Visionquest is the latest artist/label quartet/combo project from DJ quartet Ryan Crosson, Seth Troxler, Lee Curtiss, and Shaun Reeves. The collaboration was a natural fit for the Detroit natives who’ve been friends since high school. The label seeks inspiration from friends and family, notably the band’s artwork which was inspired by a trip to Tokyo, where Seth discovered his father-in-law’s, (artist Hajime Mizuno), hidden talent for design. Now the 75-year-old designs Visionquest posters. Here Ryan Crosson and Seth Troxler, the two ‘mates’, as they like to call themselves, chat about parties, their journey as a label, world traveling, and their favorite New York haunts. Also, be sure to check out their latest buzzed about album Fabric 61.
BULLETT:Before creating Visionquest, you all had very cool solo careers as DJs. Can you tell us a bit about your careers and how you ended up collaborating on such a project?
ST: We were all friends, basically brought together by taste, living with each or close to each other, throwing parties, generally just being mates with the same ideas. Turning into a collaboration was just natural. We still are solo artists, we just have a label where we can showcase ideas and interests, like a collective scrap book of our tastes.
What’s different with a collaboration as opposed to your individual acts? What does each member bring to the table?
RC: Compromise and true cooperation. Working individually you bounce your work off people and test it on dancefloors but in the end it’s solely your plan or idea. While when you collaborate ideas are continually evolving and being redrafted hopefully until that perfect balance is met.
In addition to being a music label, Visionquest is also an art house label. Can you talk about the term “art house label”? How would you say it differs from a regular label?
ST: It was is a big focus for us to make something tangible something with a design aesthetic, showcasing different music that at some times can be challenging but also accessible. Showing people that you can have art and great packaging and still be successful. Curating a project with that in mind differs from just wanting to put out a stream of so so singles that are here today gone in two weeks. In the end art and design are critical to aesthetic and without aesthetic and depth there is only waste.
Most of your albums’ artwork was made by graphic designer Hajime Mizuno. What was the inspiration behind these artworks? Do you give him any direction?
ST: Its a really funny story Hajime is my father in law, on a trip to Tokyo where he lives, my fiancé was showing me all there record covers he designed. I was really blown away, but in the world there really is no place for an old designer (75) to work. We had the idea that we wanted to have a poster in all of our records so we thought he would be a great place to start. Since then we’ve had different artists and are slowly asking more to come in and do stuff for us. The new Tale of Us poster is brilliant and we have some great stuff in line for the new year.
RC: Mr. Mizuno has been kind enough to lend us his talents on three of the first ten inserts provided with our vinyl releases. VQ 001, the print side of 002, and 006. He is Seth’s soon to be Father in Law. Most of the communication was between he and Seth.
Now-a-days DJ culture seems to have implemented itself firmly in popular culture; this is in contrast to the 90’s when DJ artists were mainly underground musicians. Why are DJ/artists not underground anymore?
ST: Right now we’re in a time were technology dictates culture so in a way culture has caught up to our music.
What’s your favorite city?
ST: London and newly Sydney. I’ve been in Bondi for the last few weeks and its like heaven in the winter.
RC: To play or to visit? There are a few that always seem to go off quite well. I tend to enjoy playing London and Turin. The atmosphere always seems to come together in both of those cities. For visiting I’d love to get back to Tokyo, I had a great visit there roughly 4 years ago but it was just not enough time. Hopefully I can plan another visit there this Fall.
Do you each have any other hidden talents besides music?
ST: I gets down when in the kitchen and on the grill.
RC: We all enjoy cooking/bbq in one way shape or form.
What are your favorite places to hang out in New York?
ST: Katz’s Deli, if I could live in that place, I would.
RC: The Marcy used to be a mainstay for a few years, but now I’m not visiting New York as much any more. When I am there though, I’m mainly in Williamsburg.