INTERVIEW: DIZASTERPIECE

​Covered in tattoos, and usually sporting a band shirt from the early 2000’s hardcore scene, DIZASTERPIECE is a passionate, creative, realism-driven lyricist and Hip-Hop Emcee from New Jersey, with strong roots in the punk and hardcore community. Unlike traditional hip-hop artists, who usually take the path of creating endless mixtapes, Dizasterpiece took the unconventional route, treating this project like every other punk/metal band he was in growing up. He recorded a record, began booking shows, and touring independently, playing rap shows, metal/ hardcore, and indie rock shows, while gaining momentum on his own which led to landing gigs with notable artists such as IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE, RAKIM, R.A. THE RUGGED MAN, CAGE, and CHRIS RIVERS all in the last three years. His new track is called ‘Hip-Hop Is on It’s Way Back’.

We caught up with the emcee to chat a bit about his project and thoughts on the state of the scene.

REFRAIN:
Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. Dizasterpiece is a great stage name, how did that
come about and what does it represent to you?


DIZASTERPIECE:
​Thank you for having me. My stage name was inspired by certain events in my life that really​ ​seemed like catastrophe’s, but wound up working out for the better. Blessings in disguises, or​ ​just beautiful endings to situations that seemed horrible. To me, it also represents a duality.​ ​Being brilliant or even perfect in one’s eyes, but knowing you are so flawed at the same time. It’s​ ​a contrast thing.

REFRAIN:
You put your first album out in 2013. And your second album this year. Why the gap between
albums?


DIZASTERPIECE:
​​When I started recording The Abominable Showman in 2013, Dizasterpiece was more of a side project. I was in and out of different bands, jumping around between different part time jobs, and trying to figure out what to really do with my life. Writing and releasing that record was intended to be a creative endeavor of mine, but I still did not see it as something that would eventually become the main focus of my life. When the record came out, the positive reactions I was getting were much stronger than I had imagined, and it was great. I began booking whatever show I could. I was getting great reactions to my live sets too, and pushing the CD at the merch table. I decided to leave school and make Dizasterpiece my full time focus. At that point, I started writing new stuff, but I didn’t want to release anything new until I had a fully established fan base. And without a label or the proper PR, I felt like my material was not going to reach a large enough audience, and would go to waste. So I saved the new material and I kept pushing the first record and performing it live, until as many people as possible heard it or at least heard of my name.  

REFRAIN:
Has your style changed a lot since you first started?

DIZASTERPIECE:
I wouldn’t say my style has changed too much since I’ve started, but it has most definitely evolved. It’s more polished now. Emceeing on stage for years definitely made me more confident in my craft. The beats are still very East Coast/traditional Hip-Hop influenced, and the flow switches from aggressive to laid back a bunch. The lyrics remain passionate and deep, and sometimes have multiple meanings. The steez is just more put together. In my newer material you can definitely hear more of my influences in the mix though, that’s for sure.  

REFRAIN:
What are some of your earliest memories of Hip-Hop? What got you involved in it?

DIZASTERPIECE:
One of my earliest memories of hip-hop was definitely seeing Yo! MTV Raps on T.V. when I was a little kid. At 4 or 5 I was already learning how to play drums, but most of what I was hearing around me was Grunge and Hard Rock. Some of those radio stations would also play The Beastie Boys though. 92.3 K-Rock in New York specifically. I remember being intrigued from the get-go. Though my feet didn’t even touch the floor to reach the kick drum when I played, I was learning how to understand rhythm and timing. When I first started hearing Hip-hop music, I remember thinking “Wow these guys sort of play drums with words.” I didn’t really know how to access more of it to hear. My father would go play racquetball in The Bronx and bring me with him, and there would always be boomboxes on those courts and around the parks. They were blasting dope shit. I would listen while he did his thing. After being able to listen more in depth, I acquired a better understanding of the genre. This was mid to late 90’s. It wasn’t until I got into Nu Metal a couple years later, that I attempted to write my first rhyme on paper though.  

REFRAIN:
You mentioned you’ve toured a lot. Has Covid-19 affected your plans at all with the release of
this album?

DIZASTERPIECE:
Yeah, Covid seriously butchered my plans. I had to go back to the drawing board. Despite my reasoning for the gap between releases, I still acknowledge that something new needed to come out ASAP. With or without a label, with or without money to pump into independent marketing campaigns. I had my booking connects, I had some fans, It was time to just put something new out and hit the road. Lil Loogie and I had an East Coast tour booked and announced in support of In Too Deep To Sleep, and a record release show booked in Pennsylvania. We were gonna hit a bunch of spots; Brooklyn, Worcester Mass, Orlando Florida, South Carolina to name a few. I am still so bummed that we had to cancel the tour. We were also in the middle of booking Texas and Cali dates, and then I was gonna aim to do a West Coast tour at the end of summer, but since venues are barely opening back up right now, none of those dates are rescheduled yet. I was able to book July 15th in Austin though, so that’s happening. Aside from the EP that just came out, I have a whole new full length on deck. I aim to also release that this year and into 2021. Just gotta feel things out. Definitely gotta tour around my new releases, and the longer people can’t go to shows, the further my plans are delayed.

REFRAIN:
Your bio mentions your unique style, always wearing from the 2000s hardcore scene. What
draws you to hardcore and do you see any of that reflected in your sound?

DIZASTERPIECE:
What draws me to hardcore is the no bullshit attitude it comes with. It’s blunt, real, and in your face. Whether you are listening to a Youth Crew band, or the most negative, chug chug tough guy shit … The ENERGY is there. Though I keep my sound strictly Hip-hop without designated mosh parts and two steps, I bring that same kinda energy live. It’s not so much my sound that really reflects the impact that Hardcore has had on me, but my stage presence. The way I carry myself on stage and my relationship with the crowd. I do play guitar and bass on some of the new stuff coming out, as well as in my song “Open The Blinds,” from my last record, But for now I enjoy keeping my sound strictly Hip-hop. I can say that after this next full length comes out and gets some rotation, I will probably experiment with a little bit more heaviness in my sound.  

REFRAIN:
You’ve played a lot of punk, metal, and hardcore shows over your career. How are the crowds?
How is it different from hip-hop shows?

DIZASTERPIECE:
So when I started doing Dizasterpiece shows, this whole SoundCloud era wasn’t a thing yet, but became popular shortly after though. That being said, there was the online mixtape world, and then the scattered underground hip-hop scenes in Jersey, Philly, and different boroughs of New York City. I was trying to get booked on shows that would put me in front of real hip-hop heads, but I didn’t really know many solid Hip-hop show promoters. So I improvised with open mics for a bit and then I started opening up for Metalcore bands. The day that my first record came out, I left for a mini-tour with a band called Castors Hollow from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. I was the only rapper on any of those show line-ups, and still was walking out with like 6 to 10 CDs sold each show. I wasn’t sure if the punk/metal/hardcore crowds would fuck with me, but they still moshed and enjoyed my lyrics. After rolling with that for a bit, I landed some good contacts with Hip-hop promoters. By the time I was doing straight Hip-hop shows, I was getting love from the Hip-hop heads and selling out of merch. What this actually taught me is that regardless of the specific genre focus of the show, I can do my set the way I normally do it and most audiences would vibe with it. A lot of these bills I was standing out, but still fitting in with the lineups. Once Trap became a huge thing, I naturally wound up on some bills with SoundCloud rappers and mumble rappers. The ex-elitist in me was talking hella shit, but lots of those guys were showing me love too. So by the time I was really getting out on the road, One night I was the only Emcee or “Concious Rapper” on a Trap style show, and the next night I was the only Rapper on a Hardcore show. Then the next night the lineup would be like 5 other lyrical rappers that were better than me. What I was learning from playing to so many different crowds is that usually their energy matched what I was putting out in my live sets. Whether it was a Punk show, or any kind of Hip-hop show, I would hang at my merch table all night and chat it up with whoever till it was time to go on. It was all good shit, and I’m grateful that such different audiences were able to vibe with my sound.. The Underground Hip-hop world and the Punk scene are much more similar than someone not involved would think. And these days, most people listen to all sorts of shit so there’s not too much culture clash going on between these crowds anyway. It’s nice.  

REFRAIN:
You’ve played with a ton of legends from Rakim to Immortal Technique. Who Is your Favorite
Artist you ever played with? Were they cool with you?

DIZASTERPIECE:
My favorite legend that I’ve shared the stage with has to be Rakim. Yeah, he was mad cool in person. Very calm, had amazing energy. Might sound kinda corny, but the dude had this magical aura to him. You could feel it standing next to him, and he had something special in his eyes. It was such an honor. First getting asked to play a show with The God Emcee, then chilling him. He wound up copping a Dizasterpiece hoodie, and so did 2 of his bouncers. Those dudes were also cool as hell. Immortal Technique was cool too, but he had less time to chat. Despite lack of time, he still wound up copping one of my hoodies and we took some pictures together. That whole experience was equally as crazy to me while it was happening. I know I had to pick one, but I do wanna say that; Opening up for Pete Rock & CL Smooth was also an amazing experience, because they are one of my all time favorite Hip-Hop groups. And Camp Lo was on that bill too, which made that night even more dope. Opening up for Chris Rivers (Big Pun’s son) was wild and that dude was fun as hell to hang out with after the show, and opening up for Lord Ezec aka Danny Diablo was a blast and he is fucking hilarious. All of those were major highlights in my life.  

REFRAIN:
Your new single is called “Hip-Hop Is On Its Way Back”, which seems like an indictment of
mumble/cloud rap style. Do you believe that hip hop will swing back towards lyricism and boom
bap?

DIZASTERPIECE:
Yeah I do. Aside from mumbling, a ton of those songs literally sound the same, and It’s evident. We’ve seen so many trends in music run its course into the gutter and then crash and burn. Some of those trends that are dead right now, were actually good, they just got played out. When is the most played out shit ever gonna be declared “not cool anymore”? I would hope soon, but I do feel like it’s actually soon. When some of these wack ass kids are also starting to call mumble rap wack, you know it’s only a matter of time. It’s not cool to be effortless and shallow. That’s the whole vibe I always got from it and the artists involved. I see cats glorifying drug use like it ain’t gonna kill them. Like it wasn’t what killed so many rappers in the last couple years. If we are blessed and privileged enough to be given platforms where all these people come to listen to our music and pay close attention to what we are doing, why not write and say things to empower and enlighten them? When people play my shit, I want them to feel like they are not alone. I want them to feel like they can conquer anything. Like yo, say something that touches people’s hearts and expands their minds. There are so many things in this world right now that are dividing us, and you’ve been given a mic and people who care about what you’re saying… You’re not gonna choose words that break down the barriers dividing us? And yo, I get it, a party song or a club song is cool. Some people wanna just let loose and have a good time, but that doesn’t mean glorifying the most meaningless and sometimes evil shit ever and then being able to sell it because “an Influencer” approves of it loll. The craft will come back. I believe the lyrical content in hip-hop as a whole will improve. Will the beat style go full-blown back to Boom Bap? I would dig that, but don’t think so. There is more old school sounding stuff coming out in hip-hop right now and it’s great, and then I also see some of the new school sounding artists experimenting with new ways to be creative. I think that when an artist like me does the old school boom bap style in the open, then other artists and producers feel more comfortable doing a track like that. As if it’s dated or something and gatekeepers might mock them, and they needed a cue to know it’s okay haha. It WOULD be really nice to see the lyrical boom bap shit get mainstream again, and It would definitely raise some of the standards for some of these pop stars doing hip-hop.  

LINKS:

http://www.dizasterpiece.com
Instagram: @dizasterpiece
Twitter: @imdizasterpiece
Facebook: Facebook.com/dizasterpiece

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