Young music enthusiasts who dream of DJing imagine playing to packed clubs, producing popular tracks, and having a seriously devoted fan base. But how many of these aspiring talents evolve their style and train themselves to be qualified enough for a 26-city DJ tour? Or to open for Paul Van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold? Or to spin for a crowd of 8K plus people?
DJ Carl Michaels (Langhorne native Karl Michelfelder) entered the dance world at 16 years old with the purchase of two gigantic speakers and some turntables. When he began spinning the suburban-kid house party scene, his time behind the turntable merely a passionate hobby. A few years later, Michaels found himself a young raver and frequent customer at 611 Records (the legendary DJ hotspot for records).
Michaels and 611 owner Nigel Richards hit it off, and Michaels went from working at 611 to helping launch their successful CD label and helped to found a deep house imprint called Society Hill. Through his Dubldipt Productions, Michaels threw wildly popular raves. In 1999, Michaels released DiscoDubHouse, a compilation of house gems that borrowed from such artists as DJ Sneak, Roy Davis Jr, The Stickmen and King Britt. Disco Dub House fuses nineties house music with the vibe of the seventies - resulting in a free-spirited, disco-influenced mix that transcends musical boundaries and makes use of both new and classic tracks from some of the world's most prominent house producers (DJ Sneak, Gene Farris, Roy Davis Jr., Paul Jacobs, Pete Moss, Angel Alanis). This mix was the solidification of Carl’s influence in the US deep house movement.
Through all of the parties, tours, mixtapes and CDs, the one thing that fueled Michael’s energy was an unmistakable sound. Michaels created an individualistic sound that was matched by few--funky, deep, wild, raw, emotive. Most importantly, his sound brought a party, and that is just what people do when Michaels spins. He has performed with and hosted a roster of world-class talent including Boy George, Derrick Carter, Paul Oakenfold, Carl Cox, Luke Solomon, East Coast Boogiemen, Jane's Addiction, and the list goes on. Michaels tore into the national conscious with an electrifying 26-city tour with DJ Dayhota, called Two Bitches On Tour.
"It is always my intention to make a crowd feel comfortable," Michaels says about his selection of non-hit music that sends his audiences into kinetic euphoria. "It’s fun to turn a big room into a place with real character. The two entities - the crowd and the DJ - need to feed off each other."
"I use the word ‘emotion’ to death when I talk about music," he explains, "but that’s really it. I get chills - the vocals, the catchy hooks. It’s just all fun."
With a keen and aware ear, Michaels knows his strong points. "My best quality? Track selection and musical knowledge. Not really showing off."
Currently, Michaels (who won the 2007 PhillyGayCalendar award for Best DJ) is a major player in the gay dance music scene in the Philadelphia region. His residencies include at all of the major City of Brotherly Love venues, like Pure, Bump, and Woody’s. Michaels has spun for Philadelphia’s nationally attended events like Equality Forum, Blue Ball, and Philly Pride. Presently, he has devoted a heavy amount of time to original music, including some collaborations with Philadelphia nightlife impresario Cyoni Dharling.
No matter what type of project, Michaels’ endless energy, overwhelming talent, and charming personality always deliver a powerful product that leaves both fans and the uninitiated breathlessly delighted. Like many DJs, Michaels loves the sound; but he is also a DJ who truly adores a packed room of partiers reveling in a deep musical connection.