Portland’s Graham Jonson just turned twenty years old. For the past eight years, Jonson has established himself as a producer under the name quickly, quickly, collaborating with ANH, Jak Bannon, dilip, oxthello, and most recently, Verzache and Mr. Carmack. There is a precision and sagacity to his production that extends beyond tranquil lo-fi hip hop––quickly, quickly is creating a mature, genre-bending sound that will undoubtedly turn him into a household name.
At age two, Jonson learned to play the piano. “Two was when I wrote my first song,” he said. “It was called ‘The Baby Song,’ and it was probably, like, three notes.” His mother told him not to “hit” the notes, but rather use individual fingers to play. A decade later, in the seventh grade, Jonson was singing in a band called Segue. Since it was consistently spelled incorrectly, Jonson brought up the name quickly, quickly, but none of his bandmates agreed that it would work for them––so he took it for himself.
His 2018 EP Over Skies, released via 823 Records, contains minimal samples and is entirely the product of his own intricate construction. While performing his track “Swingtheory” live for Red Bull Music, you cannot gloss over the fact that quickly, quickly’s sophistication and focus undoubtedly creates a gift for listeners: music that sounds effortless, but is inherently complex.
His most streamed song on Spotify, “Getsomerest/sleepwell,” includes a sample from Alan Watts, a British philosopher who advocated for the emergence of Eastern spirituality in the Western world. Watts’ words mirror the seemingly simplistic, yet transcendent nature of Jonson’s music: “Just as you don’t know how you manage to be conscious…you don’t know how the universe shines the stars, constellates the constellations, and galactifies the galaxies…that doesn’t mean to say that you aren’t doing it in just the same way as you’re breathing without knowing how you breathe.”
When Jonson first started making beats as a young teenager, he wanted to emulate Mr. Carmack. “I was like, man, I need to sound like Mr. Carmack,” he recalls. “He’s a really prolific producer.” This March, quickly, quickly made a full track with Mr. Carmack, alongside Verzache, dilip, and Jak Bannon, to name a few. His artist residency with Future Classic was set to begin in March as well, but was cut short when COVID-19 precautions sent him home to Portland.
Slated for a release later this year, quickly, quickly’s new album is going to be a vocal album, complete with his own organic instrumentation. Jonson had previously completed the entire album in Los Angeles––then moved back to Portland, and told himself, “Nah, this isn’t good enough.” Post-remake, quickly, quickly took to Twitter to note that “beat purists” may not like the new album. “I’m playing live drums, and live piano, not too many samples,” he notes. As a producer who is currently listening and calling on Gunna, Mdou Moctar, Brazilian music from the 70s, and psychedelic rock as inspiration, the prospect of an intensely different sound from a producer with proven talent is enticing.
Looking towards the future, quickly, quickly hopes to put together a live band, make more beat albums, and release more vocal albums, too. When asked about his vision of the next five years of his life, he concluded that, hopefully, it will include making more music. “It’s kinda the only thing I’m good at. So I hope it continues.”