Casey MQ

Photo & Art Direction by Reece Owen
Fashion & Creative Direction by Luca Wowczyna

Artist and composer Casey MQ straddles the worlds of classical and electronic music, bridging the two through his reverence of pop music and the history of piano compositions. Studying classical music as a child, Casey has gone on to compose multiple film scores, Bloody Hell, 2023, Learn to Swim, 2021 in recent years. Casey’s adoration of dance music also led to his co-founding of the queer virtual dance party, Club Quarantine, which took place nightly and gained an impressive following during the early days of the pandemic. Over the past two years Casey has been working on his new EP, with the desire to contribute to the “many lives inside a piano and a voice.”

CM: What’s your process for making film scores?

CMQ: There are so many ways to approach a score, and each time I work on a film the process shifts. I love entering a film at the early stages when a script is entering pre-production. Considering early ideas and potential musical landscapes around the script excites me. I like working in limitations on a film score; making use of certain palette combinations that I can attribute to the sensation of the film. When we get into post, and I’m in the thick of composing, I think there’s an opportunity for discovery that tends to happen, all coming from this earlier research that informs the score. 

CM: What soundtrack composer do you admire? 

CMQ: I love Jóhan Jóhannson. Although his piece “Odi et Amo” is not from a film, anytime I listen to it, I feel this gut wrenching emotional impact. I can’t listen to it too often because of that. 

CM: How does your classical background inform the production of electronic music? 

CMQ: I think it’s fundamental in my work. I’m so attracted to harmony and the sensations of one voicing to another. I have lived my whole life by the piano so anytime I come to the laptop, the piano is unconsciously present. 

CM: You’ve referenced music as a path to self discovery. In what ways is music your “teacher”?

CMQ: I continually think about this, how my identity is in conversation with music, being a musician, being an artist. I have learned some hard lessons in gripping so tight to identity—being fixated on being a desirable musician, wanting to be of value and fundamentally, wanting to be loved. So music, and what it can be surrounded by, has been a form of suffering, and often I did not want to recognize that. I would close my eyes and try to convince myself that music is pure truth which, in hindsight, is a distraction from the possibilities inside this form of communication. Allowing myself to be in flux with my identity and open to feeling all the sides of this geometrical art form has led to new discoveries. I’m more perceptive to the ways music lives inside myself and others. A continual reshaping until I die. 

CM: I love that art can be a portal to our child self, as with your last album, Babycasey. How do you maintain that play and freedom as music becomes your career?

CMQ: That’s exactly it, play within a career structure can often be at odds. I think I made my last album initially as an opportunity to get closer with my childhood self. I was trying to tap into certain sensations I felt as a child and questioning if it is possible to go back in time! What this album surprisingly did was completely open me up to considering initial forms of desire and how that paved a lot of foundational ideas of self I would interrogate in the present. Practicing play in the midst of hurt is what creates a human experience. That challenges me yet I can’t get enough of it. 

Clothing in order of appearance: 
All: Per Gotesson, Shoes: Dr Martens x Slamjam
Shirt: Jordan Luca, Top: Per Gotesson
Jacket: Andersson Bell, Trousers: Per Gotesson
All: Per Gotesson, Shoes: Dr Martens x Slamjam
Shirt: Nicholas Daley