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ACRAZE

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ACRAZE has enjoyed a career trajectory most electronic musicians dream of since the 2021 release of “Do It To It,” his house rework of Cherish’s 2006 song of the same name. “Where do I begin?” says the DJ and producer, whose real name is Charlie Duncker. “I feel like that song just put me in another stratosphere.” A little over a year later, he delivered another impactful release in a similar creative vein. For “Believe,” he enlisted British duo Goodboys for a house cover of “I Need a Miracle” by Coco Star, framing their wistful vocals with layers of melancholic synth chords. For the foreseeable future, though, ACRAZE has shifted his focus toward original music. “There's something about sampling that I feel like there's just always going to be inspiration there for me,” he says. “But I definitely want to stay in the original realm.” This is by no means uncharted territory for the rising talent. Born in Staten Island, he went all in on dance music several years ago—much to the chagrin of his old-fashioned parents—and lived the starving artist lifestyle while learning to produce music. 2017 marked his debut solo release, a heavy trap single titled “PULL UP” that came out on MACA. From the very beginning, however, ACRAZE couldn’t be confined to a single genre. “How I produce is pretty interesting,” he says. “One way I catch a good creative drift is that if I’m stuck in a certain genre, I'll move to another.” This led him to produce house music on more than one occasion, and it proved a more worthwhile pursuit than a simple workaround to eliminate writer’s block. His 2018 single “Marco Polo” landed on Confession, the label of French artist Tchami that straddles the line separating house from EDM. “I don't really play many of my older records,” says ACRAZE. “But that's one that I definitely play a lot. I don't know why but every time I play, it always goes off.” During the pandemic he doubled down on house more than ever before, spending up to 15 hours in the studio each day. By the time lockdowns began to lift he had made a lasting impression with singles like “Funky Town,” which arrived by way of Black Jack Records in early 2021. He delivered “Do It To It” later in the year, and his story since then has played out against the backdrop of stages around the world. From Tomorrowland in Belgium to Sensation in Amsterdam and three separate iterations of Ultra in different countries, ACRAZE has emerged as a staple of the festival circuit. Has the novelty worn off? Not even close. Gatherings at this scale offer a perfect testbed for his latest music. “Playing new music is like a different type of feeling—I'm always amped up to play and see the reaction,” he says. “You work so, so long on a song and that's one thing that you always think, but if it goes off, it pays off right there.” As more and more of these crowd-pleasing cuts trickle out from the dancefloor into the house music ecosystem, it remains to be seen what direction ACRAZE will steer his discography. For the time being, at least, it’s hard to imagine him going anywhere but up.