Dedicated to “extended experimental expression on cassette”, Quiet Time has become a reliable outlet for music, mostly ambient, that’s guaranteed to enthral. It is that very modus operandi that has given us immersive, elongated listens from the likes of Huerco S., Ulla Straus and Kareem Lofty. The brief: hand artists 20 to 30 minutes to create original work, whether it be a live recording or mixtape of shorter tracks.
Many Quiet Time releases come with two identical copies of the same tape; one for you, and another to share with a friend. For that very reason, it seems fitting that we have two friends of the label go head-to-head. Having recently released their own Quiet Time cassettes respectively, DJ Healthy and JR Chaparro picked each other’s brains over a little chat.
“DJ Healthy and JR Chaparro are two friends who played at Sustain Release‘s Grove stage during the summer or 2019, and also recently released tapes on New York via LA’s Quiet Time Tapes imprint.
Estranged by covid-impacted schedules and 10,840 KM of earthly expanse, the two turned to asynchronous communication to ask each other a few questions about what they are about and how they are getting by in the eschaton.”
JR Chaparro: When did you start DJing?
DJ Healthy: I started DJing in 2009 as well as organising shows. I moved to New York in 2013 going back and forth, and I’m in NY now.
JC: What made you start spinning discs?
DH: I wanted to organise events so I started working at night club and event space. But to gain knowledge of music and some friends around me were DJing, so I naturally started Djing.
DH: We are living in a time where things that felt like a given have been rendered difficult or near impossible. For instance you and I both have spent a lot of time organising tours internationally for artists in the places we live, but now that this is no longer possible it suddenly feels like there is a greater distance between countries. As an expat how do you feel about this and how are you managing?
JC: Like all of us I miss seeing friends – being immersed in music and around people, but at the same time gatherings of that nature feel like an artefact from a different timeline. One thing that definitely made me feel the opposite of the distance you’re talking about was c-minus’ TV sessions. In retrospect those moments introduced me to a kind of post-national connectivity that is really exciting/hopeful.
Aside from that though the distance you’re referring to is something I’m feeling in Tokyo at the city level. The kind of blasé response to the virus here has me feeling not so safe while out and about so I guess the immediacy of that disconnect makes the international closure feel a bit secondary. I’ve been getting by focusing more on my music production and little projects here and there to not lose sight of things.
DH: Yes, the c-minus TV series had some very impressive moments.
JR: What’s your thought process when you play an event like Sustain? Do you pick things out before hand/how do you figure out what kind of music to bring etc.?
DH: When I do a listening set, I’d like to know the environment of the venue. Because it’s important for me when I select music. I’d like to understand the environment as much as I can and apply into myself what I can do. I plan the set to some extent and see how it goes. Since I’d been to the stage of Sustain Release, it was easier to imagine. Also it was long set so I thought about flow a lot. But also I just put music on one-by-one depending on feeling, like when I DJ’d at SuperDeluxe in Tokyo during live set changes.
JC: I think I speak for planet Earth when I say you nailed the grove spirit!
DH: Since I got to know you, for me, you are very well balanced person between music and daily work/life. Now you have family. How did it change you in terms of approaching/living with music?
JC: That change overlapped perfectly with the shutdown of the world, so I find it hard to separate the virus effect from the baby effect in terms of my living with music. I think even if the virus wasn’t around I would be more leaned into reflective and meditative sounds but given the anxious nature of the day it feels like I’m turning to that style for more than one reason.
In terms of music production, output wise the story is a bit different. I’ve always turned to making music as a way to process my inner state and so everything I’ve made filed under [quarantine jams] straddles this line of end times anxiety and intense cheesy emotion. Having a child has made me very cheesy.
DH: I’m glad to hear you got cheesy taste! You were too cool haha. It might be a fresh element for your production too.
JR: Who are some of your favourite deejays and why?
DH: I have to say that there are too many legends to mention beforehand… but DJ Python (best personality, plus DJ), Turtle Bugg (Soul 2 Seoul) is one of the most soulful DJs around my age, you, Akiram En (JP), Ultrafog (live set though), Mari Sakurai (JP), K-yam (JP), Celter (JP)…
JC: What do you like about these DJs? What do you think makes a DJ compelling in your eyes (ears?)?
DH: Some of these DJs from Japan in particular perform a lot and have confidence in what they do. Hopefully I can do events with more Japanese artists here when we can. I think establishing their style, selecting music, mixing skill and dropping what track when the audience wants it is important.
JC: Definitely, I think the closing of borders for sure made the scene in Tokyo reevaluate the intense concentration of selectors up to original/exciting things. Hope that percolates out into the world more.
DH: I had nostalgic emotion when I listened to your release Skygrabber. Was this especially produced for co-producer Lucas Dillon’s art exhibition? Was this piece mirroring specific memory between you and Lucas?
JR: Skygrabber was less about one particular memory and more about memory production with technology today. Lucas sent me voice memos he’d taken while traveling after we first became friends, things he recorded that overlapped with our chats and dm’s etc, vignettes that accompanied stories and updates I’d heard, and I assembled them in ways that resonated with the theme of memory to me. The resulting output was played as part of Lucas’ showing at the Freehouse gallery in London.
The project made me think about this specific kind of memory that occurs today because we are able to share high fidelity media with people close to us — these fragments compile into these secondary assemblages tangential to the sender’s experience but equally defined by the context in which they are received. I was trying to tap into the uncanny space these memories occupy.
DH: What are you conscious of producing music? You have unique melody characteristic which seems to recall memories. How do you get affected to produce music by living with current situation?
JR: When I make tunes I start from scratch each time, my setup and my ineptitude prevents me from saving anything so every time I sit down it is with a blank canvas and I just kind follow my gut. Like I said I turn to music as an outlet and just hit record on my tape deck and whatever happens happens so I don’t know, maybe I am yearning for something in my past!
What kind of music is most exciting to you right now?
DH: I listen to anything but if I have to say, I like anything gives me a nostalgic, pale feeling right now. This year has been difficult, but it’s encouraging to see everyone hanging in there and going through the situation alongside one another. I can’t wait to listen to music on a soundsystem and I’m looking forward to planning future stuff with everyone around world.
Skygrabber and At The Grove are out now on Quiet Time | Buy here