In certain Native American tribes, the vision quest is a rite of passage by which the young undertake a personal journey alone through the wilderness and commune with the natural world, eventually discovering their destiny in dreams and shadows. For electronic music crew Visionquest — Ryan Crosson, Lee Curtiss, Shaun Reeves, and Seth Troxler — that spiritual calling is doubtlessly music. Which is not to say these dudes are initiates in the EDM game. Far from it. They've all been at it for years, and they're all internationally celebrated DJ-producers with hectic transatlantic tour schedules.
But before stardom, as teenagers in their native Detroit, the four friends took a figurative trek into the wilderness as they explored a shared musical vision in the studio. "Our ventures into the void began in Lee's basement [with] these experiments [in] the relationship between music and our collective consciousness," Troxler explains, waxing mystical. "There was a whole bunch of us on the same vibe. So we ended up having this deep concept phase for about four months where we did research into all the old records we really liked. This, in effect, became our research lab for taking the human mind to different places."
Thus, Visionquest became the umbrella name for collaborative production work, underground parties, and — more recently — one of the most heavily buzzed new labels on the scene. But despite their mutual background in house and techno, these cagey record execs plan to push the sonic envelope and defy genre when recruiting artists to the fold. "It's less about classifying and categorizing music [and] 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," Troxler says.
And it's hard to doubt that assertion when you hear the lyrical, emotive songcraft of Visionquest's first release, Benoit & Sergio's chart-topping Where the Freaks Have No Name EP. It's definitely not your standard dance-floor fare. Get an earful when the duo joins Crosson, Curtiss, Reeves, and Troxler, along with label newcomers Footprintz and Tale of Us, plus regular studio collaborator Guy Gerber for a special showcase March 25 at the Shelborne.
"We couldn't be more excited about the event in Miami," Troxler enthuses. "It's a real honor to be invited to do a label party, 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 chance for most people to properly check out the new talent that we've been pushing on the label."
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"Our ventures into the void began with experiments in the relationship between music and collective consciousness."