Quinn Lamont Luke
About Quinn Lamont Luke
Complied by Robert Harris AKA Dr. Rob at Ban Ban Ton Ton
Quinn Lamont Luke is a California-born singer-songwriter, based in New York. He has spent the better part of 30 years recording, touring, and releasing music on record labels such as Aficionado, Claremont 56, DFA, Lovemonk, Phantom Island, Rush! Production, Ubiquity, Tummy Touch, Uber, World Famous, and now his own imprint, El Triangulo. He has collaborated with an extended network of DJs and musicians, that includes Shawn Lee, Groove Armada, Tommy Guerrero, Phil “Cantoma” Mison, Paul “Mudd” Murphy, Psychemagik, Vetiver, Dianne Birch, and Alex From Tokyo. Luke’s output covers a broad, eclectic range of styles from folk to house.
Quinn was born in Sacramento, into a musical family. His father played upright bass in a Dixieland jazz band, and his paternal aunts were members of a 1950s vocal group. The family regularly sang together in church. Quinn took piano lessons at the age of 10 – regrettably quitting shortly thereafter, and his first solo performance, again in church, was aged 12. That same year, he received a guitar for Christmas. During his childhood the family moved from Northern to Southern California, and finally to Houston, Texas. Quinn formed his first bands in junior high school, performing covers of acts such as Van Halen, Rush and Boston. By high school these influences had been replaced by U2, Living Color and INXS. At around this time he began writing his own songs.
After graduating high school Quinn moved back to San Francisco where he would stay for the next 13 years. Citing the artists Stevie Wonder, Shuggie Otis, Prince, and Frankie Beverly as sources of inspiration his song-writing drew on classic soul and R&B, resulting in Quinn developing a sound in the “blue-eyed” vein of Ned Doheny and the Batteaux brothers. His first solo recordings were released by local label Ubiquity.
In the early 90’s he attended San Franciscan parties and raves such as Wicked, Bulletproof, and On The One, and frequented the Groove Merchant record shop. Here he met Chris Veltri, and in the early 2000s the two released a series of 12” dance singles under the name Coppa. Gaining Quinn the attention of DJs across the globe – such as Prins Thomas, Todd Terje, and the Idjut Boys.
In 2004, Quinn adopted the stage name Bing Ji Ling.
“At the end of the `90s I was living in Shanghai, holding a residency playing at jazz / blues club. On my first night, one of the bartenders asked me what my name was. I said “Quinn”. Mishearing she asked “Cream? Like ice cream?” She then proceeded to tell everyone that my name was ice cream, which in Chinese is “bingqilin.” For pretty much the year that I was in Shanghai, everyone called me “bingqilin.” When I got back home to San Francisco and started on my first solo record – at the suggestion of my production partner Merkley – I modified it to Bing Ji Ling, and he came up with a whole ice cream / soul man persona, which I worked for some years. We used to have some lovely female friends of ours dressed as sexy versions of the classic `50s ice cream-man pass out ice cream at the shows. It was good fun.”
Jam sessions with bassist and recording engineer Monte Vallier led to a friendship with musician and ex-professional skateboarder, Tommy Guerrero, and a 10-year run playing rhythm guitar in Guerrero`s touring band. The group made frequent trips to Japan, performing at the Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic Festivals. This Japanese connection in turn led to a relationship with Tokyo-based label, Rush!Productions, culminating in the release of a compilation his work to date titled So Natural, and an album of acoustic cover versions, titled Sunshine For Your Mind. Through Tommy Guerrero, Quinn met the post-punk disco band Tussle, going on to produce their second album, Telescope Mind.
At the start of the 21st Century, Quinn moved to New York City, and in around 2005 he met DJ / producers Sean Marquand and Daniel Collas. Along with Patrick “Woody” Wood, Daniel and Quinn began hosting parties under the banner “…..And Then Boom!!!” During this time Quinn was also DJing at clubs such as 205 and the Gold Bar on the Lower East Side. In 2008 the collaboration between Marquand and Collas evolved into a 9-piece group, called The Phenomenal Handclap Band – with Quinn on rhythm guitar and lead vocals. The PHB signed to Brooklyn`s Friendly Fire Records, to significant success and acclaim. They supported artists such as Franz Ferdinand, Bryan Ferry, The Gossip, and Simian Mobile Disco, and performed at festivals including BBK Live, Field Day, Glastonbury, Latitude, and Wireless, in their own right.
In 2009 Quinn reconnected with Tussle keyboardist Alexis Georgopoulos, who`d also relocated to New York. The duo releasing singles as the Expanding Head Band and Q&A for UK-based Lo Recordings and James “LCD Soundsystem” Murphy`s DFA, respectively.
One important factor in Quinn`s dance music career was a regular Monday night session called L`Apertivo, held at Italian restaurant Mangiami. Located on Stanton, just off The Bowery, the venue acted as social hub for local artists, DJs, musicians, event promoters, and record label owners. Another was David Mancuso`s legendary Loft parties. Regular attendance at both of these events helped Quinn create an extended global network of musical collaborators.
In New York Quinn met DJ / producer Alex “From Tokyo” Pratt. Their recording partnership resulting in the release of tracks on Golf Channel and Alex` own World Famous imprint. Through NYC friends Quinn was introduced to Borja Torres of Madrid`s Lovemonk Records. This led to solo 12”s for the label, and also a project called Incarnations. This project reunited Quinn with Daniel Collas – the two recording and writing with fellow singer / songwriter, Bart Davenport, over a fortnight in a remote studio, on Spain’s southern-most coast. One of the connections Quinn made at David Mancuso`s Loft was with UK DJ / producer Phil Mison – who operates under various aliases, including that of Cantoma. Quinn subsequently provided vocals for the Cantoma single, Alive, and through Mison was introduced to the UK`s “balearic” scene. This resulted in the release of the instrumental E.P., Temporadas, on Manchester-based imprint, Aficionado, See Me Through for Coyote`s Uber, and the formation of the 5-piece group Paqua. As Paqua, alongside fellow band-members Paul “Mudd” Murphy, Patrick Dawes (percussionist for Groove Armada), Patrick Wood (former PHB drummer), and Alex Searle, in 2014, Quinn recorded the album, Akaliko for Murphy`s label, Claremont 56. The promotional European tour included gigs at Glastonbury and Croatia’s Garden Festival.
In around 2015, Quinn began to divide his time between NYC and a newly purchased farm in Hurley, in the Catskills, upstate New York. Taking a conscious break from the cycle of writing, recording and performing, he focused on family, his art / antique business and the construction of a music school / recording studio / healing retreat on the Mexican coast of Oaxaca, called El Triangulo. 2017 did however see the release of the single, Different Aspirations, on a freshly formed record label of the same name.
In 2019, Quinn continued the collaboration with Paul Murphy by contributing vocals to the Smith & Mudd`s The Distance. He also sang lead on the Psychemagik track, We Can Be One. In the pipeline is new music with Alexis Georgopoulos, as Q&A, plus a new Paqua album. There will also be a release on El Triangulo that pays tribute to the Chicago deep house sound of Larry Heard. Quinn is currently working with bassist Nick Movshon and drummer Homer Steinweiss, at New York`s Diamond Mine studio. Movshon and Steinweiss are both core members of the Dap-Kings, the house band of Gabriel Roth and Neal Sugarman`s Daptone Records, and have worked extensively with producers Dan Auerbach, Leon Michels, and Mark Ronson. Quinn`s as yet untitled 7th album will incorporate the county and Americana roots of his farmland surroundings. Quinn is also producing the debut solo record of War On Drugs drummer, Charlie Hall.