From behind dark sunglasses, Diamante Blackmon surveys the feast. There’s sushi and brownies, a pile of crab legs, a couple mocha Rice Krispies Treats and something that looks vaguely Mexican. It’s a lavish sampling from Cosmopolitan’s Wicked Spoon buffet, but Blackmon, known to his fans as Carnage, is eyeing a humble chicken wing.
“Can I take a bite of that?” he asks, gingerly lifting one off the plate. “This is the best chicken wing I’ve ever had,” he says mid-chew, not even cracking a smile.
Once upon a time, the DJ/producer wanted to be a chef. “I went through a phase when Emeril [Lagasse] was a god to me,” he says, but that was a long time ago. Last year saw Carnage playing festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival, embarking on a headlining tour and holding down a Monday-night Carnage in Black & White residency at Marquee, where he’ll take the booth this Saturday.
“I kinda do my own thing,” he says of playing the big room at the Cosmopolitan club. “I do what I want and I play what I like.”
That attitude defines Carnage, a soft-spoken guy who lived in Guatemala when he was young and is simultaneously sweet and confrontational. He’s known for his love of Chipotle Mexican Grill (he received a lifetime supply from the company via a magical “Carnage card” that rings up every order as $0.00) and for bouncing between genres, from trap to house to dubstep and bass, almost mocking the labels some use to distinguish this beat from that one. He hints that his upcoming debut album might include collaborations with Tiësto, Garth Brooks and Rick Ross.
Before becoming a DJ, Carnage was just a kid who liked music. He worked as a greeter at PacSun and as a bagger at a local grocery store, quitting both after two months. Now, he’s living out the dream of every bedroom Tiësto, playing to crowds who jump up and down on his command, traveling the world and hearing the titans of his industry spin his songs. He’s even made enough money to give back, which he did in December, sponsoring the creation of the Children’s Learning Center in Villa Japón, Nicaragua.
But the fame has its downsides: the brutal travel schedule, trash talk on Twitter, a rumor that circulated online that he killed four people when he stage-dove at a show in Ibiza. Carnage says he’s even received death threats. “‘Dance is so PLUR [Peace Love Unity Respect].’ It’s exactly the opposite.”
He says he’s trying to stay positive, keep it all in perspective. “It’s more than worth it. If I can do this the rest of my life, I’d gladly do it.”
Carnage January 24, doors at 10 p.m., $40+ men, $20+ women. Marquee, 702-333-9000.