Twenty-something years ago, Merritt was just your average high school kid, hanging out and throwing keggers. But, one Saturday afternoon, on his way to help set up a party, Merritt witnessed a series of life-changing events which transformed him into DJ Merritt--pretty much over night.
Now, with over two decades of experience under his belt, you could say that DJ Merritt is more than accomplished when it comes to the art of spinning. He has his own show, EdgeClub, that airs every Saturday night from midnight to 3 a.m. on KDGE-102.1 FM The Edge.
Oh, and, over the next few months, DJ Merritt will be spinning all throughout Europe & Asia, even making a stateside stop to play a Paris Hilton party in the Hamptons.
After the jump, have a listen to DJ Merritt's exclusive DC9er Mixtape--and make sure to catch him this Saturday night on EdgeClub.
How long have you been DJing for?
How did you get your start DJing?
Back when I was in high school, we used to throw keg parties and book out bands to play. I was on my way to help set up a party one Saturday afternoon and was at the light on the corner of Southwestern and Hillcrest when all of a sudden a 1988 Buick Grand National wrecks into the pole, holding up the traffic light right in front of me. It was a pretty violent wreck as this guy was actually running from the cops. The guy jumped out of his car and took off running down the alley behind the houses on Southwestern with the University Park Police hot on his tail. There I was, sitting at the light, a totaled Grand National right there in front of me, and nobody around. I got out to check out the scene and to make sure nothing messed up the front of my car. When I got around to the totaled mess in front of me, the trunk was open. To this day, I don't know why I did it, but I grabbed the contents: Two crates of records and a locked briefcase. The guy that was running from the cops never got caught, but somehow he caught up with me. I turned over the briefcase because that's what was most important to him. He let me keep all the records and, let me tell you, this guy had good taste in music. From that day on, he called me "DJ" and would insist that I play at his parties. That day changed my life forever.
What was your first gig like?
It actually happened the following week from running into my new friend. I was flown to Miami for a private party. The scene was pretty surreal, as if it was something out of the movies. Attending this party were people I had only seen in magazines and on the big screen. I won't name names, but there were some pretty famous people in attendance. I was awestruck, but more importantly, knew what I wanted to do: Play music.
Who/what are some of your biggest influences musical or otherwise?
I guess this is the area where I'm supposed to list a who's who of a bunch of artists that shaped me. Around that time I started to DJ, I listened to a lot of Depeche Mode and Beastie Boys. I also paid a lot of attention to the sounds coming out of the clubs like Starck, Empire, Club A, KU, etc. Everything altogether became one big influence as to the overall direction I was heading. Later on, I have to give props to my other DJ friends like Rob Vaughan, Jeff K, Kelly Reverb, Manny, and others, because those are the ones that actually say, "Dude. You gotta check this out."
Which DJs do you follow? Do you have a favorite?
My tastes are always changing and evolving and it never seems to evolve the same as any one particular DJ. If I'm out and having a great time and the music is on point, then that DJ that is spinning right then is my favorite. If Daft Punk was playing at my house, then they would be my favorite at that time.
What's your favorite genre of music, both to play and to listen to?
For me personally, I look at the different genres as moods. Life runs the full gamut of emotions and moods, and music fills those up quite nicely. If I'm in a chill mood, I'll throw on some deep house or acid jazz. If I'm ready to tear it up for the night, maybe some pumping club-style music or some dubstep. Hell, I'll listen to anything as long as it's good. Right now in the car I've been listening to a lot of OutHouseStep. It's pretty much the shit right now.
How do you decide what songs you're going to play?
It all depends on the type of night that's ahead. I try to do my homework as to what type of crowd I'm playing for and the styles they will enjoy.
How much preparation goes into putting a set together?
My ratio seems to run at 2-to-1. Two hours of prep for each hour I play. It's not true in every instance, but that's a proper average when putting together sets.
What are your main objectives when it comes to playing music? (Are you looking to entertain the crowd, educate them, or something different altogether?)
My motto is to keep it simple. Make them dance.
What can someone expect when they come to see/hear you play?
Fireworks and freakin' laser beams
What kind of equipment do you use?
If I'm doing gigs, then I use Serato running on a MacBook Pro with Technics 1200s and Pioneer CDJ 1000s. The mixer isn't so much a priority, but personally I like the Pioneer ones. That's what I have at my house. I'm starting to incorporate Ableton Live with the APC-40 in the studio and hopefully soon out at a club. Some wicked stuff is going to be coming soon. If I'm in the studio, I pretty much rely on my mac tower running either Ableton Live or Digital Performer. I've done some work with Logic Pro and like that as well, but I'm really focusing on Ableton Live. It's something that can easily move from the studio to the party and is extremely powerful. I also have a slew of keyboards and synthesizers that make some noise as well. Beer & RCA cables are a must. No matter how much beer you drink, you can always figure out the color coding on the RCA cables.
Requests. Love em or hate em?
Loathe them. I'm not a jukebox. If that's what you want, take your jorts and head elsewhere. I always found it really amusing when some stupid drunk chick's evening is totally ruined because I wouldn't play Lady Gaga or the sort. Talk about chicks with issues. Letting their entire evening get ruined because they couldn't hear (insert any Top 40 radio song that you can hear 1,000 times a day already).
If you could play a gig anywhere, with any other DJ/music act, whom would you play with and where would it be?
I've been fortunate to play all over the world and with all the top DJs and artists, so my dream gig would be with my homeboys playing huge beach gig in Thailand. Me, BD-Slide, Kelly Reverb, Rob Vaughan, Jeff K, Liquid Todd, Dave Aude, RedEye, Gary-O, Michael Todd, Britton, etc... That's the ultimate for me. Screw a bunch of big names that come in tow with worthless agents, tour managers, attitudes, etc. The ultimate would be all my friends and family together throwing down on a beach in Thailand.
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What sets you apart from other DJs in Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth?
I'm ridiculously good looking.
When/where will you be playing next?
Whoever challenges me on the racquetball court. It usually goes down at 24 Hour Fitness. As for music, every Saturday Night from midnight to 3 a.m. on KDGE-102.1 FM The Edge, on my show called EdgeClub. Over the next few months, I will also be spinning throughout Europe and Asia, and stateside at Paris Hilton's Summer Party in the Hamptons. But I don't think the DART Rail goes that far yet.
What can Dallas expect to see from you in 2010?
Hopefully less of me as I need to hit the gym more in 2010. Racquetball anyone? Rob Vaughan won't play me any more once I started winning.
DJ Merritt's DC9er Mixtape tracklist:
DJ Merritt - Intro
Coeur De Pirate - "Comme Des Enfants (Le Matos Andy Carmichael Remix)"
Yuksek - "Break Ya"
Crookers feat. Yelle - "Cooler Couleur (Junkie XL Remix)"
Stardust - "Music Sounds Better With You (TLGB Remix)"
Joey Beltram - "Slice 2010 (Carl Cox/DJ Merritt Rerub)"
MGMT - "Electric Feel (Justice Remix)"
Mr. Oizo - "Erreur Jean"
Passion Pit - "To Kingdom Come (Grum Vocal)"
Paul Ahi - "South Beach (Fukkk Offf Remix)"
Numéro - "Star Model (Don Rimini Remix)"
Surkin - "Easy Action"