Visionquest: 3 Of A Kind
From dance floor bombs, to deep techno and avant-garde pop albums, Visionquest has consistently been an ideology, label and DJ group at the forefront of the underground electronic music scene, with a reputation for quality, future thinking records and sets of mysticism and intrigue. The trio is comprised of three long standing friends and well respected DJs and producers: Ryan Crosson, Lee Curtiss and Shaun Reeves. Each individually spending time throughout their careers in some of the musical meccas of the world including Detroit, Berlin and Chicago, their backgrounds and friendship combine to form the electronic super group, with an outlook and knowledge on music to be rivalled by few.
2014 has seen Visionquest collectively tell their journey like story to crowds in Mexico and Ibiza at their own Super Pleasures events, as well as individually captivating audiences at some of the most talked about parties like Music On and Ants.
Former member Seth Troxler took a well-publicised step back from the label at the end of 2013 to focus on his own work. Without Seth, the label has continued to grow in stature, with the launch of digital sub-label Brachtune, a vinyl only Visionquest Special Edition project and successful LPs and singles from artists such as Chaim and Rework.
We took some time before their recent Fabric takeover to speak with Ryan and Lee to discover the inner workings of the label, the new sub-labels and what we can expect from them going into 2015.
How has summer been so far for Visionquest?
R: Summer’s been good, very hectic but it’s been good, we’ve been around Europe a lot this year, with the Music On shows and playing at We Love Space. It’s been very positive; July was pretty busy doing festivals as Visionquest. It’s been pretty cool!
You play Fabric tonight; do you still regard it as being one of the best places to play in the UK?
L: Fabric is honestly one of the first places that gave us our start. Longevity makes the club so special. So many clubs have come and gone in the time that we’ve been travelling and DJing. It’s one of those clubs that people can consistently know, where they can catch the best up and coming people that have been making waves in music in the electronic music scene.
We came from the same school of thought as the rest of the people we were playing around in Detroit when we were younger. There are always new records and new artists, but Fabric is less about hype and more about music, and that’s the kind of the thing we learned and looked up to when we were becoming DJs and producers, there could be hype around names, but as long as you’re delivering quality music, that’s all that matters. That’s what Fabric is really about.
Do you still see the UK at being at the forefront of the electronic music scene?
R: I think it is for a certain sound, I think it’s at the forefront because there’s so much going on that crosses over. It’s one of the most important hubs in the world for a lot of different music with electronic associations, look at hip-hop and dubstep for example. But I think there’s a definite UK sound you can associate with house music. There’s that garage phase that’s still going on, there’s certain deep tech bass sounds.
For these kinds of sounds there are a lot of people that are active and involved with publications. There aren’t many dance music publications so a lot of stock is put into the likes of Resident Advisor and yourselves and a lot of the people in these publications are from the UK, US or Australia. It is a focal point of electronic music; the electronic publications help it along because I think the UK is very interactive, they don’t just follow, there’s a lot of heads. It creates hype.
You have been together as Visionquest for nearly ten years now right? Do you still enjoy playing together as much as you ever have and what do you think has been the key to holding you together for that period of time?
L: Yes, it’s still great. Due to us all being so busy and playing on our own quite a bit it’s actually very nice when you get to see your friends and we’ ve had a really good unity with music recently. Our sets have been stronger and stronger; we play it differently every time. We all play at different times depending on our mood and what we’re feeling and we’ll meet beforehand if we have time to go over some stuff and trade some music and say have a listen to this, this is what I want to play tonight. We’ll meet after dinner, or go back to our hotel rooms and get on the same page. I think personally that our DJ performances at the three of us have gotten stronger this year. There’s always critiquing, especially with DJ sets, you can always choose one track that would’ve been a little bit more perfect, but there couldn’t be much better than getting to work with your best friends every day. The travel is tough and it is a bit of a bitch being away from your friends and family and being delayed at airports, but as soon as you put a record on and cheers your friend that disappears.
R: We haven’t gotten sick of each other yet! We still enjoy working and touring together as much as we ever have. The general friendship is great, we’re looking to do a live set up in the future, that’s going to be a new test for us, and it’ll be a new way of working together and performing. But that friendship has carried us this far, there’s been ups and downs, there’s been the stuff with Seth but we’re still here. The togetherness is real, there’s nothing manufactured about it.
L: We don’t plan our sets, if you have to program your sets you might as well work at McDonald’s. The mood and the vibe, people respond to differently every time in different cities. If you’re just pushing play, you’d be like a walking movie. Part of the reason you go out to see DJs is that you never know what you’re going to get. We’ve all got our different knowledge of years and years of listening to this music. We’ve been listening to this stuff for over 15 years. We’ve known each other for maybe a decade, 9 years.
Where do you draw your influences from?
L: We all have insane music collections, whether they be vinyl, MP3 or otherwise. I’ve got a decent vinyl collection of hip-hop and 80s and 90s stuff, famous rock albums. Shaun has got an incredible collection of deep techno and German stuff from the years he was living in Berlin before we got there. Ryan’s record music collection is extremely vast; he’s into crazy types of jazz, experimental and ambient stuff.