When hardcore punk / hip-hop live wire D-CAN isn’t busy running his own record label Life To Live Records or touring with his straight edge punk band TRUTH INSIDE, he’s cutting some fine hip-hop tracks for his exciting solo project! I recently had the privilege to interview him to find out more about his background and current work. Read the interview below to find out more.
Hey there buddy! What’s up in Florida?
Hey Karol not a lot! Just a late night getting sleepy 0___0
Cool! Apart from the work around Life To Live Records, I’m really glad you’ve been recently enjoying your solo rap/hip-hop alter ego! How do you feel you’ve evolved with the DCAN project?
I love it! I just love having an outlet no matter what. It’s cool that I don’t have to rely on a bunch of band members and I get to pick whatever I like. It’s definitely still a big hobby but a cool one to me.
How would you say your thing is different from other rap artists and groups? Do you even try to differentiate your work from “the competition”?
I just try and do what I like honestly. In some ways I try to differentiate but at the same time I just love classic 90’s hip-hop so that’s what I’m going to sound like here and there.
Can you explain your songwriting and production process?
Sometimes I come up with an idea and start writing things down and go from there. Other times I hear a song and it just makes me feel a certain way so I write from there.
What other people are involved in your work? Tell me more about Cyborganics and other personas that determine the evolution of DCAN.
Cyborganics aka Chad Lowe has been a huge help. He is my go to dude for mixing and mastering every time I record and he usually has advice for different songs which is pretty cool. A dude I toured with over the summer by the name of Watson helped me out a lot too. Him and the Loud Impact Productions crew brought me on their 2 month tour and I got to travel all over playing hip hop shows. Definitely something different than the normal hardcore touring I was used to. Shout outs to both of them for sure.
Who were your influences to get into rap music in the first place? What kind of music was in your household when you were growing up? Tell us a bit more about your adventure with this genre and its relation to your involvement in hardcore punk.
Some of my big influences would be Biggie, Nas, Big L, and even a lot of current rappers like Kid Cudi and Kanye West. Just people who you can tell work hard at what they do and that alone is a huge influence to me. I listened to whatever my brother was playing when I grew up. That and the radio so whatever was on that. Sometimes my brother was playing loud rap and other times he had punk bands like NOFX blasting. After that I remember him playing bands like BANE and COMEBACK KID which soon got me into hardcore. I remember seeing hardcore bands play live and I was like yooo that’s what I want to do.
How do both musical and cultural worlds relate to contemporary values and ideas? Tell us more about the relation between these forms of expression.
Both relate to values and ideas in a lot of ways. Whatever is happening musically usually is a result of the real world problems going on. Without the chaos in the world or the daily life problems there probably wouldn’t be as much to talk about. It’s all a big chain.
How about live shows? Is DCAN a heavy live animal? How often do you perform your rhymes live?
I am always working on my performances with each show I play. One time I had the whole crowd jump on the stage with me so that was pretty wild. The D-CAN shows are only going to get crazier as time goes on. I try and play live when I can but I’ve actually had a break lately since I’ve been working 2 jobs and trying to save up some money.
I remember a couple of amazing gigs featuring both rap and hardcore artists, such as SKARHEAD / DANNY DIABLO vs Warsaw’s MOLESTA EWENEMENT / HARD TO BREATHE battle. Sick jamboree. Do you have any crossover punk / rap shows in your area?
That’s all pretty sick and I played one punk / hip-hop show in Pensacola. It was a small crowd but a pretty cool vibe. There used to be a handful of shows I would play around my hometown but nothing has been happening lately.
Ok buddy, do where did you come up with the nickname DCAN and why?
It’s just the D from Dan and the CAN from Cantarero which is my last name. I was like damn I need a stage name and I thought it had an old school feel to it so I went with it.
Your recent EP serves an impressive EP tribute to hip hop artist MF DOOM! What made you choose this particular artist and what other influences are there in your creative life?
He’s a genius honestly. The man produces his own music, rhymes over all of it, AND he does different personas. Anybody that can do all of that is a genius straight up. As far as other influences go just living life day to day. When something crazy happens I try and utilize that situation to write about it.
What do you think about the new generation of rap artists? What’s the ratio of new-to-old music in your player?
Honestly there will always be the whack emcees from what I’ve noticed but there are a ton of cats spitting real rhymes. As far as new-to-old I listen to a lot of everything just to see what’s going on but I would usually pick the old over the new.
By the way, do you believe young musicians respect the roots of the genre and those that were around before them?
Somebody has to carry on the torch so honestly why not? Pay homage and respect where it’s due and know your roots. That’s my biggest thing because a ton of people hop into the music (I was that person at one point) and just don’t know anything about it. That’s where the research comes in.
Alright mate, so let’s sum it up with a couple of lines about your label and that darker side of your musical taste. How do you feel about hardcore these days, what artists do you follow and what punk projects are you currently involved in?
LTL forever and D-CAN til the top. Hardcore is awesome and there are tons of bands out there doing the damn thing. Every release I put out with LTL is something I am pumped on. Lately HARDWIRED, SELF DESTRUCT, DETAIN, MALICE AT THE PALACE, and HEAD CREEPS. I sing in a hardcore band called LSNS LRND and we just put out an EP called Knowledge Is Power. It’s up for free download through the LTL bandcamp. That and D-CAN are my only projects at the moment but I wouldn’t be surprised if I started a new band sooner or later.
Cool, thanks a lot man! Shoot us some secrets and tease your future plans a but before we say goodbye. The final words are yours!
A TRUTH INSIDE discography 12″ is in the works. The band just kind of ended and I wanted to give it a final RIP. That one should drop sometime at the end of the year.
Bummer! Sorry to hear that! Cheers though! Best regards from Warsaw!
Thanks for the cool interview Karol! Hope all is well.