In June, Carnage confused many onlookers during his Basspod set at Electric Daisy Carnival: He played more house-based music than trap, the hot hip-hop-inspired bass subgenre. It’s not like the man born Diamanté Blackmon had never played house music before. But he’s an icon in trap circles—plus, it takes a big set of stones to play a house set on the EDC bass stage. Nonetheless, he won over the crowd, just as he’s done before at XS, Lavo and Marquee, the latter being the host venue for his Vegas appearance this week.
You said on Facebook that EDC was the best night of your life. Do you still feel that way, and if so, why? Yeah, it was. It was my first slap in the face for what’s to come. It was like letting me know my life is about to change. After that, I knew I had to take stuff more seriously.
You famously sing the praises of Chipotle and its burritos on social media, which your followers seem to like. Do you think that’s just something they relate to? Totally. It’s not about the food. In high school, you would tell your friends after football or before a movie or party, hey, [let’s] go to Chipotle, and you’d just kick it. It’s a connecting thing. I look at it like a big factor in my life growing up that united me and all my friends … Why not pick something that’s relatable to all my fans over the world and do something personal? I could have said “the movies” or #moviesgang, whatever, but it was such a big part of me growing up that I thought it would be cool to mess with it and it just sparked. People all over the country were like, “I do that, too.”
Are you still fighting attempts to label or even pigeonhole you as trap, despite your new singles and your declaration that you’re done focusing on that? Yeah, totally. That was one of the biggest things that I’ve had to deal with coming out as a very popular bass artist and branching out to house music. I was already producing house, but my bass music became more popular than my house music, so we kind of ran with that for a little bit. Now my diehard fans understand where I come from, so they don’t mind me switching over. I can play a mostly house set and they still enjoy it. People who aren’t those diehard fans will try and bash me for not playing a lot of bass music in my sets, but that’s one of my goals in life, to end these stupid boundaries and tear down these walls. It sucks when people bash you for trying something new. It’s stupid.
Did trap really die at the end of the summer, as you publicly predicted? Y’know, hype-wise, it actually kind of went through a stage where it became another genre. The hype wasn’t as big as it was in January, but good music is good music. I’m not here to bash trap music because I was making it. But it’s true, it became oversaturated, and sh*t happens.
You’ve said you treat every single like it’s a mixtape. What does that mean? I go hard with the promo. A lot of people don’t go as hard with the promo, but I really try and hype the hell out a record, like guerilla marketing.
You’ve had the biggest DJs in the world ply your music, and you’re playing one of the most successful clubs in the nation this week. What do you see as the next level of personal success? It’s about evolving. All the greatest artists and DJs have evolved. You don’t evolve doing the same damn thing all the time. You don’t become a legend off of doing one thing. You take over the world with your sound and your knowledge and what you want to do. And that’s why I won’t stay in one little corner. I want a bigger platform to speak to the world.
Carnage October 14, 9:30 p.m., $30 men, $20 women. Marquee, 333-9000.