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Creating waves when it first launched in 2020, tech-led label MCQ continues to defy tradition with collaborative collections crafted by select creatives from its global community. In rejecting the mould of a single voice from a single creative director, MCQ is uniquely placed to craft capsules, aptly known as icons, that precisely capture the global zeitgeist and embody what community truly means in an increasingly connected world.
In pursuit of increased connectivity, insight and disruptive ideas, MCQ joins LN-CC in conversation with creative couple, DJ Object Blue and photographer Natalia. They discuss the importance of having your own independence when collaborating and why they don’t separate work from their personal lives.
What were your first impressions of each other?
Natalia: We went to the Tate Modern like the pretentious people we are.
Blue: And I was an hour late!
Natalia: I wasn’t bothered by it. I just wanted her to come. I messaged her saying, just arrive at some point, you know? It was great.
Obviously, something beautiful came out of that first meeting as you married shortly after. What came first for you in terms of love and work? And how closely linked were they?
Blue: Life came first. She said she was a photographer, so I asked to see her portfolio then I was like, “Okay that's it, I have to meet this person.” We’re both such artists, we don’t really know how else to live, I think we always brought that up from the beginning.
I read that you came up with the first minute of Ecstasy after meeting Natalia. Is that true or is it a music myth?
Blue: No, it's true, I wrote that on my laptop, and I wrote the first minute very quickly, it’s about us. I got side tracked by my first two EPs so it ended up becoming my third EP. The piece was when I first asked her to officially collaborate with me on something, because I was like, “nobody else should do the visuals for this”.
Natalia: Blue gave me full control, which was a gamble, I guess. We were together at this point and were already living together. So, if she saw something going wrong, I'm sure she could have just stepped in, but there was none of that. It was my first time working with someone who just wanted my work like that. Also, I just really hate teamwork, to be honest, that's the best kind of collaboration, when no one can tell me anything.
How would you say your collaboration has evolved since first working on the third EP?
Natalia: Initially, when we were working together, it was Object Blue releasing an EP and I’m just the one doing the visuals for it. Now, we've kind of transitioned into having these collective projects that we make together from the beginning. Us working on one concept from the very beginning shifts the dynamic because I approach the work before Blue has written anything, I think that changes the outcome. For me, it puts a bit more pressure on the way I communicate, because before I was doing my job and if there was something wrong with it was more on you. Whereas now, it's also my fault.
Blue: I'm very much, a lone wolf in the studio, I make what I make. I don't ask anyone for feedback, but Natalia felt we should make a show specifically for an AV booking we already had. I didn't want to do that, then she was like “but look what I'm making”, and I was like, “Okay, fine. This is amazing.” I would feel it was unfair if I didn't make something from scratch, because that's how much work she was going to do.
What kind of qualities do you most admire about the other person in terms of when you're working alongside one another?
Natalia: I was not an avid techno fan before I met Blue because I didn't know anything about it. Now I think it's the most cutting-edge music. I enjoy working with someone who isn’t as anxious as I am, if we work together, I know it will always be fantastic and won’t tarnish my creative work.
Blue: When I met Natalia, she was working this 9-5, soul-crushing job but still made time for art. It's hard to meet such self-motivated, self-organised people in creative fields. I haven't really met someone who is as much of an artist as Natalia [is].
How do you balance working together and being in a relationship? How do you draw the line, or do they bleed into one another because you work within the same space?
Natalia: I don’t think we draw a line. When you’re sitting with your wife you want to talk about something interesting, right? For me, the most interesting thing is what I’m working on.
Blue: I don't talk about my work that much because I don't really like talking about my music making, it's such a non-verbal process for me. When I've dated people who were interested in art but weren't artists. They would always make fun of me for being this eccentric, annoying person, but I don't have to worry about that with her.
How important is it that you like one another’s practice?
Natalia: There’s nothing sadder than dating someone if you don’t like their art. There are so many moments in a relationship where you have to give space to people's intricacies. If you add art that you can't 100% stand by, it just gets harder and harder.
Blue: I would find it hard to date them. In a relationship you want to provide emotional and personal support, having to support their work if I didn’t like it would be so dishonest. Natalia is the conceptual backbone of all our collaborations, she comes up with things that I would never even dream of.
That’s the beauty of good collaboration, right? Knowing that you can trust the other person to create something that is better than what you could do alone. Really looking forward to seeing what you both do next.