Ryan Crosson (Visionquest): “Whoever said ‘House music’s most lucrative supergroup’ couldn’t have been speaking about us or else they need to get their head examined”

Ryan Crosson is one quarter of famous record label and producer group Visionquest. He is also well-known for his own productions. We spoke with Ryan about his latest release on My Favorite Robot Records, Detroit and what he thinks about people who call Visionquest „House music’s most lucrative super­group“.

Ryan Crosson

trndmusik: Ryan, your latest release on My Favorite Robot Records (MFR) is in stores since a few days. You contributed two remixes to Tim Greens “Helpless Sun EP”, which are very different to the original tracks by Green. One remix is called “Mood Vocal Remix”, the other one “Ambient Remix”. The first one is quite slow compared to your other releases and also quite melancholic. And the ambient style of the second remix is something you and the others like to put into your DJ Sets when you perform as Visionquest and is also significant for your Album „DRM“, released in 2012. How did you get the idea for the remixes, why did you decide to produce two remixes and how did you work on it (which tools did you use)?

Ryan Crosson: It always helps to have great parts, clean, well-EQ’d parts. So things were off to a great start there because Tim gave me a lot of ammunition from the original to work with. He had an excellent vocal sample that I was able to snip up and use and also some atmospheres and FX that were the focal point in the ambient mix. I enjoyed the two- remix format because sometimes they can overlap as one can be a main part of another. Similar to a DJ tool remix.

trndmusik: You have been living in Berlin for quite a few years. One of your most known productions has been a cooperation with Tale of Us, who also moved to Berlin. How did the city affect your productions? You once said in another interview that your aim as a musician is “to get better with synthesis. Creating a composition of sound, whether it’s for a dancefloor or not.“ What’s the status on this so far?

Ryan Crosson: Slower than I’ve hoped, but better than it was. I really fell in love with doing stuff behind the main crux of a track: atmospheres, quirky noises. So that part, some would say the easy part, I’ve got a hold on. I’ve never been one for life changing hooks but sometimes they come together. My good friend Cesar turns me on to some modular pieces which are going to be my next step. The more hands-on I’ve become over the years, the happier I’ve been with the results. This will be the next step and I think it will yield some positive results.

trndmusik: As Berlin is one of the most important cities for electronic music: My impression, living in Berlin since three years, is that it is always seen as creative and interesting but in fact there are only a few outstanding producers and even less outstanding DJs. Most of the stuff here seems to be the same. You have been living in Berlin since many years. How do you like the scene here?

Ryan Crosson: Hmm, that’s tough to answer. I think there are a ton of great producers and just as many DJs in Berlin, if not more. I would say the city has a specific sound to it overall and depending on what venue you go to, even those can sometimes have a particular sound which could make going there a few times a bit redundant, but I think there is a hell of a lot of talent in the city. Maybe I was a bit more lustful with Berlin when I first moved there years ago and thought a bit more highly because it was new and fresh to me but the scene in Berlin still has plenty to offer.

trndmusik: Seth Troxler, Shaun Reeves, Lee Curtis and you are running the well­-known record label Visionquest Label since 2011. If you look back, are there any mistakes you made and expectations that didn’t come true? Or are the four of you „house music’s most lucrative super­group“ as mybeatfix.com wrote?

Ryan Crosson: Good God! Shit loads of mistakes, tons!!!!! But that’s how you learn. For as many things that have gone our way, we’ve plenty that have not and that’s alright. Even when I think back and say “FUCK! Why did we do that? Or, Why didn’t we do this?”, if we had, maybe we wouldn’t be in such a positive situation at the moment. Mistakes are only bad if you don’t learn from them. As for expectations… in my mind, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, I never expected to be where we are at now, which by no means is anywhere near huge or amazing in the grand scheme, but we’re happy with what we’ve accomplished with the label and with our own individual careers over the past 7 years. I still can’t believe it’s been 7 years since we moved over from the States! Jesus! Lastly, whoever said “house music’s most lucrative supergroup” couldn’t have been speaking about us or else they need to get their head examined.

trndmusik: The Detroit Sound seems to get more and more famous in Europe. You and your partners at Visionquest have been shaped by Detroit as many interviews suggest. How did Detroit in particular had an influence on your sound?

Ryan Crosson: The party scene at the time I was coming up affected me more than the “sound” of Detroit. Living in Detroit for 25 years, I was exposed to a lot of different types of music: Motown, Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Blues, and of course Techno. But I didn’t get deeper into these types of music and the artists from Detroit until later in my early 20s. So I think things have worked a bit backwards for me, as strange as that may sound. I am appreciating more music from Detroit now that I live in Berlin. Maybe because my tastes are changing or I’m bored with certain styles of dance music. In my teens it was mainly Hip Hop and classic Rock, and later on Dance music. Sure I was listening to a lot of Plus 8, Minus, and Spectral records, but I would say I was definitely more influenced by Perlon and Telegraph records than stuff coming out of Detroit.

trndmusik: In an Interview with Groove Magazine, Dixon said that a DJ set has to contain at least 80% new tracks. If not, the DJ has failed. What do you make of that?

Ryan Crosson: I see his point but don’t really agree. It’s a matter of preference to how someone wants to DJ so I can’t hate on that statement but for me, I think it’s fun to play old tracks and see younger kids enjoying them for the first time. I also find it fun when you’re on a roll playing a long B2B set with someone and you’re both pulling out some old gems from time to time.

trndmusik: What can we expect from you for the rest of the year? Any plans on a second album? And what about an EP by Visionquest?

Ryan Crosson: My second album with Mr. Merveille is under way. We are keeping a similar Jazz aesthetic to the first album “DRM” but shifting a focus more over to working with analogue equipment as a main theme of the album. I’ve also begun my first solo album but has a been a bit more slow going because of other commitments like the project with Cesar. A Visionquest EP is in the works and definitely could be ready by end of the year when we all head over to the States for some studio time together. Dateswise I’m playing Music:On next month and we’ve got some Visionquest showcases coming up at Sonar, Lovebox and Space for We Love Space Ibiza.

The “Helpless Sun EP” by Tim Green (including Ryan Crosson Remixes) is available for download via Beatport.

Interview by Philipp Kutter.