This “Qamp” Co-Created a Full Album in 3 Days
I first met rapper, artist, and producer Casey Cope when I saw him perform during SoFar Sounds a few months back. Soon after, I learned of a project he was co-leading which brought together dozens of other Bay Area musicians and producers who were coming together to create a full length album in only 3 days. This unique writing camp is called Qamp.
Qamp is an example of when a group of people come together to lift each other up and support one another in their individual talents. We learn more about the origins of Qamp and what it means to some of the artists involved in the project. Also, we get a preview of the first two songs off their cocreated album.
Qamp is hosted at a coworking studio space, The Q, located in a small blue building within one of Berkeley’s industrial neighborhoods. It’s a full production studio which is broken into multiple rooms with everything you need to produce and record an entire album. Qamp is the brainchild of Casey Cope and Marquito in 2021. This year marks their second year creating an album with a cohort of other artists.
During Qamp, nearly 20 artists work on an album in some way throughout the studio, bouncing between one room and the other to see where they can pitch in and the status of their own contribution. Whether creating beats, laying down lyrics or taking photos to document, each artist’s unique multifaceted talents are honored.
Marquito’s passion for the magic that happens at Qamp is infectious when you talk to him about it.
He says, “The Qamp 2 experience has been such a dream come true. The vision was/is to bring a bunch of talented ass individuals that Casey and I really believe in together to make an album in three days.”
When I went to Studio Q to meet the artists, I sat next to an Artist Named You who was working on lyrics on their iPhone. Nearby, Casey was finding a spot for their lyrics to flow into the beats which were created the evening before. Moments like these happen throughout the weekend naturally. Each person has their own gift to share and
During my time at the studio, I was able to interview and meet with a few of the artists and it was easy to see why Casey and Marquito find them so inspiring. While they all have distinctively different styles in their music, each has a similar heart-felt love for what Studio Q has given them through the Qamp experience.
Which artists are part of Qamp 2?
Studio Q brings together talented Bay Area artists that inspire them to encourage sharing ideas and creative synergy. Here are mini-intros of a few wonderful artists behind this year’s Qamp experience. You’ll find them all featured within the Qamp 2 album, slated to be available February 7th, 2023.
Co-Creator of Qamp, artist, producer
Spotify: Marquito on Spotify
“I’m Marquito, Artist born and raised in the Bay Area; I’ve been singing and performing since I was 5 (starting with Mariachi). Im a multi instrumentalist producer and my goal for my music, no matter the genre is to stir emotion in the listener. I want them to feel some part of the emotion, energy, and love that went into the song, whether it’s through my instrumental house music, or my singing and rapping.
Qamp is such a great environment for creative energy and being able to walk between the studios (often working on very different things) allows for happy accidents. Some artists might not have hopped on a song until they walked by one of the open doors to grab a drink, and that randomness makes Qamp so much fun.
Qamp is so fulfilling. The whole weekend feels magical being not only witnessing but participating in artists experimenting and trying things outside of their typical genres/styles/voices.”
Artist, Executive Producer, Co-Creator of Qamp
Spotify: Casey Cope on Spotify
Casey Cope smiles so big that his smile fills almost his entire face. His authentic and genuine personality brings you and you instantly feel comfortable sharing with him. He loves Qamp and what it brings to everyone so much that you feel sucked in and invested in the success of the project.
He told me, “I participated because I co-created it! Marquito and I couldn’t get into a couple other camps we applied to be in, so we started our own thing with a specific vision: make an album + documentary in 3 days.
At Qamp I get to play an executive producer role, something I don’t really do outside of Qamp. Marquito and I pick whatever artists we wanna work with and strategically get them in rooms with folks they’ve probably never heard of before. I get to work in a uniquely creative environment that cultivates positivity & collaboration. All in all, we just want to promote camaraderie and talented artists in the Bay. I don’t think there are enough platforms that take that initiative.
Working on your own, you have to work on your own haha. There’s no one to bounce ideas off of, play chords that you can’t play, hit notes that you can’t hit, touch topics that you haven’t experienced. Everyone is so uniquely talented (we know because we do our homework on them), so you can really trust everyone’s judgment. The cool part about working as a team is I can sit in a room by myself and lay down a drum loop as people filter in. I’ll leave for 30 mins and come back to an entirely finished song. Literally. It’s fucking wild haha.”
Futuristic throwback, retro R&B Soul-Pop (but hyphy tho)
Spotify: Isaiah Mostafa on Spotify
In his own words: “Isaiah Mostafa’s sound relays a rich view of the depths of love through bouncy rhythms, sultry melodies & super lush production. The Oakland-based Producer/MC/Singer/Songwriter is fully self produced & driven by the inherent need to heal & serve the community. Self-care slaps and music to stretch to.”
Telling me about why he participates in Qamp, he first gives some props to the organizers and then expands upon what he gets from the experience and his gratitude, “Casey & Marquito are my guys. First and foremost they’re incredible at what they do, and they do A LOT. Not only do they do a lot, but they do a lot for the community. Acquiring a studio with your friends is a huge accomplishment and I think many folks would keep it to themselves and hyperfocus on their own art until something hits. But Casey & Marquito seem to have the real keys, which is people power & love. They literally give us a place and the resources to follow our dreams..like bruh. cmon now. Legendary.”
Asking him about why he thinks working as a team in this way is beneficial, Mostafa gives a really nice view of what the world could be like if we participated more collectively. He says, “Perspectives. We might all travel these same streets everyday, but our lives and the lenses in which we view the world through are extremely different from one another. when we come together it’s like there’s more magic accessible. and the dopest part of a team is everybody has their role. We all do the thing we do best in order to reach our goal.
Performing artist, filmmaker
Spotify: Aroma on Spotify
“My name is Aroma (AroMa on streaming platforms), I’m a 25 year old performing artist from Oakland CA. I had a fairly unconventional introduction to music making, starting off as a visual artist and filmmaker who began making music mainly to score various film projects. True to my story-telling film based history, a lot of my music and performance style tends to be theatrical and dramatic. I draw from a range of influences from classic rock to hip-hop & rap and with those influences build unique, captivating soundscapes. Currently my performances are with my band whose core members (and collaborators) are Nuxia and Ant, who are both members of their own band called SUPERGOOD4uTHING.
Part of the reason I participated is simply because I really love and honor the creativity of the artist Qamp brings together. We got so much done in an environment that still felt very relaxed and encouraging. I think getting to experience and learn from that easeful excitement and quickness is something that I can apply to my own creative process, as I can get really in my head and painstakingly take hours to create a song to the point where the process feels stale and stagnant. That lesson is one I’ve thought alot about since the experience and have applied to my creative process – which has made it much more fun!
When you work as a team, it broadens the intricacy and nuance of any piece of work – especially in music. Everyone is hearing different things, and contributing different ideas, some of which really take the song from good to great in a way I may not have even anticipated. Every persona and artist is already so unique and colorful, so when groups of people come together to collaborate in a fluid and supportive and bold way – it adds even more nuance, even more detail to the world that you all build together.”
Artist, Founder/Manager of Studio Q
Spotify: Big Soda on Spotify
“Qamp is a very open, accepting, and friendly environment. There’s a lot of encouragement and excitement being shared between the participants. It generally felt great to be there as a human being as well as an artist. Seeing the studio come to life makes me really happy.
I think complete-sounding music is rarely made by one person. Stevie Wonder and Prince aside, everybody needs critical producers and great contributing musicians to make something sound full. Casey and Marco do a great job of curating a pretty diverse skill set,” says Big Soda.
What’s Next for The Q and the Qamp project
We see co-collaboration in many ways in the Bay Area but what’s fun about Qamp is that there is very little pre-planning. Artists walk in with no book of lyrics or thumb drive filled with beats. They create on the fly together from breakfast until well after midnight during Qamp.
The album is coming on February 7th! Casey Cope is actively working on producing it with Marquito and once they are done, expect it to be available via all of the social media channels.
The Q and Qamp music can be found online here:
The Q and and the whole Qamp crew’s 2nd Album, as mentioned, comes out February 7th.