This Old House

Derrick Carter strengthens the dance-music pipeline between Dallas and Chicago

He says his relentless travel schedule "would kill the normal person," as he spends approximately 35 weeks out of the year on the road. Toronto-based Most Wanted Entertainment works with Carter to help construct a schedule that at times has him playing five gigs in five countries in five days. He's played a music festival in Belgium in the afternoon and rocked London at midnight the same day. And it's not just one particular region where Carter is in such high demand, either.

"I'm constantly circulatin' all over," he says. "I feel like blood pumpin' through the system."

And yet despite his hectic travel schedule and self-described "freaky scatterbrain" nature, he somehow finds time to craft tunes that are the most distinctive sound in house music. Aside from his own projects, he has remix work on deck for the likes of Mark Farina, Audio Bullys and Seal.

There is a reason that Derrick Carter's record label is called Classic. It's because his music is.
There is a reason that Derrick Carter's record label is called Classic. It's because his music is.

Carter taps into myriad influences to shape his work and utilizes a home setup with 17 keyboards, 25 synth modules and an 80-channel mixing board, as well as a road unit composed of three Powerbooks so he can edit, render and import all at the same time. In fact, Carter's life seems like a constant struggle of time management. "I really need a 27-hour day and nine-day week to get everything done," he says.

Poverty De Luxe, which refers to the ability to make every situation seem favorable and was inspired by a photograph of kids playing basketball using a stray shopping cart hung from a trash receptacle, has a different sound from the in-your-face approach of last year's Squaredancing. De Luxe is more nuanced, textured and layered, but still prominently features Carter's fondness for unorthodox sounds--particularly on the low end.

"I like bass lines that sound slobbery," Carter explains. "Like a big old wet Saint Bernard."

That kind of uniqueness has helped build a rabid following both on car stereos and Walkmans, as well as in the clubs. He's punching his own ticket after almost two decades of constant writing, playing and producing, and he's making the most of every opportunity that bounces his way. And he's making everyone bounce along with him while he does it.

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