As a follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed DRM Part 1 EP, Visionquest’s own Ryan Crosson has again teamed up with Cesar Merveille, this time for a similarly named full-length album—the label’s first ever. With a more than cinematic unity of sound and flow, Crosson and Merveille together offer up nine pieces that are less like tracks and more like a jam session of sultry and chill sounds dabbling in many different genres.
The two Berlin-based producers are definitely no strangers to the spotlight. Crosson has appeared on the cover of both Mixmag and DJ Mag this year, and Merveille has quickly skyrocketed as part of Luciano’s Cadenza crew. We recently chatted with them about their new album, working together, and what the future holds for the duo.
Can you tell us a little about the creative process behind the DRM LP?
Cesar Merveille: When we started working together, we decided to emphasize the musical side of the tracks. A lot of the drums were recorded in studio and additional musicians were recorded separately. We took all the elements and recorded long sessions that we edited after. We wanted the tracks to be quite free in their structure in order to keep the jam feeling they had in the first place.
What made you two decide to work together?
Ryan Crosson: 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.”
CM: We’ve been close friends for a long time so it was only natural to try working on music together. When Ryan was coming to London we started collaborating bit by bit and we eventually put the finger on something we liked.
What do you feel that the two of you separately bring to your collaboration?
RC: He brings the wine, I bring the food!
Was it a challenge to integrate the Visionquest sound and the Cadenza sound all into one piece of music?
CM: Actually, we didn’t really take this into consideration; we wanted to do something personal.
RC: We weren’t approaching anything that way. The Visionquest sound is very tough to pinpoint and the Cadenza sound has changed so much from the start to where it is now, so I don’t think that ever entered our minds. We were just working with the ideas that naturally came out of us once we had our concept for the album.
Do you have anything in the works for the future? A possible Cadenza or full Visionquest joint album?
CM: We’d like to carry on developing this project in the form of a second album and extend the collaboration to Cadenza.
There seems to be a lot of jazz–infused sounds on the album, like on the track “Again and Again.” What made you decide to go that route?
RC: We both very much enjoy jazz, and when we were working on our drums we got into these stumbling, slightly off rhythms.
What does DRM stand for, and what does it mean to you?
RC: It’s an acronym for “drum” and “dream”—both essential to us in making the music we make.
CM: Drums are a very important part of the album, and “dream” represents the more melodic and cinematic aspect of our music. DRM represents the more abstract side of the album.
Do you think some electronic music will continue to shift into a jazzy, more chill hybrid sound?
CM: I don’t know if it’s shifting but it’s evolving in all kinds of directions, including this one.
As artists, do you feel that it is necessary to always continue to adapt and develop your sounds?
RC: I think it’s necessary to develop your sounds and push out your circle to areas where you’re not quite comfortable at first, but knowing it’s an area or sound you want to obtain. Then over time you’ll get where you need to be and you’ll be happy about the time and work you spent trying to get there.
CM: Yes, for me it’s a necessity. As important as it might be to define your own sounds, it’s equally important to keep exploring different styles of music and work in different ways. I would bore myself otherwise!