Paper Diamond rules, and we jumped at the opportunity to interview him after playing a killer set on the Electric Forest stage at the Movement Festival in Detroit. Check it to find out which upcoming producers he’s watching, what it means to be a “Renaissance Man” and which artists he would interview if he had the chance.
Describe your style with three words.
►All over everywhere.
What’s your favorite part about performing live?
►I love connecting with the audience. I get so inspired by music and it takes me to another place, so when I’m making it, I can get out of my body and let the music speak for itself. When I get to experience it on stage, it’s the best experience; it flies by. I get there and all of a sudden I’m done. It’s like a time warp or something.
Have you always been involved with music?
►I started playing violin when I was four. I was immersed in music and it has been a natural progression into my obsession, which has never stopped. I live it; I think about music all the time. I think about the future of music, where it’s been, where it came from, where it’s going, who’s doing what, where my place is. To me, music is a conversation. Not only can you say something with music, but within itself, it’s a conversation within a song. I use music to express my voice and my personality.
Can you recall a point in time when you realized this would be your full-time career?
►In the middle of an eight-hour session, I had an epiphany and realized, “This is my love, I’m gonna go after it.” Ever since, I’ve been trying to stay on top of technology and new music. I still want to have my mind blown; I’m searching for that all the time. I get excited when I hear new things and that’s what I try to bring to my music, too. I want to blow people’s minds and my own at the same time.
If you could interview any artist, who would it be?
►I might ask Flying Lotus some things. Or Jimi Hendrix, if it doesn’t have to be someone who’s alive.
What’s a common challenge successful artists will face?
►I think being on tour is hard for people. Not me personally, I love it. I did four months straight – 60 shows in America then Germany and Canada and stuff. I think being on the road wears on people.
Who’s your favorite person you’ve worked with?
►I got to go in the studio with Big Boi from OutKast. Nothing has fully come of it yet, but it was just so dope I got invited to the studio. I got to play him a bunch of my original music. I feel like working with different people is all different – working with him, working with Mannie Fresh in New Orleans who’s written countless hits like “Bask That Azz Up” with Lil Wayne, going to the studio with Chad Hugo. I’m inspired by all my friends like Big Gigantic, Pretty Lights, Bassnectar. I’m like a sponge; I’m very sensitive to the things around me, picking up bits and pieces, and I’m constantly inspired.
Do you have an eye on any upcoming artists?
►Definitely. There’s a producer named Protohype out of LA who’s amazing; he’s like a machine, making songs every day. There’s a dude named Buku out of Pittsburgh who’s really dope. There’s a band out of Nashville called Cherub that I really like. I check out everything.
How do you discover this talent?
►SoundCloud… I try to never underestimate anyone. If someone tells me they make music, I’m like, “Oh cool, send me something,” and I will check it out.
Is there something else, un-related musical skills, you think is essential for an artist’s success?
►Of course. You need to be like a Renaissance Man. Like, I’m a designer, I’m a photographer, I own a clothing company, I own a design company, I own an art gallery. I was managing artists for a while; we had our own label with distribution and all that stuff. I don’t know what other people are doing, but for me, it’s all connected. It’s like learning to play the guitar then being able to play drums.
What first drew you to electronic music?
►First, the melodies and the chords. I’m obsessed with melodic intention. Whether there are lyrics or not, I like to convey some kind of emotion when it comes to playing a line or something. I just saw the potential and loved the music and the way it made people move. I feel electronic music is so open-ended. The main thing that appealed to me was that I played all the instruments and then could just record it all on my own.
Do you have any goals to reach by the end of this year?
►I just want to make the most meaningful, dopest music I can make, continue to connect with people and hear new stuff, and blow people’s minds.
Are there any festivals you want to play that you haven’t been booked for yet?
►I’m at a lot of them this year I’ve always dreamed of playing. I can’t think of any off the top of my head that I’m not booked for. I’m excited to play Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball, Camp Bisco…
Do you have a preference playing festivals over clubs?
►I like playing outdoors and hearing sound as big as they make it. I like playing clubs, too. Honestly, I’m so grateful to be playing music all the time that it doesn’t matter where it is.
What advice can you offer to aspiring artists?
►Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and work your ass off. Actually, my first tattoo ever is a symbol of that.