Audeze talks with songwriter, producer, and engineer Kaleb “KQuick” Rollins

December 05, 2022

Audeze talks with songwriter, producer, and engineer Kaleb “KQuick” Rollins

Kaleb “KQuick” Rollins is a MultiPlatinum Grammy-nominated songwriter, producer, and mixing engineer born and raised in the Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts who currently resides in New York City and works at Republic Records Studios in Chelsea.

A graduate of the Clive Davis Institute at NYU, KQuick has worked with artists including J Cole, Alessia Cara, Ari Lennox and Jon Batiste. Alongside his production partner Marc Soto as the duo ClickNPress he has also written and produced songs for numerous film and television projects, as well as major albums. KQuick has played a role in multiple Billboard #1 projects, three Grammy-Nominated albums, won two JUNO Awards and has been a part of over a dozen platinum and gold records.

As an Avid and Dolby-certified mixing engineer in the new Dolby Atmos Music format, KQuick has been busy re-mixing records for artists such as Smokey Robinson, Mariah Carey, Daniel Caesar and many more. He is constantly finding ways to stay innovative in music creation and is excited for the future.

 Kaleb “KQuick” Rollins in the studio with his Audeze LCD-X headphones

"Audeze headphones have been a valuable addition to my work flow especially in my Immersive mixing due to the clarity and sense of space they provide."  - Kaleb “KQuick” Rollins
Here's our chat with KQuick:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

I'm particularly proud of my involvement in the Dreamville album "Revenge Of The Dreamers III" that was nominated for Rap Album Of The Year at the 2020 Grammy Awards. That project was particularly special because I was able to land a nomination alongside some of my longest collaborators. The process of creating the album was such a meaningful experience and to see it be recognized at the highest level was a truly validating moment I'll never forget.

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

I am a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to my role on projects. I produce, engineer and write, so most projects I work on tend to lean on some degree of each of those aspects of my skill set.

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

My father is an amazing musician and I grew up watching him conduct orchestras, choirs and compose original music. I kept a watchful eye when he was working and to this day attribute my ear and love for music to him. In high school a couple of friends of mine owned a drum machine and that's what started my curiosity for production. Growing up I listened to the local hip hop and r&b station constantly and my parents would play old school soul and classical in the house. As I got older I started listening to more genres like pop and dance but still keeping close to my love of hip hop/r&b.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

I spent a summer as an apprentice under Ryan Leslie when I was in college and that was a pivotal moment in my career. I remember him asking if I wanted to lock in that summer but I told him I couldn't afford the NYU student housing to stay on campus. He left and came back to the studio and tossed me a stack of about $5,000 cash and said "That should cover it, let's rock!" I'll never forget that summer because in learning from and creating with Ryan I landed my first
major credits (You Be Killin Em - Fabolous) and first Grammy-Nominated album (Graffiti - Chris Brown).

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

My production partner Marc and I (as the duo ClickNPress) have written a lot of music for film and TV and a frustrating aspect in the past is thinking you have a solidified spot in a project only to see the film or TV show come out and not see your work. There are so many factors that go into choosing music for sync and when I was younger I would think that just because there's paperwork or the director loves the song for a scene doesn't mean it will end up in the final version. These days I manage my expectations a lot better and know that this is a creative industry where things are constantly changing so I get less upset about those kinds of bumps in the road.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

I wouldn't say there's a particular piece of gear I turn to most but there are a bunch of plugin companies I love. Fabfilter Pro Q3, DS and ProL2, Avid Lofi, Soundtoys Bundle, UAD (too many to name), and Seventh Heaven seem to be recurring favorites as well as my Neve Orbit 5057 summing mixer.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

My advice would be to never take business decisions personally and treat everyone with the same respect and attention. That alongside an unhealthy obsession of getting better daily will take you far.

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

I'm constantly checking my mixes in headphones. The majority of consumers listen to music in headphones so it's important for me to know what they are hearing. In mixing in Dolby Atmos this is most important because the high majority of listeners do not have the luxury of setting up a 7.1.4 speaker system in their house, so headphones are a big part of my workflow before delivering an immersive mix.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work?

Audeze headphones have been a valuable addition to my work flow especially in my Immersive mixing due to the clarity and sense of space they provide. Now, when I check mixes in headphones I can be assured that I'm making accurate changes rather than just guessing as to how they will translate to speakers.

Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

I had the pleasure of mixing a few classic projects newly released in Dolby Atmos: Boyz II Men Greatest Hits album, Mariah Carey’s “Emancipation Of Mimi” and “Merry Christmas” albums (including the seasonal cult classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You”).

I've also recently finished a few classic catalog projects that are being re-released very soon in spatial audio so stay tuned!

 Kaleb “KQuick” Rollins Audeze LCD-X headphones