First of all… Thanks for your time…. I can imagine you are very busy and answering questions can be tedious…
2012 was quite a year for you and your label… with a remix for David Lynch’s “Pinky’s Dream”… how did this come about, and what does it mean for you?
We’ve all been fans of David Lynch for quite a while, so when this opportunity came up the term “dream come true” really was happening. The original is also not something we’re normally asked to remix which added to the fun. If I recall correctly our manager bumped into his in an airport and they wanted Seth to do it but Seth decided we should all do it together and so we had a go at it. We did have to bounce it back and forth to Lee in Chicago which I normally hate doing because then people are on different wave lengths but we didn’t have time to all be together so it was the only solution. All and all I was happy with what we were able to turn out.
For me it’s very special you remixed Violett back in 2006. It made me discover not only the Argentinean guys but also you lot, the new skool of Detroit. Back then it felt like the start of something new. Now we’re in 2012 it’s clear you’ve made a success of everything you were spearheading back then. How do you feel it’s gone and what kind of journey has it been for you personally?
It’s been a weird strange ride to say the least with a lot of ups and downs. We were pretty broke and busted upon arriving in Berlin but we slowly got some steam behind us and are doing quite well at the moment. Each of us has had their personal demons to battle at different times but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The whole journey so far has helped me grow so much as an adult I can’t even believe it. And we’re still in that infant stage!!!! The label is only two years old and although it’s not been a blockbuster type label we’re doing great. On top of that, we all haven’t been touring that long…maybe steadily for only 4 years. Very exciting indeed to see what the future holds in store!
Where do you live now, and where do you feel most connected with?
I bounce around quite a bit but am spending most of my time in Berlin and London, I’m also making more of an effort to visit my family in the States more. I’ve been away from home for about 5 1/2 years now but only in the past year I’ve really started to feel homesick. Not for America, but mostly my family. I’m watching my nephew grow up in pictures and it’s frustrating that I cannot be there more. I guess because of more travel I don’t feel too connected to any city but am trying to be more connected with my family.
Can you tell us about some of the artists you’ve unearthed through Visionquest. What kind of sound or esthetic are you looking for right now?
Tale of Us and Footprintz have been the two standouts in my mind that we’ve “unearthed” I guess you could say and while we may not be uncovering any unknowns at the beginning of 2013 a lot of the releases are from artists that are new to our roster… Terje Bakke, Wareika, Voigt & Volta and Subb-An will make their Visioquest debuts next year. Clarian (one half of Footprintz) will also be releasing an EP and an album. As everyone knows the aesthetic is always changing with us so I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.
How do you decide on the future releases?
Ha, umm. Some are no brainers and some we go back and forth. No fist fights just yet 😉
If it says ‘Visionquest remix’ on the package, who of you four is behind it? Or is it all four who get together in the studio? How do y divide responsibilities?
It really depends. I’m working all the time and I don’t mind transferring files over the internet to bounce ideas back and forth but some of the guys can’t handle it and it becomes a nightmare quickly. After the last go I think we’ve made it clear to each other that if 3 out of 4 can’t sit and do it together, it won’t be titled Visionquest. When we do manage to get together normally one person will be on the computer and the other two will be playing with synths on the side until a framework can come together. Once we have our basic framework it goes quite quickly and we can really flow on an idea. A basic rule is that If you’re sitting at the computer and you’ve got nothing going on, get up! Let someone else take a shot to keep things moving forward. Food/cooking breaks are also very frequent 😉
Tell us all about your album with Cesar. How did it come about, what does DRM stand for?
We have been longtime friends, and the situation just came together. The album idea really took shape after an EP we made for thesongsays didn’t come out due to complications with the distributor. That process took forever, so we just decided, “Hey, let’s work towards an album”. DRM is an acronym for “drum” and “dream” – both essential to us in making the music we make.
What kind of studio set up did you use, how did you work with Cesar?
We were using a mix of computers and hardware. We’ve both acquired a bit more kit since finishing in June so the next one together should have a slightly different sound although we want to continue recording live musicians and chopping them up. 90% of the work was done with us sitting in the same room together. Some bits I was travelling to London to work at his, some bits he was at mine in Berlin. I think that’s part of the reason it took us so long from when we actually decided to go forward with the album we weren’t down the street or a short train ride away.
If you had to define what you do, how would you sum it up? Trial and lots of error. Did you ever imagine as a child that you would be DJing all around the world?
I feel very fortunate to be doing what I’m doing with my life right now. Even when we moved overseas I wasn’t sure if it would pan out to where I could continue to live from DJing. At age four or five I told my parents I wanted to be a steam shovel operator. They probably weren’t too thrilled to hear that even though it was coming from a preschooler. Then about 20 years later I told them I was quitting the family business to move to Berlin to become a full time Dj, They weren’t too ecstatic about that either but they’ve been super supportive the whole way. That has meant so much. When times weren’t the best they were there too pick me up, that support has been everything.
Seth has just been voted number 1 DJ on the RA polls. Do the polls matter and do you personally take much notice?
I’m extremely happy and proud of Seth and all the success he has had in such a short period of time. Knowing him for over 10 years now, it’s been crazy to watch the transformation in his DJ career. But to me and the guys he still just plain old Seth and he’ll always be that to us, no matter what number he’s tagged with in whatever reader poll. A lot of people put too much stock into those end of the year, “best of” things. I understand how they can help a career or DJ fees or a booker but I’m pretty apathetic about them overall. There’s a limited number of electronic music publications and because of that I think too many people put too much stock in the opinions of these writers, whether it’s good or bad. Fan polls can be cool but then you find out that only England and Italy are voting so that’s not so accurate either. The bottom line is that no poll can ever tell you who the best DJ is, who the best live act is, label, track etc because everyone’s taste is different…and that’s a good thing.
How do you define success?
Being happy with yourself.
You’re finishing off 2012 with a gig at Cargo in London! Why is this a special night for you, and what kind of expectations do you have?
I really am hoping it’s special. New Years Eve can always be a bit disappointing but this will be my first in London and I know when friends have played London in the past on NYE they said it was great…so my expectations are quite high. Hopefully this years turn will prove to be just as memorable for us at Cargo as it was for my friends in past years.
What does 2013 have in store for you…?
Hopefully a bit more mental stability and more focus. I’d like to complete my solo album plus EP’s for Life and Death and Supplement Facts and get started on another album with Cesar. There are remixes in the cue of course. We’re going to launch the new Visionquest website hopefully by February which will include a lot more user interaction, podcasts, webshop and online MP3 sales. We’ve also discussed doing our own sample packs. Visionquest 13 will also be kicking off in late March (www.yourvisionquest.com).
Interview by Katrin Ritcher
Catch Ryan next at Cargo NYE presents: Post Apocalypse with Ryan Crosson (Visionquest), Omid 16B & Shane Watcha – Get Your Ticket Here / 8pm – 6am / 83 Rivington Street; Hoxton; London EC2A 3AY; United Kingdom