QWSTION + PETER KRUDER DJ PACK
Three creators from three distinct professions are united by common values and mutual inspiration. The result of their collaboration takes the form of a piece you can own – QWSTION’s limited edition DJ Pack.
DESIGN, MUSIC AND PHOTOGRAPHY
FIND COMMON GROUND
by Anna Dorothea Ker
"It all comes down to a feeling," muses Peter Kruder. The DJ, musician and producer is sitting tall, his presence at once commanding and relaxed. It’s a breezy, sun-dappled Saturday afternoon and we’re at QWSTION’s Vienna flagship store on Zieglergasse in the 7th District. Kruder is talking about his love for aesthetics with an uninhibited passion – the same passion that colours every project he undertakes, and motivates him to settle for nothing short of extraordinary. There’s a glint in his eyes as he speaks. "What I love about design," he continues, "is exactly the same as what I love about music: the influence that every decision has on each detail throughout the creation process, from the first tone you play in a song to the last. It’s exactly the same with design of a bag – the materials, the cut, the workmanship. It’s about how the individual elements come together."
MUSIC AND DESIGN
Coming together across disciplines is precisely what led Kruder to QWSTION. A long-time customer and friend of the brand, the electronic musical luminary – one half of Kruder & Dorfmeister, founder of G-Stone Recordings and general polymath – joined forces with QWSTION to create the DJ Pack, a backpack designed to cater for DJs who not only mix music digitally but also spin vinyl, keep a fast-paced schedule and travel frequently. The bag features a main compartment made to securely fit up to 40 records, one of which is already in there: A new and unique track composed by Kruder and hand cut on vinyl for this exclusive edition of 100 pieces. The campaign for the DJ Pack was shot by Vienna’s rising star of photography, Stefanie Moshammer. With her trademark aesthetic, characterised by her eye for the unexpected, Moshammer photographed Kruder in his Vienna studio, completing the creative trio and adding a vibrant visual dimension to the collaboration.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND MUSIC
Kruder had long known of Moshammer’s work – which has previously been exhibited at QWSTION’s Vienna store – and holds the photographer in high esteem. Her fast-ascending career sees her travel the globe for both client-based and self-initiated projects – the most recent of which, "Tomorrow of Yesterday," was published in the January 2018 edition of ZEITmagazin: A nine-page spread documenting faces and snippets of daily life in Haiti. Previous series have taken Moshammer to the favelas of Brazil ("Land of Black Milk, 2016") and the motels of Las Vegas ("Vegas and She, 2014-2015".) Whatever she turns her lens to – from everyday objects to high fashion, Moshammer’s eye for capturing motifs and moments otherwise overlooked, her sumptuous use of colour and the quietly candid nature of her compositions characterise her distinct visual language. Like Kruder, Moshammer’s packed schedule shows no signs of slowing down. Having just returned from Colombia, she’s barely back in Vienna for a week before her next trip beckons. Her solo show, "I Can Be Her," opens at contemporary photography gallery C/O Berlin in July 2018 as part of her receipt of their "Young Talent Award."
Two luminaries in their respective fields – how was it being on either side of the camera for the DJ Pack shoot? "In a very short amount of time Moshammer managed to create a photo that totally looked like one of hers – one that captured her unmistakable trademark aesthetic, colours and all," says Kruder. Moshammer was equally complimentary of her model: "He was fantastic to photograph. You could tell it wasn’t his first time in front of the lens – he had a certain composure. At the start of a shoot, I never know exactly how the photos are going to turn out, so I try different things spontaneously, and he was totally up for it." In this case, "it" included transforming a stack of chairs into an impromptu record stand, turning the DJ Pack on its head to meet Kruder’s, and the brilliant green wings of the DJ’s parrot.
THREE GENRES, COMMON GROUND
Though the DJ Pack’s three creators – QWSTION, Kruder and Moshammer – work in the distinct industries, there is more that unites them than might first meet the eye. Three elements in particular reveal the parallel threads running throughout each of their creative practices – ones that formed the basis of their partnership and led to the uniqueness of the final outcome: The backpack, its exclusive record and the campaign. There is their shared home city of Vienna, which provided the backdrop to the DJ Pack’s creation. Directly linked is the anti-hype attitude that prevails here, which strongly influences the creative processes of all three – as is their commitment to stepping back, looking at things from a different angle and asking how they could be seen, heard or felt differently.
"Vienna is my home," says Kruder of his relationship to the city. "I love it here – it has its own rhythm. Which is admittedly very slow. But that’s what’s great about it, especially for what I do: you can develop your work calmly and peacefully. You can take the time you need for it." It’s this atmosphere that keeps Moshammer, a long-time local, happy to come back between her travels, though she prefers to live a little outside the city centre. "I like that when I leave my apartment, every second person I meet isn’t someone I know," she says when we meet, laughing. "But I do spend a lot of time in the 7th [district], and I have to admit the coffee at Wolfgang is delicious." The café she’s referring to is part of QWSTION’s second flagship store, after Zurich, which opened in 2016 on Zieglergasse, in the heart of the 7th. Inspired by the work of the artist Donald Judd, the 195m2 space was designed on-site by the QWSTION team according to timeless, essentialist principles – underpinned by a hands-on approach that’s equally reflected in the creative practices of Moshammer and Kruder. In the words of the DJ, "There’s this great saying from an old Austrian TV show: "A real Wiener doesn’t sink." And that’s totally the case. We keep swimming. We don’t get caught in the rip tide. We hold tight to our values."
It’s this anti-hype attitude that sets the tone for the city’s creative rhythm – a common value that unites QWSTION, Kruder and Moshammer. Steeped in tradition and quietly self-assured, yet open to evolution, welcoming of the new. And highly conducive to creation: "I used to live in Paris and I love that city, but I couldn’t stand the hype," says Kruder. It’s like everything always needs to be fresh, the best, the hottest thing. And then two months later it’s all about something different. Those kinds of cities aren’t good for me, as I need a certain distance from everything to be able to create.” Much like the design principles upon which QWSTION was founded: An essentialist, non-seasonal collection, updated only as and when inspiration strikes, a new season calls for a different function, or an innovation breakthrough is achieved. Similarly, Moshammer’s way of working, her choice of subject matter and her trademark aesthetic are unaffected by current trends and passing fads. "When I started out, I never tried to please anyone or even aim for success," she notes – instead, success has found its way to her.
A CRITICAL APPROACH
Standing apart from the crowd and reassessing conventional ways of doing things takes conviction. Established upon the principle of questioning the norm, QWSTION’s design process is guided by a critical approach to common practices. Asking "Why is this done this way?" or "How can this be done differently?" provides a framework for innovation in material development, sustainability and new lines. For Moshammer, following her own interests while resisting the temptation to please others has helped her get to where she is today. "I think my teenage years, growing up in a punk subculture, have a lot to do with my attitude towards breaking boundaries," she says, "Because of course it was all about breaking the boundaries, both internal and societal ones." As for Kruder, staying critical involves judging the quality of his work based on whether it surprises him once it’s been created. "I’m always searching for the moment where I think, "I have no idea how I got here, but it’s exciting. I don’t release anything that doesn’t meet that standard," he notes. "That’s exactly how I think QWSTION works too." After all, whether it’s the addictive mood of a track, a photograph you can’t tear your eyes away from or a design piece that accompanies you every day, it’s hard to deny that the alchemy of creativity does come down to a certain feeling.