Ellie Hewitt, London - United Kingdom - on 26/7/12
Ryan Crosson, took a little bit of time from sweating in this profuse heat in his studio in London to talk about Visionquest at DC10 this Summer and his forthcoming album. Pulse’s Ellie Hewitt found out about Visionquest as a band of brothers, how the process of the new album was like that of an onion, not mixing your food groups for health and longevity, the future of music become a seriously sensory experience and most importantly, whether she’d like to be in the Visionquest government.
Tell us about DC10 this Summer and the vibe on the island? What are your other favourite clubs? I’ve been in Ibiza for the last three years, but to be honest I’m very in and out when I’m on the island, I go to play, there isn’t that much time for anything else. I have to say that definitely this year the island seems to be particularly immense, people are just so ready for it, a party shut one night and everyone was still roaring for more half an hour after they’d shut off the music off. DC10 is always amazing.
Visionquest as a group, is there any hierarchy or are you a band of brothers? Definitely a band of brothers, very relaxed vibe, there is no hierarchy, we all respect whoever opens and take turns, obviously Seth’s the biggest name but it’s not like that amongst each other; we’re all equals!
So when you party do you party hard as a collective? We’ve definitely toned it down a bit recently, however I think our partying vibe would still be pretty over the top for most! We like to have fun, but you know, when we’re playing we take it very seriously, it’s our lives.
Top Summer tracks for DC10 and this Summer generally? Magit Cacooon and Popsled – Higher Point, every time I play this it just absolutely goes off! Fabio Alampi – Escape (Alan Fitzpatrick K’dup Remix) and the forthcoming Lee Curtiss of course, absolute banger. There’s a lot of important stuff coming out on Visionquest, we’ve got amazing gifts from Laura Jones, Benoit and Sergio, Lee Curtiss.‘Teen Collection Hot Jam 96’ has just come out on Beatport, some winners from Lauren Lane, Jaw, Qbeck and Clarain.
So where are you based at the moment? Any plans to move back to Detroit? I’m mainly based in Berlin and London, my girlfriend lives in London and I have a little studio set up here and in Berlin. I can’t really see myself moving back to Detroit any time soon; if I was going to go back to America it would be Chicago, as my brother's moved there now and has a little baby. I mean, I might go back to Detroit for a bit of down time, maybe listen to some hip hop and have a break from it all. But a lot of my friends who I grew up with in Detroit have moved away from their now and I’m not sure there’s as much of a scene in the same way as it was. America’s concept of dance music right now is pretty odd, I’m not sure what’s really going on there. The whole ‘electronic dance music’ EDM thing I find kind of strange, I don’t really get it, it’s very far removed from the roots of what I think of dance music, of house, soul, techno - what is really rooted from Chicago/Detroit. I was reading something about deadmau5 the other day, it all seems a bit unnecessary. So no, to get back to the question I don’t think I’ll moving on a permanent basis to Detroit, I see myself staying in Europe for the next ten years.
What are your thoughts on the GEMA laws, the potential shutting of Berghain and the ripple effect? I mean, at the crux of it all GEMA is essentially a tax levy, a bigger charge to the clubs and I know that Berghain has a huge pull, so I don’t see it immediately affecting the big club havens in the short term. It’s not going to be an immediate thing, but the point is that the little guys will take a hit. The thing that I don’t understand is that for over 20 years a huge part of the economy in Germany has been contributed to by the nightlife, by partying; to take it away would be both ridiculous and stupid of the government if they allow it to go through. But you know, music will happen, if it’s not in Berlin then it will just move somewhere else and the German government will be like ‘oh shit… hey where did it all go’. But it’d be sad to see the place take a hit.
So if you were president/prime minister of a country are there any laws you would pass? [Laughs] Great question, well I don’t know let me see. I’m not sure I could take power by myself.
What about a Visionquest Government? [Laughs} Yeah absolutely! Some mandatory day parties maybe, compulsory music sessions. Would you like a position in the Visionquest government?
Absolutely, let me know as soon as you take power. So on that tip, you’re pretty hardworking, how do you relax? You know what, I don’t relax that easily, I’m a pretty highly strung guy. I work really hard because I love it and that’s what I do. But as I get older I am trying to chill out a bit more, do some fishing, golfing, walk in the woods, festivals, going and see a show with some friends, party. I’m looking forward to a week on the beach in a bit, it will be nice to chill out. Oh food, I love food to relax with.
What kind of food? Cuisine as a whole, I’ve got to go with Italian, but Sushi is also a massive winner for me. I’m reading a book at the moment actually about health and longevity, not mixing food groups, getting your carbs and your protein sorted out, digesting stuff properly. I mean meat and potatoes does seem like the greatest idea in the world, but it’s totally not.
So you make an effort to try and create fresh sound, keep away from the predictable underground circuit as it were, how do you see music progressing for you and how do you create original material? I mean, everything’s been done before, but sounds do change and progress, look what synthesizers have done to music. I see music progressing to become a more sensory experience, utilizing more of touch and eyes maybe, I’m not entirely sure how yet, I think the way you view music with your eyes will change, I’ll keep you posted. For me, when I’m looking for inspiration I do turn to the past, I’ve been listening to a lot of Ambient, a lot of Jazz, some Rock. The only thing I don’t listen to actually is country. Maybe I should listen to some country? Maybe not.
The new album is out soon, in October and, well, we started out with a concept, which is important to have, you need a focus, but there was a lot of room for growth. For example I’ve been working with a friend of mine who plays a lot of instruments, flute, saxophone, piano, absolutely everything he’s classically trained. We would give him a small percussive element and a concept and he would turn it into this immense composition. Then another friend of mine is a vocalist and she came and she put a whole new couple of spins on things, all very chopped up this stuff, with different tones; you need that initial focus to constrain it slightly though. But yeah, it started off as a concept but then had lots of little parts added to it. Lots of layers.
Like an Onion? Exactly. Just like an Onion.
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