News & Views » Columns

Motor City Cribs

by

comment

The highest compliment you can pay producer-DJ Aaron-Carl Ragland's music is to call it schizophrenic. Or, more accurately, that he has musical multiple personality, but don't call it a disorder. In anyone else's hands, Aaron-Carl's musical stylings would seem crazy, but in his mischievous grasp it makes perfect sense.

You see, Aaron-Carl's music is a mind-boggling yet seamless mixture of house, techno, soul and ghetto-tech run through Prince's (very) dirty mind. Referring to both title and music on his new CD Bitter Soulful Sweet, Aaron-Carl says, "It's a bunch of extremes, but that's how my life is — no gray areas."

Indeed, Aaron-Carl has released many classic 12-inchers dating back to 1996 — such as "Down," "Wash It," "My House," "21 Positions" and "Homoerotic" — yet has remained relatively unsung in his hometown (he's big in Europe, of course). "People know my records, they just don't know me," says the ever-grinning Aaron-Carl. "I got lucky — one day I got signed to Submerge (Mike Banks' classic Detroit techno label), the next day I was on a plane to France."

Aaron-Carl grew up downriver and lived in Hollywood between 2000 and 2003, but he couldn't stay away from Motown: "It wasn't home, it wasn't Detroit."

Now, Aaron-Carl lives in a modest but comfy ranch house in Clinton Township with his dog Reno and his 8-year-old son Jevon (aka DJ Japan, who frequently assists Dad on his online radio show). Aaron-Carl's studio sits downstairs with three vintage arcade games nearby, including his fave, Ms. Pac-Man. And feel free to play a game with Aaron-Carl if you visit, just don't expect to win. "Don't bet me clothes or money because you will lose!"

Hear Aaron-Carl's music as well as his weekly radio show at 7-9 p.m. Fridays at aaroncarl.com. You can catch Aaron-Carl spinning Friday, Oct. 17, at The Works, 1846 Michigan, Detroit; 313-961-1742.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.