Propelled by a well-received collaboration with Borgore, Carnage's stock is steadily rising in the EDM world. He recently headlined the Bass Pod at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, and threw some wild parties before and after. In advance of his appearance at Global Dance Festival this weekend, we spoke with the dominating producer about what makes him tick and where he sees himself down the road.
Westword: How's it going?
Carnage: Chillin', watchin' Netflix. Posted up.
What are you watching on Netflix?
I'm just scrolling right now. I don't know. There isn't anything that I really follow. I guess South Park: I've watched just about every episode there is, but that's it.
I think Netflix is good for the documentaries. It makes me feel educated.
I love the documentaries.
Have you ever been out to Red Rocks?
I've never been out there. I've played in Denver before. Not Beta, what's the other one? Vinyl? It's Vinyl!
Do you have any pre-thoughts about Colorado?
I've just heard that the venue is really nice, so I have high expectations.
I'm certain they will be met. Is there anything musically that you are preparing.
I'm just ready for a lot of fun music.
What is fun music to you?
It's music that makes you be yourself. It's music that when you play you forget about everything and have the time of your life.
Do you think that changes over time for you?
Totally. It's definitely the crowds. With the bigger crowds, you have to give them what they want. The bigger the crowd is you have to think about what you are going to play and it's more brains that you have to educate.
Does that get nerve racking as a producer/DJ playing on a lineup where there are so many other talented artists?
I think the first time I was real nervous was at Electric Daisy Carnival. Most of the time, I feel really comfortable because I feel good with the microphone, but it only gets nerve-racking when there is something on my mind -- like, if my set is going to be recorded and people will hear it for months and months after, you know? That's when it gets nerve-racking.
Coming off something like EDC where you feel really good about it, what is your gauge for own personal success?
I felt like I was on top of the world after EDC.
Is that based on crowd response, or the cumulative of all of it?
It's the accumulation of everything. Also, there were so many people [at EDC], so early that it was nuts. The stage manager said it was the most people there for the set-time, which was 9:45, which was pretty early.
Being in the spotlight, how long does something like that last?
I'm still feeling high off EDC. I'm looking at it like, 'I like this high,' so I'm looking forward to what the next step is, you know? To be a winner, and to be the best... I want to be the best. I am stuck being addicted to wanting to be the best DJ that ever lived. It's an addiction. That's my goal: to have a platform where I can play my music, and have people listen to me and what I have to say.
Are there people that you feel are in that position now that you are aspiring toward, or do you want to pave your own path?
Of course there are people like that. Look at Tiesto, Afrojack and Hardwell: They are huge and have this platform to do what they want. I don't want to be a follower. I want to be a leader. I see a lot of people get stuck with this satisfaction, but I'm not satisfied until there is nothing left to gain. I'm never satisfied. I want to be bigger than Afrojack, Hardwell and Tiesto, but that's just striving everyday. If your goals are to be the best, you have to ask yourself, 'What are you doing?'
You have a resume all through hip-hop, trap, house... One second something is hot, and once you realize it's hot, it's not. What are you doing to further the genre and scene?
It's always been like that. I think the ones that get it are the ones that survive. They are the gauge for what is hot. It depends on what you want to be doing. If you want to be the king of this one sub-genre, then you do it. You fuckin' put your foot down and do it. A lot of people get stuck in one thing, and they get shadowed when that genre dies.
Do you have fear in that regard? What is your long term goal?
With music? It's that I want to be, one of the best ever doing it. When they make history books about production, I want to be in that book.
How do you think that would be defined?
That's a good question. There are a lot of ways to define it. Every person can define it in their own way because everyone has their own opinion about it. For me, it's just common sense, defined as 'you remember one.'
Like the guy who took the road less traveled, and had the foresight?
Exactly. The guy who knew what to do to get to where he is at.
With where your success is right now, do you feel like you are on that path?
I'm happy with what's going on, but I'm not satisfied with where I'm at. I'm happy that I'm on the verge of being one of the world's biggest DJs because that's my goal. But I'm not that, so I'm not satisfied. The response from shows is amazing. Every show for the last month has been sold out. Everything has been going crazy, so hopefully soon I'll reach my goal, but I'm happy with where I'm heading right now.