Carnage: Becoming The American Dream

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Carnage: Becoming The American Dream

By Danielle Ilag

*This interview is older and was in our Issue 62 magazine.

Making music is about having an impact. Los Angeles-based Diamanté Anthony Blackmon, better known as Carnage, has a versatile mindset to prove it. For someone who’s loved music since he was a little boy, Carnage was born when the whole genre of trap music was just in its infancy. The music he first made didn’t really have a place in the industry, but it didn’t take long for him to define his sound and his brand. 

From pioneering the trap genre, producing massive collaborations and festival appearances in the dance world, to having records with some of the biggest names in hip-hop such as Lil Pump, Migos, and Mac Miller, very few artists’ can move between genres as seamlessly as Carnage. 


On top of producing music, Carnage is involved with the issues going on at the border and his motivation is deeply personal. He grew up in Guatemala and came to the United States as a child who did not speak English. A generation before him, his grandmother and mother were detained and separated at the same Texas border cities where migrants are being held today.

Carnage recently joined RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. This nonprofit defends the rights of immigrants and refugees, empowers individuals, families, and communities, and advocates for liberty and justice. 

Life doesn’t need to be systematic or defined by an equation. You can be your own person, break all odds, and do what you want to do. In Carnage’s case, he is following his dreams and becoming the American dream.  

Who was the first musician that impacted you to really fall in love with music? Describe that moment and what it was like for you.

Music has been in my blood forever. I use the soundtracks of so many different artists to help push me in the right headspace depending on the mood. Naturally, because of this, I can call upon so many different artists who have impacted me starting with Ice Cube and Dr. Dre.

Where do you find inspiration when creating music? What do you do to get the creative juices going? 

Everywhere and honestly, it has to be like that for me. Before COVID-19 I always found myself inspired by the nonstop lifestyle that I was living. Being able to experience different cultures daily, and then create a special moment there later that night, was enough to keep me going. Now it’s all about perspective. 

Papi Gordo II is going to be a special album and it’s my obligation to deliver something that exceeds all expectations. This body of work is for my fans, new and old, because as everyone knows I am not one of those artists that release music every other week… when I release music it means it’s game time. If that doesn’t motivate me I don’t know what will. 

What is your routine where you schedule in time for music production?

I produce when I can on the road, but while quarantined, I have been locked in the studio so it’s pretty much all day. 

I have been loving all of your virtual sets during COVID-19 such as Lollapalooza, Tomorrowland, Beyond Wonderland, and Fader Fort. How long does it take you to prepare your crazy sets?

To be honest, I’ve become super focused on creating a crazy cool virtual experience over anything so I have been location scouting and concept creating which has been exciting. I spend about a day creating the set but all the work that goes in around it is where the hours are put in. 

How do you get re-excited about a song you’re working on?

I don’t get ‘re-excited’ I just maintain my excitement through and through. I’m proud of every track I put out so that’s all I need to get hyped. If I hit a creative block I may put the track on hold for a bit and come back to it, but If I don’t feel passionate about the track it’s a wash. 

What is it about collaborations that make them so important to you as an artist?

Being able to work with artists across all of the genres has molded me into the producer, and tastemaker, that I am. I also find it such a cool benefit to those with a platform to use their reach to help newer artists rank up a level and gain some exposure that could make or break their career. 

Heavyweight Records released the Lockdown EP this July. All the tracks were made during a live demo session on Twitch to help new producers gain exposure. Pre COVID-19 did you already have the idea in your head to create this album? 

As I was saying before, I think those artists who are lucky enough to have a platform that can expose new talent to the world should definitely do so. That’s really all this EP was at its core. I connected with my label managers over at Heavyweight and together we came up with this plan to give the at-home producers a shot at success. I wouldn’t be surprised if we kept doing these EP drops. 

The first single of Papi Gordo II is easily the best song you have ever created and the most emotional record you have ever made. In what ways have you grown? 

First off, thank you. That is extremely kind and I am very appreciative and humbled by your feedback. 

I feel like I have grown as an artist and as a person in so many ways over the years starting with successfully identifying who I am as a person first. I became confident as an individual and that led to me becoming more confident as a producer. I took more risks, I dug deeper into what mattered to me, and therefore my music evolved too. 

It’s been more than two years since you’ve released Battered, Bruised, & Bloody. Which song is your favorite track from this album and why? 

That album had so many of my favorites… but I think “Learn How To Watch” because Mac was on it, or “iShyne” with Lil Pump. 

What do you think was your biggest struggle to get to where you are today? How did you overcome this?

Despite being DJ Carnage, my story as Diamante hasn’t always been the easiest. I really tried to relive my story, in the most accurate way possible, with the “Letting People Go” music video. A lot of people don’t know English is a second language for me. I had to overcome adversity in so many ways just to realize what meant something to me and realize how important music was. It was my way out and it still is. 

You’ve recently become a RAICES ambassador and started a new immigration awareness clothing line called Border Control. What can you share about the new campaign you’re working on to get everyone involved on a massive level?

My friends over at RAICES are doing unbelievable things and we started our relationship back with the “Letting People Go” music video. They are making a difference for families who are being split up at the southern border and doing everything in their power to reunite them, and keep the family members safe, healthy, and happy in the meantime which is not an easy task. This mission definitely hits home for me. 

Border Control is an apparel line I created to bring awareness to the issues that arise at the border and something we will be releasing more installments of down the line. We debuted the line in Amsterdam last October and have plans for a revamp soon. 

You’ve noticeably dropped some weight this year which is an amazing accomplishment! How do you keep yourself motivated to stay healthy during quarantine? 

So many of my friends have used quarantine as an excuse to stay inside and they lose sight of things that are vital to day to day life. I have never been one to go to the gym on a weekly basis but now with all my time at home I find myself running around my property, exercising in my backyard, and eating a lot better with my grandma cooking for me versus eating out every night. Once the results started trickling in there was zero letting go!

I absolutely loved every part of your documentary The Price of Greatness, especially knowing that you directed and produced this. As a fan, I feel like I got to know more about you in a different way than I’ve viewed you as an artist before. When did you first have the idea to create this documentary? 

Thank you! This documentary actually started as a loose compilation of lost footage that my team and I did not have any use for from 2014 to pretty much now. It was everything from behind the scenes footage, to show footage, even vlog-like footage which I forgot even filming haha. I just wanted to bring something new to the table, something that showcased my life in a way that I never have before. 

You have one track to show someone who Carnage is an artist. What track do you pick?

There is no answer to this. I have multiple sides to me so there is no one size fits all. 

What kind of legacy would you like to leave as an artist?

If people remember Carnage as the producer that never ceased to push boundaries, always brings the energy with every release and show, and chooses to make a difference when possible then that would be enough for me. 

Check out Carnage’s latest single “Together” which is out everywhere now.


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