DJ Carnage -- he's "just chilling, eating food, watching Netflix," doing whatever.
You might have heard his breakout Bang! EP. Or you might have heard about how he pissed off a bunch of agro commenters by saying he was over trap. Or you might have killing it at Ultra Music Festival or Tomorrowland.
Ultimately, though, despite the hype and occasional controversy, Carnage just wants to have a good time. And he's seriously stoked about playing his first show at Mansion on South Beach. So last week, we here at Crossfade chatted with him, talking SoBe, EDM, burrito utopias, chill moms, and bringing that big-room energy no matter what.
Crossfade: So, what responsibilities come with being the leader of the #ChipotleGang?
Carnage: Y'know, making sure people are good. It's kind of just, like, setting an example, letting it be known what to do and what not to do. I'm just trying to lead by example, showing what these kids need to be. You know when MySpace just started, and everyone was friends? It's like a utopia of happy people and giving no fucks.
And burritos. People need Chipotle.
It seems your mom was hugely instrumental to your career. You used to listen to music together and she bought you FruityLoops software, encouraging you to get into making beats. Is she the proudest mom in EDM right now? Does she take any credit?
Nah, she's just chillin'. It's, like, me and my mom, and Martin Garrix's mom and Borgore's mom. Random moms are just superproud.
Do you ever bring your mom out to shows?
She's been to a couple. She's back home, so it's kind of hard for her to come to the shows, but she comes wherever she can.
Where are you these days?
I live in L.A.
Is it really better out there?
Yeah, it's pretty good. It's different. It's a good hub to have as home.
I'm sure it makes it easier to work with people.
Yeah, it's easier. Everybody's here, it's fast, it's really fun.
Do you have any collaborations that you're working on right now? Or have you been focused on touring more than being in the studio?
Yeah, I've been focused on touring. I'm about to go to the beach and work on my EP, so right now I've just been chilling, relaxing until I go and really work, y'know?
You've been doing a lot of the big house sound, are you going to continue to explore that on the EP?
Yeah, I'm just going to be making a bunch of music that I want to make, that I think is good.
You were involved with the hip-hop scene for a while. But you seemed to resent being labeled a trap artist when the Bang! EP got so big, and then you delivered what people called a "rant," tweeting that "'hype' is ruining trap." Why do you think people take what you do as an artist so personally?
Because with the Internet, people have a bigger platform to speak, so they feel obligated to speak their mind. It's annoying, but whatever. The true fans will like you for what you do. But I don't know, people just have a stick up their ass.
Do you think you would ever go back to making beats for rappers, are you still doing that on the side?
I've been doing it on the side, whatever, I don't know. I just want to do whatever. I'm super spontaneous, I'm super random. Whatever I want to do, I'll do it. Pretty much how my life is.
Just chillin, doing whatever.
Yeah, just chilling, eating food, watching Netflix.
What are you watching these days?
Parks and Recreation, The Office, documentaries.
Those are good shows. Do you care about Parks and Rec losing Rashinda Jones and Rob Lowe
Yeah, but, Rob Lowe is one of my biggest fans, which is one of the coolest things ever.
How did you find that out?
He tweeted about me! Rob Lowe, the legend.
You've been playing a bunch of festivals and that shows in the music you're making. What appeals to you about that big-crowd, big-room sound?
The energy, it's all 'bout the energy. I've always been a person about energy, and the energy is bigger. I just love the energy. It doesn't necessarily have to be about big house. But when you bring that festival energy, it's so much cooler.
When you're playing to a crowd like that, is there really a lot of crowd reading that goes into it, or is it just so big you can get away with whatever you want?
It depends. You've just got to have a good song selection. I mean, you could play the obvious bangers, but most at the time, these festival kids are just raging to anything you play. You just have to play good music, and then the more you see people jump to certain sounds, I think, you've got to just shove that kind of sound down their throat. And it doesn't always have to be Top 10 Beatport records, because most of my set is records that are big room records that people haven't heard; a bunch of new songs by my friends, but also the big records that people know. It's just about playing the good music and if you see people go crazy about it, just keep it going.
What are some of your favorite tracks to drop right now?
I've been playing a lot of hardstyle lately.
Kids seem to be into that, and there's a lot of that influence in the trap dance songs.
Yeah. I think people are looking for the next thing that's harder, and I think hardstyle is the next one. I don't know if it will go fully on, but kids are definitely responding to it way better than they were a year ago.
Give me some hype for the show at Mansion. Are you going to bring some of that hardstyle to the bottle club?
Hmm, yeah, I don't know. I'm just going to play whatever I want, honestly.
As always. It seems like that's your M.O.
Yeah, I just do whatever I wanna. People don't like what I play, just don't come to my shows. I mean, I know how to not go overboard. I'm not going to go to Mansion and just play all drum 'n' bass, y'know? But my song selection will be all good.
Have you played Mansion before? I don't think so.
No, I never played. I've been there a couple times and I've always wanted to play it, so it's going to be fun. It's going to be different. You can put money on that.
Carnage. Friday, August 23. Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The show starts at 11 p.m. and tickets cost $35 plus fees via wantickets.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-695-8411 or visit mansionmiami.com.
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