Don’t be fooled by Crizzly’s slight build because his beats are monstrously huge and bombastic. The crunkstep connoisseur openly admits that he doesn’t take his music seriously, and that’s not a shot at his pummelling brostep beats but instead it’s a confession that is bolstered by the young man’s passion for pizza and fun. Ahead of his closing performance at H-Artistry, JUICE speaks with Crizzly to learn about how he started producing, being a DJ-producer in Texas, and his almost zen-like approach to possible haters of his music.
Images Milk PR + Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia
“Instead of saying, ‘Hey, I’m a DJ! You should book me,’ I went, ‘I make music AND I DJ.'”
You started out DJing at weddings, school dances, bar mitzvahs. What was the turning point that made you decide you should start making your own beats?
There were music festivals around Texas and I really wanted to play those. I thought I already knew how to play instruments, so I should just make it so that [making my own music] would give me a head start on local DJs to make sure I get booked for shows. Instead of saying, “Hey, I’m a DJ! You should book me,” I went, “I make music AND I DJ.”
How’s the talent pool in Texas in terms of DJs and producers, because it seems like more of a hub for rock and country music?
There are really good producers out there. There aren’t a lot compared to LA – it’s a lot smaller. But Texas is huge, it’s got one of the Top 10 biggest cities in the country. I like to think of that when I do shows there. Texas is its own country, basically. Texas is the same as everywhere else; there are clubs and DJs that are pretty big there.
“… everything I do, I consider as tongue-in-cheek.”
How did you come to term your music as ‘crunkstep’? Was it intended as a joke at first?
Yeah, everything I do, I consider as tongue-in-cheek. But at the same time, crunk, as a term, is something I grew up with – like Lil Jon. When that was going on, I was in middle school. I liked the music but I never took it seriously, kinda like how I don’t take my music seriously. It’s just about having a good time. And also, dubstep was getting bigger when I was DJing so I just kinda put the two together to make ‘crunkstep’.
Is that how Slice Gang started? From that jokey-ness? We also understand that it’s a music label too?
Yeah, exactly. I only put my own songs on there just to get it on iTunes and stuff. Yeah, it’s also tongue-in-cheek. Me and my friends, we like to eat pizza. That’s the only thing that’s open after 2am when clubs close, so we eat a lot of pizza.
We read that you like using your fame as a platform to promote fellow Texan talents. Do you feel like it’s a way to pay it forward for the success you have?
Yeah, exactly. I do a local show every Tuesday in my hometown with my friends who are just starting out to play at a larger crowd. When you’re a struggling producer, you’re just constantly working on your beats. I mean, I have a lot of friends like that. I like to get them started to play in front of crowds, so one day if they happen to make it, they’re already prepared for it.
You said that you don’t take your music seriously, but have you thought, “Hey, I’m a musician. I’m not just a kid toying around.”?
Not really. Making music, at the end of the day, should be fun. The fact that it’s more lighthearted in the way that I approach it, works for me. Yeah, making music should be fun, but that’s the style of music that I make – it’s not for everyone, I just find happiness doing it.
What’s the most exotic pizza topping you’ve tried and liked?
Man… not anchovies, I don’t like anchovies. Oh! Figs. We were at a pizza stop in Vegas – it was featured on one of the food channels, it was really sweet, I didn’t expect it to be good.
Crizzly performed at H-Artistry on Saturday 8 October ’16 at MIECC.