Lee Curtiss: "There's More Hope for Miami Than Almost Any Other EDM Scene in America"
But as the foursome told Crossfade ahead of WMC 2011, it all started with four friends from Michigan who shared a penchant for psychedelic mind expansion, esoterica, and Berlin techno.
Now Lee Curtiss is the most prolific producer among the Visionquest boys, and he might also be the most versatile, straddling techno, house, disco, and electro-funk -- a sound with the imperative to make you jack.
-Visionquest Talk Spirtual Enlightenment and Winter Music Conference
-The 26-photo slideshow of Lee Curtiss and Crosstown Rebels during WMC 2010
In fact, his latest Lunatic Fringe EP promises to "make your body twitch", as the sleazy vocal on the namesake track asserts.
Crossfade caught up with Lee Curtiss ahead of a live gig at Treehouse with Ambivalent, LINK Miami, and Miami Rebels on Friday to talk about his sound, Visionquest, and the Miami scene.
Crossfade: Out the four Visionquest guys, your production sound seems the most inclined away from techno's dark side and towards lighter shades of house, disco and funk. The Lunatic Fringe EP even has a straight-up Prince Minneapolis touch. What sort of ingredients or elements do you look for in dance music and what do you think is the formula for a dance-floor weapon?
Lee Curtiss: I didn't realize the Visionquest dudes had such a dark side? I think it's nice to hear you say that my music is lighter and housey, since a few reviews said it was too dark for them. Art is indeed in the eye of the beholder, but I'm happy to hear my music being compared to Prince in any respect -- he is one of the most talented musicians/producers in the game.
I have always loved the funk in music, from rock to soul to hip-hop, and don't personally dance to songs without a melody. I am a music lover and appreciator, and take producing extremely seriously. Dance music has always been a favorite outlet for me, but I know that I have to attribute much of my creativity in making it to the fact that I listen to so much more music, and have a good sense of humor.
Given your constant DJ globetrotting, especially on the other side of the pond, what keeps you living in Chicago of all cities?
I think Chicago is one of the most amazing cities in the world. We won best food in America this year. The architecture, Lake Michigan, the ease of navigating such a big city, and my beautiful apartment are a good start. But in the end, the people are cut from the same Midwestern jib that I was cut from. Aside from that, I don't understand why everyone assumes I still live in Europe. Yes, I've spent loads of time there, but I'm a true-blood American and even though I love playing in Europe, I feel that the dance music scene in America is more than worth the time.