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Student DJ makes gigs from top to bottom

Maxx Crowder will perform at Skully’s Music Diner on April 19. Credit: Courtesy of Chad Dolan

When Maxx Crowder first dove into the music scene in high school, it wasn’t a conscious choice as much as a product of his surroundings. The third-year in art from Akron, Ohio, said he was bored, angsty and in need of a creative outlet.

“I started rock ’n’ roll when I was 15, because where I’m from — there’s nothing to do besides drugs, sports or music,” Crowder said. “I didn’t like drugs or sports, so that left me with music.”

On Wednesday, Crowder will put on his first full on production as a DJ and founder of CrossCrowd Productions.

Crowder said he played drums in a few bands, but when it came time to leave for college, his bandmates went their separate ways and he had to look at other options. He said he wanted to be his own manager and do more than just drum.

Now, Crowder acts as a one-man DJ show, where he typically plays drums while mixing beats. He said this switch to solo music production has been a rewarding challenge.

“I have to be all of the creativity now,” Crowder said. “It’s very open because with electronic production, I can literally do anything I want — rock, R&B, dubstep — I have complete say and it’s great, but it can be exhausting.”

After debuting at Columbus EDM festival Haunted Fest last fall, Crowder said he started to latch onto the idea of making himself into a larger, multidimensional brand, so he started his own company, CrossCrowd Productions.

“CrossCrowd started off as a logo or brand for my music, but it’s become me as an artist as a whole,” Crowder said. “I wanted to seem like a bigger deal than just a DJ so I opened it up, and now I can do everything with it.”

Crowder said that while the focus is primarily still on his own music, CrossCrowd also functions as a promotion company that allows for collaboration between Crowder and other artists.

The company started by creating online visuals, but has also booked tours for small touring artists and done promotional videos for larger acts such as Waka Flocka Flame and Rae Sremmurd, Crowder said.

Crowder’s manager, David Beckham,  said he believes determination and attention to detail will take Crowder and CrossCrowd far.

“Maxx’s strongest quality is being able to want to understand and grasp things he doesn’t know yet,” Beckham said. “(He’s driven) to really dig in and study how to make things work even if it’s his first time or just more trials from previous fails.”

Crowder said he desires to have a deeper knowledge of other cultures and bring that through in his music,  but he thinks it’s his own belief in himself that truly sets him apart.

“It’s a lot of responsibility, but that creative control is freeing,” Crowder said. “I’m in it 100 percent for the music, and I know I can trust myself.”

CrossCrowd’s production will be Wednesday at Skully’s Music Diner, featuring Lil Squid and Shatter with Crowder headlining. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10.

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