A quarter of a century after its birth in Detroit – ‘The Motor City’, the techno scene had all but stalled. Inspired by the ghosts of techno past four friends are breathing new life into the genre with their contemporary take on Detroit, House.
Seth Troxler, Ryan Crosson, Shaun Reeves and Lee Curtiss are four talented and innovative producer/DJs who grew up together throwing legendary parties in their hometown of Detroit. After stealing away to Berlin and forging successful solo careers the friends joined forces once again, together producing a string of celebrated remixes as Visionquest including that of Kiki’s ‘Good Voodoo’ in 2009, which became an instant underground hit.
Visionquest is a refreshingly perceptive label which transcends their techno roots and acts as a platform on which the four can share the music they love and are inspired by, such as current talents Tale Of Us, Benoit & Sergio and Footprintz. You can catch the boys in action on the forthcoming Fabric 61 spinning a selection “from music for clubs to music for life”, showcasing the sound of a Visionquest DJ as well as giving a flavour of the eclectic sounds of the label – mixing past and present tracks to tell their story.
i-D sat down with 3/4 of the VQ pie to chat cookery, underground pop and modular systems. Watch the film to catch a glimpse of their undying bromance…
How would you describe the genre of the Visionquest label?
ST: I sat with a journalist once at this party in Miami and we used the term ‘underground pop’. Art Department were playing and their sound seemed to fit to the term, and Wolf + Lamb and Soulclap and Hot Natured. Footprintz is out version of that, of underground pop. Songs with vocal structures, not really pop incentives, just vocal music that’s not specifically pop but what else could you really call it without being too nerdy about it. What we’re talking about is really contemporary dance music. We have a folk album coming out next year with three remixes. It’s like narrative cosmic folk, but it’s got awesome remixes.
What do you look for in an artist?
ST: Every artist that’s on our label we know. We’ll take demos and stuff, but you have to hang out with someone first. We have to really suss someone out because when you have someone on a label it’s a lot of support, it’s a lot of effort and we want to make sure it’s going to like minded good people.
How does producing together differ from your solo work?
RC: We pick each other up if something stalls, or if you were to work on something on your own and you’re going in this one direction and you’re working on it for four days and on the fourth day you’re like ‘whoa this sucks’, sometimes we catch it in the fourth hour as opposed to the fourth day. We’re getting four opinions instead of one and we’re not getting locked in to this one small element, and we’ve got four people so it moves things quicker and I think the quality thus far has been good from what we’ve been able to do. We’re going to start working on a remix for David Lynch. Well, Lee is already starting it.
ST: They say Two heads are better than one, but think about four! Maybe sometimes not better than two…
You guys get to play all over the world which three cities do you look forward to playing?
RC: London’s top three.
You’re not just saying that?
ST: No, I mean I live here.
SR: London, New York…
RC: New York used to be up there, but now it comes and goes with me. Sometimes I’m really excited for it.
ST: Paris was kind of awesome. We had a great time in Paris. Ibiza obviously.
ST: Tokyo was huge for me. Every city is my favourite city – that’s for the fans!
Do any of you have any interesting hobbies outside of music?
RC: Yeah we like to cook.
Really, what do you cook?
RC: BBQ, meat, we work with meat.
ST: I was actually the ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) cooking champion. They had this cook off against Aqua Viva, Dove Fire, Stafford Brother, they had an MTV show there and I was like “you’re about to get your ass whooped!”
What did you cook?
ST: Barbequed ribs with sweet potato mash and brussels sprouts. Game over, they didn’t stand a chance.
You’ve done the solo work, you’ve thrown some legendary parties and started your own label, what’s next?
SR: That’s long term. Concept parties is the next thing, changing the environment a little bit.
How do you plan to change the environment?
RC: Modular systems. Modular set-ups in interior systems. Pretty much.
The Fabric 61 Visionquest compilation will be released 5th December and you can catch Shaun Reeves at Fabric this Saturday, live streamed here.
Text: Hugo Allon