Note: Today was supposed to start a series of posts about taking a week off from the Internet, which I did. Anyway, that’s on hold. Because we lost Quinn. From interviewing and DJing to A&Ring and festival starting, he truly shifted the culture. And was wonderful while he did it.
Black people from Atlanta and Washington D.C. will eventually find each other. So it was no surprise that I eventually found my way into Quinn’s extremely wonderful world in my early 20s.
You see, one summer in middle school — I think 1999 — my dear friend Matt went to Japan for some program. When he came back, he was all “Japan was tight, but this dude Modi was arguably as tight, Final Fantasy this, Nobuo Uematsu that…”
A “new” friend, you say. I kept it moving.
Fast-forward to 2008. I’m in college, beginning to play around with the idea of being a writer. At that same moment, that name “Modi” started to pop up again, because of some blog. DCtoBC this, DCtoBC that. I checked it out. And then I bookmarked it.
Matt was right — Modi was arguably as tight as the country of Japan.
But it wasn’t just Modi — both he and Quinn had gone from Sidwell Friends in DC to Boston College and created this fluid, exciting media space together.
“DC to BC.” Fucking genius.
Everything about Quinn and Modi was what I wanted to be — they repped the home team, both away and at home.
And then, after college, they came back home. And kept building things, for us.
The context of this giant cultural experiment — 2011 and a generation of recession graduates, trying to stay afloat. But we’re doing it in our own beautifully batshit way — trying to contribute and participate, at the same time.
That was the beauty of the blog era — the vulturism was at an all time low — because it was a bunch of kids making and documenting the stuff they would have already been doing, for anyone (and increasingly, everyone) to see.
What was I doing? Falling into the musical/creative/cool kid orbit of Quinn Coleman.
The spaces Quinn played in felt like giant, sweaty, crunk hugs. Everyone was always so happy. And he made us feel like, for a few hours every week, we were the epicenter of everything.
This energy created the perfect moment for DCtoBC to evolve.
That scene I mentioned stumbling on — one that grew well out of DC — all comes back to Quinn and Modi and Marty.
They’d done what I thought was impossible — made D.C. feel like our homecoming location, our truest place to gather.
And then the next year, they turned that spirit of homecoming into a goddamn festival.
I wrote about Trillectro for Grantland back-to-back years, which was admittedly niche for a national publication. But it felt important. This wasn’t simply a timely act of putting the homies on — this was a true document of a culture, and a generation — one that is connected without the Internet, but grew up together online.
That’s what DCtoBC represented. They were us.
(On the cover of the Washington Post Style section, by Clinton Yates)
And when Quinn moved to Los Angeles, the impact was consistent with what came before. He was a champion of the right stuff.
Rembert Browne @rembertquinn and modi and marcel changed so many of our lives.
And few things were more necessary — on both coasts — than being surrounded by a Spicoli set.
Quinn was an extremely kind friend. He is also one of our true cultural architects. And for my entire adult life, it was a complete joy to watch him contribute so much to so many.