that is drenched in emotion, layered with wavering synths that drip with sultry sophistication. Intentionally heartfelt yet innately dancefloor focused. She has managed to stand out with a unique take on house music. And in a genre that often relies on recycled tropes, she bravely injects her music with a meditative sensuality that refreshes mind, body, and soul
Her debut album Drenched dropped just as the pandemic had eviscerated all hope for an immediate sense of normalcy. It was composed during a dark period in her life. She intended to open a window to her emotions and ended up holding a mirror for the state of the world.
Her music reflected her life at the time. Her job in film was grueling. She spent over 10 hours a day in an office with no windows. Exhausted and confused, she intentionally isolated herself.
Things felt dark. And she said, “I [was] creating this whole world in my head about how things are so dystopian right now.”
She engaged in a strange dance with herself. The album was another source of stress, but she insists, “It was also a release and a creative outlet. So, it's just this weird kind of Tango [I was] doing.”
She never pondered her mental health. It was the first time she recognized her depression and anxiety. "And I let that come out in the album. And I wanted to live in it a little bit because I felt like I needed to just for my own sort of evolution.”
Her goal was to express how difficult it was to be human and how existence can be painful. She never expected her emotions to reflect what was happening on a global scale. She says, “It was just a really fucked up. coincidence.”
It takes courage to lay your emotions bare the way that Drenched did. Her strength and resolve are qualities she is admittedly modest about.
“I feel like I have these moments where I suddenly have intense courage and bravery. And those moments are usually pivotal for me [in] gearing me into a new direction or a new chapter.”
Her affection for melody has always been with her. She fondly recalls her dad blasting freestyle in the car when he picked her up for the weekend. It didn’t embarrass her, she just bopped along. Somehow those broken beats have now snaked their way into her music.
Rodriguez grew up tri-lingual and mixed race. Her young mind often comingled English, Spanish, and Portuguese. One thing she was never confused about was her love for singing. Her parents always supported her passion for the arts and bought her instruments for birthdays holidays.
They never stopped encouraging her. She was always inside as a child, creating songs and videos. In middle school, she started to play with production software when her dad bought her a computer.
“I had a PSU USB microphone. I'd plug it into my computer and sample knocking on my desk and shit. And I would make music in middle school and bring CDs and give it to friends.”
It’s hard for her to imagine her success without her parent's involvement. “I feel like, my mom was super encouraging. She was like, ‘You're an artist, you need to be an artist one day. You're a creative person.’ And always was telling me to embrace that. And then my dad gave me the tools to be able to embrace it. He got me my first computer. He was the one who pushed me to go to NYU and move to New York.“
Moving to New York was a catalyst for her artistic growth. She ended up there for film. And even though she carried a lifelong passion for music she insists, “I never thought to pursue that further than just enjoying it.”
She didn’t become a New Yorker until she graduated. That’s when she started to explore nightlife for the first time. The seed was planted when she went to an open-air in Portugal at 16. And when Spotify notified her that Chrome Sparks was in her hood she went and the seed began to grow.
That summer she went to her first festival, Bonnaroo 2014. And as a spontaneous (now legendary) late-night art car set from Mija and Skrillex blurred into the sunrise, she had a full-on rave revelation. This was what she’d been missing from her life.
“Sunrise is about to happen. And we're all partying still. And this is everything I didn't know I needed and now I'm hooked. And then immediately I came back from Bonnaroo and I was going to as many raves and club nights as I could.”
A friend she’d met at a work function joined her on the quest for the perfect night out. Jenny had also been there for the transcendent experience at Bonaroo. After several months they agreed it was difficult to find their people. So, they decided to create the perfect party themselves.
Wavcave was their creation. A party in what was ordinarily a punk rock venue, with no expectations or boundaries. Rodriguez and friends provided the sonics. Jenny was the badass promoter. “Our whole mission was to let people get weird. We want people smiling on the dance floor. We want people to be goofy and enjoy themselves.”
The brand organically transformed from a monthly event to a shared studio space to full-on artist collective and record label. All of which are rooted in creating the inclusive and tolerant space they desired.
As the world begins to awaken, she’s excited to see more of that. “I'm seeing parties that [are] not a bunch of white guys. And it's amazing. It's queer people, black people, brown people. It's people that are fucking talented and weren't getting shine that absolutely deserved to be getting shine.”
It excites her that more people will experience the creativity, love, and inclusivity that she shares in everything that she touches.
“I don't think I've ever seen such diverse and enthusiastic crowds,” she says with a touch of sincere sentiment in her voice. “It is so exciting what's happening right now. And I don't know that it would be like this if it weren't for everything that happened in 2020. I think in a weird way that was one of the only positives. That maybe we're inching toward something that makes more sense and is more equitable.”
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