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Meet the underground talent of CRSSD Fest: Fritz Carlton

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San Diego’s CRSSD Fest – presented by FNGRS CRSSD — has become a sanctuary for underground electronic music fans. The upcoming March edition looks to be the festival’s most promising offering yet, featuring an even greater array of delectable house and techno acts as well as some formidable headliners such as Recondite, Flume, Lane 8, and Bob Moses. To dig a big deeper into the lineup, we’ve tapped some of our favorite acts on the bill for a daily interview series before the festival.

A dynamic emerging force in the house music scene, Seattle-bred producer, Max Magee, aka Fritz Carlton, is trailblazing a new era of funky party vibes with his high-octane sets that have helped evolve the west coast’s dance scene. Currently based in Los Angeles, Fritz has also become a staple collaborator with Southern California house and techno collective Desert Hearts, releasing his That’s My Kinda Night EP on their label in addition to performing at their acclaimed 2016 Spring festival.

Electronic music is supposed to propel musical ingenuity forward and Fritz, with a precise ear for musical technicalities and a cigarette in his mouth, is undoubtedly a tastemaker balancing a never-before-heard track selection and incomparable energy.

Ahead of Fritz’s CRSSD debut this weekend at San Diego’s Waterfront Park, the passionate artist chatted with Dancing Astronaut about his meteoric rise, the state of dance music and much more. Catch Fritz opening the Palms stage on Sunday, March 5.

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What was your first label release? Would you still play it in a show?
It was a remix of Light Echo I did for a label up in San Francisco, Popgang. I wouldn’t play it today due to its lack of production quality – but I still listen to it fondly.

What has been the biggest breakthrough of your career?
I’d say that getting to play Desert Hearts Spring ’16 last year, and then immediately releasing my TMKN EP via DH’s label was the biggest breakthrough moments for me so far in terms of exposure & experience. I’d never played in front of that many people before! It was so rad & I’m so thankful to have gotten to do it.

What’s your opinion of the dance scene in the US right now?
I really like the direction that the scene is currently headed in. There’s less of a focus on overstimulation and the loudness-war, and more of a focus on universal grooves, good vibes and (in my opinion) better music. Since the ‘EDM bubble’ burst, fans are starting to realize that there’s a lot more hidden-gem artists out there; as well as incredible underground parties to experience. Everyone’s digging in like they’ve never heard House and Techno before, & that feeling of over-saturation is starting to fade for me. It’s really exciting. Outside of big budget raves like EDC, etc. there’s a entirely different world of music to explore. I’m not saying those aren’t fun events; they totally are!

What are you looking forward to most about CRSSD Fest?
I can’t wait to play out some of my new music on the waterfront. The Palms stage looks beautiful & I’ve never experienced a setting like this before for one of my sets. I also can’t wait to vibe out with some of the other artists – lots of homies on this bill!!

If you could be another artist for a day, who would you pick?
That’s such a tough question. It’s so hard for me to pick, but I guess I’d say Frits Wentink. Yes, another Frits (with an s!). I discovered him a few years after I started to really dive into production and since then he has remained my favorite producer by far. I’m blown away by everything he makes. His music constantly motivates me to keep pushing my own and keeps me very humbled. I’ve love to step into his shoes for a day, check out his local record shops / his studio and get some insight into his workflow.

If you could recommend three artists to catch from the lineup, who would you pick?
Hmmmm. Again, so hard to pick! I love so many of the artists on this bill. I guess these are some of the must see acts for me: Seth Troxler b2b Eats Everything, Jackmaster, Midland. Also, I have to add a fourth – HVOB is an amazing band and I’m super stoked to see them. Also the nicest people, ever.

If you were recruited to provide an Essential Mix in 2017, what’s the one song you couldn’t leave out?
I feel like there are a million I couldn’t leave out, and my opinion of what’s hot is always changing! But as of right now I guess it’d have to be ‘Roy Of The Ravers – Emotinium.’

CRSSD will be held Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 5 at San Diego’s Waterfront Park. Tickets, lineup, and more information are available here.

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