Dallas Observer Mixtape With Max Carritt: Arjun Vagale, Bjarki & More

Maxwell Carritt is part of a new wave of techno and tech-house talent popping up in the shadows of Dallas club music. Most often associated with the burner DJ crew know as The Guild, he consistently sets a high bar for floor-thumping techno. This week's mixtape, with its blend of hypnotic patterns of persistent repetition and shifting plates of sound, is best described as a selection of constantly changing music. For this week's Q&A, Carritt reveals a bit about his somewhat brief but quickly evolving tenure as a DJ.

Dallas Observer: How did you get started DJing? How long have you been DJing?

Carritt: I got started DJing around 2008, right before the EDM scene got really popular. I had some experience in producing some electronica type stuff at that point and had been listening to dance music of all kinds since I was young. I was just naturally interested in DJing. I was also partially motivated from the perspective of a dancer; I was tired of going to events ready to dance and then watching a bored crowd sit on the side because some DJ was too into himself to care about the crowd.

How was this mix made?

I’ve been playing around a lot with adding texture and narrative to a mix with various voice samples. This mix features samples that I took from a Vietnam War U.S. Air Force video that I found on archive.org. I was trying to find something that might fit in with The Guild’s Stratosphere party, so I think it was a fun complement to that. It was pretty difficult working with that audio though, as it was pretty low quality, and I had to run some noise removal effects over some parts. I’m not totally thrilled with it compared to maybe my “Gravity Well” mix, but I think it works well enough.

Is there a particular theme for the track selection?

I’ve been playing around with this kind of tech house/techno mixture. Arjun Vagale was a huge influence on this, and I use a couple of his tracks in here. It’s kind of a challenge to get those two genres to mesh perfectly, but there’s a serious sweet spot for crowds when you hit it.

What DJs have had a profound impact on you?

Pig and Dan, Maya Jane Coles, basically all of Drumcode (#DrumCodeForLife), Deep Dish, Darius Syrossian, Derrick Carter, Sam Paganini, Butch, Tale of Us, Four Tet, Green Velvet, Cleric, DJ Heidi/Pete Tong/BBC1 crew, Boys Noize, Uto Karem, Booka Shade, Gesaffelstein, Ben Klock. Those are the big ones anyway.

The biggest actual impact would definitely be all the local people I’ve had the opportunity to work with and play next to. I really admire so many of the people I get to call friends as really incredible DJs, musicians and just general appreciators of music.

What is your most memorable music moment of the past year as a DJ?

I think I’m still riding the buzz off of Stratosphere, so I might be a little biased ... but that might have been the most fun I’ve ever had DJing. Sean Sparks and I were basically working nonstop leading up to the party, getting art installations and lighting and sound set up. We were on our laptops trying to put together a playlist during the first hour of the party. We basically gave each other a few ideas, talked about a theme, one or two tracks that we might play, and that was it. We had never even tagged before, and it just went off. I was really surprised how well that set went. Not to mention the crowd was amazing. Everyone was really courteous and adult. I’m really proud to be a part of a community like that.

What is your most memorable music moment of the past year as an audience member?

I’m a little surprised to say that it might have been the Justin Martin show at It’ll Do. My favorite part about that venue is the meshing of all the different social circles, and it was even more pronounced at that show. Everyone was just there to have a good time. It’s what dance music is about. (Although we don’t need to be lighting fireworks on the dance floor again, alright?!)

Where do you like to dig for tracks? Any specific websites or stores?

I basically live on Mixcloud for new tracks. Usually it will provide a link straight to Juno, so that's nice. I just try to find tracklists of stuff I really like. I listen to a lot of mixes. Also, I do check out a lot of the charts on Beatport by people I like.

What is in your near future as a DJ?

The Guild is starting to brainstorm what our next production might look like. I’m really excited about the kinds of light, art and projection ideas we are throwing around. We’re pretty passionate about building an immersive and unique experience for people.

What is your relationship with techno?

I’ve always been into music that might be described as darker, so it just makes sense. I’m still trying to figure out why techno specifically appeals to me, but I guess really it's just about how it makes me feel.

What is your relationship with The Guild?

I was invited to camp with them at a regional burn a few years ago, and it just clicked. I’ve known a handful of them as friends for a while, but didn’t really know what it was about. It's pretty neat how varied people’s talents are. It can be a challenge to get those talents to work together sometimes, but when it happens it’s worth it. I’m really excited to see what happens next.

Are you involved on the production side of the fence?

I’ve been messing around with production software and hardware since I was a teenager. I think I bought my first synthesizer when I was 15. I used to make a lot of really goofy electronica, but I kinda traded that for DJing. I do have one house track that I co-produced with Usual Suspect that was released on Sugar Shack, and that is on Beatport and everything. I just graduated college, so I’m trying to figure out how to put more of my time towards it, but there are a few things I’m working on.

Do you have a preference between DJing and production?

They are really pretty different entities. I suppose DJing offers the easier reward, while production can be more challenging. Nothing compares to the high of working on a track that gets you excited, though.


1. Subpolar (Original Mix) - Oscar Aguilera, Alberto Ruiz
2. Loose Yourself (Original Mix) - Kardinal, Lowkey
3. Body Freak Original Club Mix - Luca M & JUST2
4. Get Down (Original Mix) - Arjun Vagale
5. Fire Burning (Original Mix) - Steve Mulder
6. Debug (Original Mix) - Raffaele Rizzi
7. Body Work (Original Mix) - Jensen Interceptor
8. Hak (Original Mix) - Stephan Hinz, Philipp Ruhmhardt
9. MDMA (Original Mix) - Paul Woolford
10. I Wanna Go Bang - Bjarki
11. Eclipse (Original Mix) - Alex Mine
12. Objective (Joel Mull Stripped Remix) - Keith Carnal
13. Kraft Original Club Mix - Adrian Hour & DJ Fronter
14. Also! (The Junkies Remix) - Ruben Mandolini
15. Percussive (Original Mix) - Thee Cool Cats
16. Shaka (Christian Smith Remix) (Remix) - Julian Jeweil
17. Ruffa - Randomer
18. Give Your Love (Original Mix) - Arjun Vagale
19. Love Siren (Original Mix) - Alan Fitzpatrick
20. Gagaucci Original Club Mix - Mihalis Safras & Kiko
21. One of Us feat. Forrest (Dennis Ferrer Remix) - Sabb, Forrest
22. Heads Down (Original Mix) - Detroit Swindle
23. Got To Get Higher (Original Mix) - Pig & Dan
24. Fukushima - Phon.o

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