‘In deep space. Abandoned. Many crew? Negative.‘ That is the immortal line from the huge Space Manouevres anthem ‘Stage One‘, an exemplary piece of production which arguably defined the late-90′s and early-00′s progressive house scene.

John Graham played an integral part in that era, not only through the Quivver handle (check ‘She Does‘), but through monikers like the Space Manouevers, Skanna, Stoneproof and Tilt (from 93 – 2002). You might be even more blown away to learn about his work in Hollywood as a movie scorer: ‘The Taking of Pelham 123′, Twelve’ and ‘Shrek Forever After (2010); plus recorded music for video game trailers such as ‘Transformers’, The Call of Duty’ series and ‘Batman: Arkham City Riddler’. His credentials speak for itself, and of late a whole new generation is opening itself up to Graham’s talent.

Last year he became Beatport’s third-highest selling progressive artist with ‘Mumbo Jumbo‘ (it also went on to find itself in Beatport͛’s Top 10 best-selling progressive tracks at the end of that year). Released on Bedrock, it also became the label’s number one selling single of 2017. His new imprint, Controlled Substance, just celebrated it’s debut release with new Quivver track ‘Hype‘, which is certainly living up to its name: ‘Controlled Substance is already ranked 88th in the top progressive label on Beatport, after just one release – so it’s pretty hard to be disappointed with that.’ And it’s not hard to see why the label is charging to the front, ‘Hype‘ is an impressive piece of production.

With the news that Quivver will be doing the coveted closing set at the Rainbow Serpent Festival on his upcoming Australian visit, this mix should serve as the perfect primer of what to expect. This is deep, dark, and driving in equal spades.

Balance Selections Q+A : Quivver

John Graham




Alias/Producer names:
Quivver, Space Manoeuvres, Stoneproof, Skanna and Tilt

Labels affiliated with:
Controlled Substance, Tronic, Bedrock, Selador

My last 3 releases:

What music did you listen to as a child?

The first three songs I can remember hearing – or liking – are ‘Sailing’ by Rod Stewart, ‘Rocket Man’ by Elton John (these two were old 7 inch singles that my dad let me play (and totally wear out) on my fisher price turntable… and also Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ – which me and my brother used to play on repeat and play air guitar to. I would’ve been about 4 years old at this point and I can remember very little else from that age. I heard Sailing on the radio in the car recently (for the first time in probably 30 years) and it took me straight back to my early childhood – it immediately brought tears to my eyes.

The first album I bought (or someone probably bought for me) was ‘Kings of The Wild Frontier’ by Adam and the Ants when I was about 8 year old, which I’d heard about from my best mate, who’s older brother had it – this same friend’s older brother was later responsible for getting me into the ‘street sounds’ electro albums and early hip hop like Africa Bambaataa, Run DMC, Mantronix etc… I have a lot to thank him for!

When was the first time that you realized that you liked electronic music?

My older step sister was into Gary Numan and Japan, so guess it was all down to her really because those records really resonated with me. I remember the big moog synth part on ‘Are Friends Electric?’ was actually the first thing I ever taught myself to play on a keyboard (which was at school because I didn’t have one at home at that point). I also remember my dad playing Mike Oldfield ‘Tubular Bells’ and Jean Michelle JarreEquinoxe’ and ‘Oxygene’ when I was very young – both of which I loved…

When was the first time you saw a DJ in a club?

Aside from crappy town bars and nightclubs, the first time I saw proper DJ’s mixing in an underground venue was at a legendary UK club (which happened to be just down the road from me) the Eclipse in Coventry.  This was the place that changed my life. It was the first legal all night club in the UK (they weren’t allowed to serve alcohol but that didn’t matter at all). I remember seeing Carl Cox, Grooverider & Fabio, Sasha, Dave Seaman, Mickey Finn and many more DJ’s there when I was 18 years old.

Which producers/artists/acts inspire you?

There are so many but Massive Attack & Radiohead have created the soundtrack to a big chunk of my life… they’ve just made so much great music that is exactly on my wavelength.

What was the last album that you downloaded/bought?

I just downloaded a Badly Drawn Boy album from a few years ago because my wife was playing this song called ‘In Safe Hands’ and I was like ‘what the fuck is that ??!!’ I didn’t own any of his music until about an hour ago, which is mad as he’s been making successful albums since the 90’s ; weird how you can miss stuff like that. I also bought an Indie rock album by a new band called Shame a couple of days ago. Well worth checking out, the singer sounds a lot like Joe Strummer..

What is your current production and DJ set up like?
I DJ on CDJ’s and produce in Pro Tools. I’m just about to upgrade my setup actually. Last time I did it was about 8 years ago so it’s waaay overdue.  It’s gonna be an exciting next few months getting into all the latest toys :)

What releases do you have on the horizon?
My next release will be thesecond one on my new label Controlled Substance. The track is called ‘Hype’ and will be out on Jan 29th. Already had some great feedback from the likes of Maceo Plex, Danny Tenaglia, Rodriguez Jr, Chus, Bart Skillz, Secret Cinema, Timo Maas, Sharam and loads more. I was in two minds about starting another label at first, but am so glad I did now. Controlled Substance is already ranked 88th in the top progressive label on Beatport, after just one release – so it’s pretty hard to be disappointed with that.

Where can we hear you perform?
My next two gigs are in Australia, Friday 26th Jan for Motif at Sly Fox, Sydney. Then I’m closing Rainbow Serpent on Monday 29th and really looking forward to that ☺ Afterwards I’m heading back to the UK to play 303V’s after party with Henry Saiz in Liverpool, which should be another belter!

People should also check out my monthly radio show and podcast ‘Controlled Substance’ which is on its 33rd Episode. I’ve been helping emerging talent on my Facebook page by inviting them to send me their mixes and reposting the ones I like. Last month I decided to give up my regular slot on the show and hand it to one of the fans. People should be able to download ‘Elliot F’s mix from my Soundcloud (Controlled Substance 33) about now.

Tell us more about the podcast you made for Balance?
I did this mix in my studio on Ableton and created an unique intro and outro for. My new Quivver release ‘Hype’ is on there, plus some new stuff from Jerome Isma- Ae & Tone Depth,  Roberto Capuano, Andre Winter plus cool new vocal track from Dino Lenny & Fiberroot.

I spent a good few days curating new music and then took the best part of a day to create the additional production bits and craft the mix.


My Recommendations

The top track in my DJ wallet currently is:

If I could recommend only one of my tracks for you to listen to it would be:

My latest one ‘Hype’ – and it’s not a shameless plug either btw haha!  I’m really in to producing dark, hypnotic sounds right now. So this is the direction i’m heading in…

If I could recommend only one track for us to listen to it would be: 

Check out Tom Waits ’What’s he building in there’

My favourite Balance compilation is:
Loved Joris Voorn’s mix, was very impressive and I’ve been a big fan of his ever since listening to it! I saw him play at Global Gathering in the UK a couple of years after it came out. The lineup was stellar but he played the best set of the night.

The last movie I watched that I really liked:
Blade Runner 2049 – what an amazing experience! I never expected it to be as good as the original but it absolutely blew me away! Actually went to see it twice on the big screen which is something I’ve not done for years.

My favourite TV show:
Breaking Bad is by far the best TV show I’ve ever watched. It’s ridiculously good ! My current favourite is Stranger Things – am nearly at the end of the second season now and me and my wife have been trying ration ourselves to one episode every two weeks, so we don’t have to wait so long for the next season haha ☺

If I could choose anyone to compile a Balance comp it would be:
Would love to hear what Thom Yorke could do; you just know it would be something cool ☺


Quivver – Intro
Kermit’s Lodge – Shur-I-Kan – Lazy Days Music
Twelve Fortresses – Shlomo & AWB – Taapion
Jorgio Kioris – Linda – Movement
Alex O’Rion – The Sirenum Scopuli – Sudbeat
Dino Lenny & Fiberroot – Suddenly – Louder
Martin Landsky – Treat Me Bad – Still Hot
Several Definitions – Reborn After The Road (Marco Resmann Remix) – Still Vor Talent
Quivver – Hype – Controlled Substance
Jerome Isma-Ae & Tone Depth – Bloodmoon – Jee Productions
Spektre – Halcyon (Roberto Capuano remix) – Unrilis
Quivver – The Rat – Tronic
Quivver – outro