There's a new wave of Detroit techno talent coming to Winter Music Conference, and its name is Visionquest, a new label started by DJs and close friends Seth Troxler, Lee Curtiss, Shaun Reeves and Ryan Crosson. The Fab Four of futuristic music are gathering Friday at the Shelborne from 2 - 10 p.m., along with labelmates Benoit & Sergio, Footprintz and special guest Guy Gerber from Tel Aviv. The guys talked to Miami.com via email about their shows and concept behind their label.
What inspired the name Visionquest, and how does that relate to the label's musical mission?
Seth: Cubes, shapes, spaces, levels and dimensions of consciousness.
Shaun: We first started using the term Visionquest back when Ryan’s family had this holiday cabin up in the north of Michigan. The four of us used to go off on these retreats to make music and share ideas, go for long walks in the forest…
Ryan: The idea of the Visionquest has been something that dates back to the beginning of the evolution of man’s consciousness, and we are just realigning with it. The Egyptians did it, the Mayans did it - in many ancient civilizations, and some Amazonian and African tribes still present to this day, it is seen as a right of passage toward spiritual enlightenment.
Lee: Some tribes use it for healing purposes, but it’s usually a rite of passage involving an individual going alone into an unknown wilderness while fasting, seeking a vision or sign that will guide them in the future.
So why start a label?
Seth: We’ve been planning the label for several years now, ever since we used to throw the "Teshno" parties in Lee’s basement back home in Detroit. I think we came together on this because we wanted to hear more music that wasn’t being released.
Shaun: We all have wide tastes as far as music is concerned, and felt it would be nice to have somewhere to showcase those musical ideas that was also a place where we could put out our own music without limits.
Lee: We have been fortunate enough to have friends making the exact music that we felt the world was missing. Each release up to this point is literally coming from close friends of the group, which has really cemented everything as a family affair. For us, it's less about classifying and categorizing music but more about how we think the music can contribute to broadening perspectives and creating long-lasting material that people will connect to on a deeper level.
Ryan: The timing was right, and the ideas were there. In the end, it was more why not, it could be fun to make something special.
What kind of sound, mood or feeling are you trying to create through music?
Ryan: As electronic musicians, the influence and love for dance-floor oriented music will always be present. If the A side is pop, indie or folk, a dance- or club-oriented remix will most likely be on the other side, giving the music a chance to reach as many ears as possible. The concept is simple - to push musical boundaries and put out music we love while having as much fun as possible doing it.
What can we expect from your label show at the Shelborne?
Seth: We’re going to party like it’s MTV Spring Break with Dan Cortez and Gilbert Gottfried!
Lee: We couldn’t be more excited about the event in Miami. It’s a real honor to be invited to do a label party at the Shelborne, especially since the label is so young. It’s easily the best venue to throw a daytime pool party, and it will be the first proper chance for most people to properly check out the new talent that we’ve been pushing on the label.
Ryan: The producers of all three initial releases on the label - Benoit & Sergio, Footprintz and Tale Of Us - will all be making their U.S. debuts at the party, and we’re really pleased to welcome our long-time friend and collaborator Guy Gerber as a special guest. All four of these artists will be playing live, alongside the four of us, who’ll be DJing on four decks and a mixer.
What are your favorite memories of playing Miami in March?
Lee: I would have to say playing live at the Spectral party at Grass last year was a highlight. There was an amazing vibe outside that night, and everyone was right there with me throughout my set. Watching your friends dance their asses off to a set of entirely your own music is a pretty amazing feeling.
Shaun: The Get Lost party at the Electric Pickle and Supplement Facts boat party were both amazing last year.
Being from Detroit, what do you think of Miami?
Shaun: I’ve actually developed something of a taste for Miami over the past few years. It’s always great to come over after the awful winter and have some sun with so many friends from around the world.
Lee: Miami is a crazy place, the complete polar opposite of Detroit, really.