Ryan Crosson, one of the founding members of Detroit-based record label Visionquest, has taken to the international platform by teaming up with Berlin's Cesar Merveille of Cadenza team fame. Yesterday, November 19th, marked the release of this dynamic-duo's album DRM, it also goes down as the label's first ever full-length LP release.
The album is an amalgamation of both Merveille and Crosson unique styles. Mixing elements of jazz, funk, pop and soul, DRM showcases a very distinct form of dance music from these two. The nine-track record is supremely refined, taking you on a euphoric and reflective journey in somewhat of a forest-like surrounding. One can almost get lost in the depth of each track. This is truly an uplifting production that is sure to have listeners exploring a multitude of sounds.
In light of the release, we caught up with Merveille and Crosson to tell us more about their record, the current state of EDM culture and where things are headed.
In America its a bit harder because dance music is finally getting a lot of attention but in the wrong way. I dont like the projection of dance music in mainstream America. That article in Rolling Stone was awful in my opinion.
The record label has been around for a couple of years now and this is Visionquest’s first ever artist album. Tell us a little about it. Why has it taken so long for the label’s first album to be released and what made you want to release the album now? How do you feel about it?
I actually don't think it's taken that long. Our label launched in February 2010 so that is under two years before we did an album. We've tried to take our time and take steps when we felt were right. It's not everyone’s way but that's all right by us. Next year we'll have four albums for sure, possibly a fifth but no more than that. We're a bit stuck for committing to too much at the moment and it would be smart to pull back for a second. You don't have to sign every cool track that comes your way. For this album in particular it had been a long time coming. Ces and I have always lived in different cities and that can slow the process immensely—especially if we're not setting aside a full two weeks or more without gigs to nail down different pieces of the puzzle. It was a great journey though. We're very happy with the end result and are already contemplating another long player.
Ryan, how did your collaboration with Cesar come about? What have been some of both of your influences, artist-wise, for this album? I listened to it a couple of nights ago and thought it was fantastic. It has a very unconventional style to it. What’s the bigger message you are trying to communicate with it?
The collaboration between Cesar and I was just something that happened after being friends for a while. He booked me for my first party in Europe in London back in 2006. Since then we've become closer and closer friends. Originally we were supposed to do a three track EP for TheSongSays but things weren't going so well at the time for the label so they had to pull out. Afterwards we thought it could be a good idea to turn the three tracker into a full length LP. We both like jazz and fell into some musique concrete and most of the LP is based around those two styles. It's just sort of the way it fell together. What came out on this album was just natural to us, it just so happens that it doesn't fit with the popular sound of right now but I think it's perfect for right now, the sound is gonna change again soon but we feel this album is timeless. It's not a part of a current trend. Most of the music on the album isn't for a dancefloor and that was quite intentional. Making tracks without beats and plenty of layers is quite enjoyable, I think it offers much more freedom and more emotion can come out.
Is Cadenza and Visionquest going to be doing more collaborative projects like this together?
I can't say if the labels will be doing much on a grander scale, like parties or events, but we've already released music from Mirko Loko on Visionquest who is a big part of Cadenza...hopefully we'll be getting an album from him as well. Cesar and I will definitely be doing more together on both Cadenza and Visionquest. There's been talk of Ces, Lee and I doing a split EP under our own names on Cadenza but that is just talk for the moment. The three of us have completed a side project called “Sweat Shop Boys” and the first EP under that name will be out on Leftroom in 2013. It will be completely different than DRM.
If youre involved with an inbreeding of artists things will get extremely stagnant and tired. Were guilty of that to some degree and it bothers me quite a bit actually.
What is the future of the underground scene? Do you like where it’s at currently? Are there possibilities for it to grow like the mainstream EDM stuff? What do you think will benefit for the scene to gain more popularity out here in the US.
Not sure about the future of the underground scene. People are out of work and that can put a hindrance on the clubbing scene or at least some of the people you want involved in the clubbing scene. There's the GEMA thing but I’m not so sure that's going to hit as hard as people are projecting, maybe I'm wrong. But the good thing is that I think underground music of any type/genre will adapt, evolve and survive in some capacity. More and more young people are finding electronic music and that is positive as well. I don't think the underground will fade away any time soon in Europe. In America it's a bit harder because dance music is finally getting a lot of attention but in the wrong way. I don't like the projection of dance music in mainstream America. That article in Rolling Stone was awful in my opinion. The underground will benefit somewhat from the current mainstream EDM thing but will the bigger mainstream EDM last? If so, how? What genre of dance music will continue on and spawn something else? Will mainstream America get completely tired of it once mainstream rappers ditch synth lines and auto tune, who knows? Rich, Dice and a few others are on their college tour now. I'd like to speak with some people who have gone to the panels (not spoken at them) to catch their reactions and to see if they feel that this tour has been accepted and is helping forward underground music to a wider audience. Also, how were the parties during the CNTRL tour? Were the people enjoying a unique experience linked to underground dance music and was that unique experience enjoyable? I admire Rich for taking on a tour like that because it could easily go south and not represent what most of us do week in and week out but he's always been one to push things. If he can use his status to help further underground music to younger people on the edge of that EDM commercial crowd and hopefully turn some heads this way that would be great. Wow, rambling here. This answer was approved by people with ADD everywhere.
Could you identify three emerging artists that you think the public should be aware of?
The Das: electronic rock that can be way out there at times. I believe they are currently working on an album for Life and Death. I hope we can secure a remix from them for Visionquest for Dinky's album.
Terje Bakke: He's been around for a few years now but is still not where his potential could take him therefore I still consider him emerging. He was finishing exams for the past few months and took some time off (smart move) to make sure he was focused on his finals. He has a heavy percussive sound to his tracks and they are always fun to mix.
Bill Patrick: In 2013 the long time DJ will finally release his studio debut. Watch-out-kids!
Ryan, what compelled you to start Visionquest?
We started our label with the hope of presenting music and a certain artistic aesthetic that we think is special to a wider audience. I think we've done a decent job to this point but there's always room for improvement and we will continue to grow and offer more to the people who support our label. I'd like to have more artists’ specific to our roster as opposed to floating around between 2 or 3 labels that people automatically lump together. If you're involved with an inbreeding of artists things will get extremely stagnant and tired. We're guilty of that to some degree and it bothers me quite a bit actually. As stated in the first question, our label is still less than two years old. We have a lot more to do.
What are your future prospects looking alike? Possible tour perhaps?
Future prospects in terms of gigs or releases? I'm always touring on my own but hopefully I am able to do more with Cesar in 2013 and hopefully will return to having a few dates a month with Shaun Reeves. With Cesar, our respective agencies couldn't pull off much in 2012 for some reason, which was disappointing, but I think the next year will be better. We've discussed arranging a live show but that has to be practiced heavily in order to tour it properly. We'd like to have some musicians from the album tour with us on multiple dates and also do more recording with session musicians before we'll actually take things on the road. Visionquest will be doing 13 shows in 2013 at various festivals and venues. We'll be having additional production and lighting to create more of a unique experience and hopefully be able to insert artists from the label along Seth, Shaun, Lee and myself.
Pick up DRM via iTunes here.
02. Pending (Feat. Arthur Simonini & Kate Simko)
03. Again & Again (Feat. Greg Paulus)
04. No Hassle
06. At the Seams (Featuring Banana Lazuli & Arthur Simonini)
09. The Day You Left