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:
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: