Quality Goods Records Lives Up to the Name
Over the past half-decade, you’d be hard-pressed to find a label that’s done more for the electronic trap scene than Quality Goods Records. Founded by trap legend UZ, the iconic producer and DJ, brings over 20 years of experience and an unequaled ear to the label. Alongside UZ, industry veteran Mouna Dif leads Quality Goods Records. Mouna got her start in the industry as an artist herself before moving into artist management and co-founding the label. Over the past six years, they’ve broken a wide array of artists, including QUIX, ATLiens, Rome In Silver, Tvboo, Jon Casey, Leotrix, Oski, Nitti Gritti, and more.
To get an inside look at what makes the label so unique, we connected with Mouna to explore the label’s mission, vision, singular approach, new distribution partnership with Virgin Music/Universal Music Group, and much more. They’ve also put together a very special playlist of some of their most iconic tracks.
Bass music was still in its infancy when QGR started, and there was a considerable gap in the industry for emerging artists in the space. They understood a need for a platform run by artists, for artists.
“QGR was born to provide a platform for UZ himself and all those that were influenced by him, or started music production because of him. In those days, the few active indie labels in dance electronic music weren’t willing to take much risks on small artists,” Mouna explains. “But mainly there wasn’t a true home for trap electronic music – we filled in that void and took on the challenge!”
The vision stretches beyond UZ and the artists he’s inspired. Their “Quality over quantity” approach not only speaks to the caliber of releases but also their willingness to look beyond the surface level metrics that often dictate the release cycle.
Mouna makes this abundantly clear, “First and foremost, our vision and goal as a label is and has always been about pushing to the forefront our generation’s next most forward-thinking artists in electronic music no matter the importance of their sphere of influence, social media numbers, country of origin, DSP presence, whether they are actively touring or not, or their sound is following a hype trend. It has only been about the music and taking risks.”
Although their focus is on the music, they are meticulous about their marketing approach. Their 3D visual aesthetic has become a staple of the brand, serving to captivate potential listeners’ attention and curiosity, driving them to dive into the music even if they may be unfamiliar with the artists. French artist Julien Rivoire is the mastermind behind bringing the brand’s unique sonic identity into visual form. The animated visuals for UZ, Haan808, Baajewala, and Jon Casey provide a small peek into the world specially created for the label.
Like many labels in their space, Quality Goods Records was born and built-in Los Angeles. However, the past few years have seen the pair return to their home country of France.
Mouna explains that the move opened an array of opportunities. “We were missing our home country and we felt that it was the right time to go back. The imprint and business relations were established and we were at a stage where we could continue growing and developing it from anywhere else in the world. We wanted to explore other markets and develop stronger foundations internationally, back in Europe for instance. What defines us is the diversity of our roster – how international it is. We have signed countless artists from around the world whether they were from Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, Germany, or Russia. So, this move is just another step in the label’s development on the international scene. And what better way to do so than to immerse yourself in the culture directly?”
Aside from its global presence, the label has evolved beyond the initial electronic trap sound that was its foundation without abandoning it. Over the past few years, their releases have spanned from trap to future bass, future beats to hip-hop, grime, and experimental bass. In addition to singles, EPs, and albums, they’ve also developed two signature release series, Quality Treats and Quality Vibes. The former focuses on heavier and more experimental sounds, while the latter embodies its moniker by offering more melodic and emotional music.
Sometimes when platforms expand their sound, it can appear inauthentic or pandering, but that’s never been the case with QGR. Mouna details how they were able to achieve this balance.
“This expansion follows the evolution of trap in the past few years. You can’t expect any label to put out the same kind of music as they put out five years previous. We all grow. Everything evolves, arts and music especially. Many subgenres appear and develop. So do the tools and the means of expressing them. We at QGR are excited by this evolution. We feel inspired by the music we receive and discover daily and want to share it with the world. We want to explore these avenues presented to us as long as we are feeling it, to be honest. It’s all about the music & if we’re vibing with it, not about what sub-genre it is.
I think what makes us remain true to our signature sound is that Quality Goods Records A&R-ing is handled by UZ mainly and myself, and as long as it remains as such, Quality Goods Records will never lose its identity and what has defined it so far.”
Quality Goods Records’ commitment to quality and consistent growth over the years has not gone unnoticed. The label just inked a distribution deal with Virgin Music/Universal Music Group to take the brand to new heights.
“Joining Virgin Music after six years existence symbolizes a culmination and recognition of the hard work, passion, and conviction we put into all these artist projects. This is a distribution merger, so we will have full control and all the decision-making will remain on us. They therefore do not have ownership of the label. UMG will be bringing on resources and experience that will benefit us in an extraordinary way and we can not wait to work hand in hand with them in building Quality Goods Records 2.0,” Mouna elaborates.
With the partnership and their brand ever-expanding, 2022 will be their biggest year date. They promise more visibility internationally while focusing on artistic development, bigger projects, and diversifying their music within the electronic scene. The future is bright for Quality Goods Records, and we expect them to continue to live up to its name.
QGR’s Most Iconic Releases Playlist
We asked Mouna to curate a playlist of Quality Goods Records most iconic releases.
“This playlist is composed of our biggest tracks. Some have achieved over a few million streams on Spotify alone. Some have been impactful within the scene because they have been played and supported by countless major DJ names. And for others I would say that they simply represent a turning point in the genre sonically speaking. You can find some UZ classics (select tracks and remixes from his Billboard Dance charted album), Oski bangers, sumthin sumthin, Rome In Silver’s debut, some exciting new names such as Eyezic (Beyond Wonderland 2022 Discovery Project winner), and so much more. There is something for everyone whether it’s chill melodic, hyper, or energetic – take your pick!”
- Mouna Dif, QGR Co-Founder & Head of Operations