The Only Thing Mr. Carmack Lacks is DJ Skill

Image via Mr. Carmack
Image via Mr. Carmack

This isn’t a post penned to rustle feathers or to spark drama, and I hope that this doesn’t turn into a debate about why producers that lack skills as DJs are getting booked.  I am a lifelong fan of music that considers Mr. Carmack to be one of the best producers of our time, and that isn’t said lightly at all.  Our inboxes are flooded with incredible content, we’ve heard just about everything there is to hear, and his tunes still consistently blow us away.  The pace at which he releases music is unmatched, and there’s nothing formulaic at all about his work.  That said, I walked out of his performance during Soulection‘s SXSW showcase at Barcelona 10 minutes into the set.  My friends and I watched an incredibly forgiving crowd cringe as he repeatedly transitioned from banger to banger in the most haphazard fashion possible, and it was too much for me to stick around to watch.  Four back-to-back trainwrecks outweighed sticking around for the incredible records that he was playing, and I made my way for the door.  I made some new friends at SXSW and happened across this gem from one of their Facebook walls that explains my experience completely:

Screen Shot 2014 03 24 at 7 05 00 AM The Only Thing Mr. Carmack Lacks is DJ Skill

In the New York party scene in the ’90s, the final slots on a lineup were reserved for artists that lacked a track record.  If their mixes or track selection were off, it was of no consequence.  Everyone had already paid for tickets, and the crowd leaving early was no big deal.  If a DJ stepped up to the plate and hit a home run, it was just a bonus for partygoers.  But this era was the last that I can really remember seeing a performance bad enough that I decided to call it a night before the lights turned on.  This isn’t the ’90s, though.  When you pair the widespread use of controllers and CDJ sync buttons with YouTube tutorials, it’s damn near impossible to fuck a DJ set up.  And the thing here was that Carmack played directly after San Diego’s esta., who absolutely crushed it.  Mr. Carmack is surrounded by a team of talented DJs, any of whom could pull his live performance in the right direction quickly and easily.

Producers need to be passable DJs if they’re taking their show on the road. Part of the job description is to create an experience for fans by seamlessly mixing songs, and promoters pay them for this ability.  And though his SoundCloud followers and Facebook likes are up to par, his DJ skills are not.  Carmack was hanging out at Barcelona for quite some time before his set with an unwavering smile secured firmly on his face.  He was approachable, taking pictures with fans while parked right in the middle of action.  He seems like an incredibly cool guy, and his records are undeniable.  And this post isn’t anything more than words from a fan of music that there’s only one missing piece that will solidify Mr. Carmack as one of the most prolific musicians of our time.

While you’re here, feel free to put your ear to these two incredible tunes that he uploaded last week:

  • DADReader

    I used to think this shit was all about drama but after reading this post, it’s obvious this site is to push a music forward instead of it being belitted. Truth is, If people wanted to see Carmack play and he sucks live, that could possibly be their last show, i dont even want to know how much he got paid for that set niether

    • Ayres Haxton

      If it was an official sxsw showcase he probably didn’t get paid at all.

  • DJ Todd G

    I applaud you for taking the time to make this statement..regardless of your productions, regardless of your “likes”, “followers”, etc you have to be able to hold your own as a DJ. I’m not saying everyone has to be A-Trak or Carl Cox but any trained DJ in the crowd will pick out every single mistake that you make during your set and that will leave an impression that these guys don’t want or shouldn’t want for that matter. Much respect Nappy for your direct commentary on this issue….

  • Reggrock

    Finally, a little honesty!

    According to twitter and blogs every single showcase and event at SXSW was amazing/turnt up/a movie, blah blah and every dj murdered/killed/destroyed etc.

    You have to actually know people who went to get a real idea of how things went down.

    So wack.

  • Joaquín Muñoz

    Love me some Mr. Carmack beats but is that NOT the most common misnomer within the electronic and EDM genre(s)?! Just because you’re a dope producer doesn’t mean you can DJ. Seems like the majority of gigs are given to producers when there are often a plethora of more skilled DJs out there. Skilled DJs with great selection AND skills are underrated. My two cents…

    DJ WYZE 1

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  • Joe

    ITT: Baauer… Skrillex…

    got huge, no clue how to DJ. ableton to the rescue

    • skrillibilly

      skrillex actually worked alot on his dj skills, he now mixes like a champ.


    if u think carmack is bad, try listening to a BEEN TRILL dj set… my theory is the other artists dont say shit in hopes he’ll hook them up with a kanye connect, but god damn that guy is awful

    • LXRD$

      yo been trill is trash formal ahaha, they just throw in that shitty “been trill’ dj tag over every fucking transition, way too much for me

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  • harry wang

    he talks too much during his sets. not as annoying as sjoerd janssen from showtek.. like stfu; we are fans and already know the title of your tracks..