Meet the multidisciplinary artist and producer from Canarsie Brooklyn
Dazegxd’s discography has been shaped by the rave music of the early 00s and video games as well as his Jamaican and Ghanaian heritage, and neighborhood of Canarsie, Brooklyn. He intertwines different elements of hardcore, acid, jungle, trap, rap, house, techno + more to create illimitable sounds. The next level of rave utopia is here, as New York City experiences one of its most raw eras in music. One that can be found in many places. On the sticky floor of a club basement, painted on the walls of an abandoned warehouse, lingering in the air of a smoky studio. Most importantly: within the breathing, bleeding heart of all who dance.
All photos by Luke Gezelle @lukegez
In Studio 368 tucked inside an unassuming warehouse off Canal Street, we welcome 21-year old producer, DJ and multimedia artist Dazegxd. It is warm outside, the May pollen season has begun, and the hum of traffic and steamed air is silenced with the closing of the large glass doors. Inside here feels far away from the hectic pavements of Soho, it is calm and the AC is cooling. Many artists use this space for work, and can be seen in different pockets of the 2-floor-building. Some kind of guitar music is playing on the speaker, and a faint smell of smoke drifts around. There is a small diner-style kitchen in the back of the upstairs room in which we sit. It has those traditional red booth seats with metal appliances hanging on the wall behind where Daze is. He is tall and has to sit with his legs extended past the table, but he still appears humble, and relaxed.
A young 10 year old Daze growing up in Canarsie, Brooklyn would become enthralled in the music from his video games. At that time, Jungle, Drum & Bass, Hardcore, Acid styles of electronic music set the tone for much of the early 2000’s soundtracks. From games, TV commercials, and movies- this music was chaotic and tough. Although many styles of dance music had been around for some time (like acid house one of jungles derivatives) the heavy basslines, sliced breakbeats, which combined Dancehall, Dub, Funk, Hip Hop and Reggae samples were unique to this new era of Caribbean-driven Soundsystem-cultivated Rave and Club sounds.
For Daze, in ways, this is the noise of his youth. He discovered digitally imported radio stations, which would become his main source for hearing the extensive discographies of its many genres and sub-categories . “They had it formatted so well, like 24-hour stations playing music like jungle, house, techno, old school rave and acid- they had that shit mapped out.”
But it wasn’t necessarily popular music outside of his bubble. “You know at school they didn't get it at the time, like they do now, in the 2010’s it wasn't really a big thing in New York, around where I grew up in Canarsie. But I never cared because I liked it a lot.”
At age 11, Daze began making beats and by age 17 this would evolutionize into his first mixtape Daze’s Game! Which was released in 2019. At the end of highschool he was collaborating with local rappers and making more trap-style beats which gained him a niche internet following. After which, he would return to his love of rave music, and begin to fuse the two styles together. Creating a whole lot of projects - written out like game storylines, each album with its own narrative, like Daze’s Saga! (2020) and Daze’s Game 3! (2021) new volume’s would be created, to be continued. Crazy4u! (2022) vKiSS (2022) and the more recent just 2 c u / how u hatin? + dSX.fm (2023) are some newer titles.
With an impressive catalog of music - self-released as well as affiliated with labels Eldia and deadAir- as well as being routinely booked for shows in NYC and across the US, with peers Swami Sound, Gum.mp3, Dazegxd is in-motion.
Join us as we discuss some pivotal moments in his story so far:
I know you speak on it in your blog, but it would be good to hear more about what lead you to the music you make now:
So i was always interested in electronic music but i never knew what the exact genres were, this was around the time of being 8,9,10
Oh wow you were so young-
-yeah and like i was hearing a lot of music from different sources, before i was listening to electronic music heavy i was listening to whatever my mom and dad was playing or my family. Reggae and Dancehall from my Mom’s side of the family and traditional Ghanaian music and Rap and Z100 Pop music from my Dad or wherever he was playing in the car. Then when I got my tablet, I found games like GTA 3’s MSX, JSR and digitally imported radio- i was like damn it’s a thing where people just make radio stations and are off the grid?
That’s where I initially found out about pirate radio- then I started researching more about this. It really opened the floodgates for me. They had it formatted so well, like 24 hour stations playing different genres of music: Jungle, House, Techno, Old School Rave and Acid- they had that shit mapped out.
Were the kids at school listening to it- were you sharing it with your friends?
I was trying to show it to people and it was always kind of laughed at like “oh it sounds like video game music” and yeah… it does.. And I love it. And you know they didn't get it at the time, like they do now, in the 2010’s it wasn't really a big thing in New York, around where I grew up at in Canarsie. But I never cared because I liked it a lot.
When did you start to make beats?
Around the same time, i had kind of like 3 different starts into making beats right- first when i was 10/11 and i had the android tablet and there was this app called music maker jam and i was just playing around with that shit, i was making full fledged songs out of the loops they gave me and they weren't good songs i was making little nonsense, and then age 12/13 i got my copy of FL Studio of a torrent website and i started with that a bit, i still wasn't good - making electronic music- then i started making like trap beats because there was a lot of rappers in my school. It didn't really hit for people in school but it was hitting online and I kept going with this til I was 19 which was when I realized I wanted to start making electronic music again. So I started doing that and that's where I'm at right now.
With your digital presence and where we are at with the internet, and video games have you witnessed much evolution from when you were a kid to where you’re at now at 21?
Definitely yeah, since its got more embraced over the years thanks to tiktok a lot of new faces have been coming up doing stuff that people might not have been doing in the times before when electronic music first started- and that's not to say against the originators of this stuff cus they're legends in their own right, but it's been a lot of new blood being pumped into electronic music. It's also a lot of people like me who came across this music in video games and it came with the notion that they can really do this shit, which is carrying over to how they make music now.
I can see that just from some of your earlier discography like DazGame3 to where you mix different bits of trap and dance music- like in all of your projects- is this something you can always see yourself in- within your own lane of jungle/trap/rave/?
Yes, I am here to stay for a long time. I like where I'm at right now and I enjoy the music I'm making and I like that other people enjoy the music I'm making.
Although it is mostly fun music, it can be nostalgic in a way, and like a backdrop to a lot of pivotal life moments- are there any moments that stand out to you from listening to it as a kid?
it's a few songs- there's this one song called Dub-One King Operator that i listened to when i was young, its this like Drumfunk type song, there was many times when i cried to that song as a kid, i was going through a lot of shit, my dad was in the hospital- it was like damn… this song’s hard but I'm sad as shit and I'm forever going to have this intertwined association with that song.
Thank you for sharing that. It can be super emotional. And I know you said on Daze Blog you’d only talk about the meaning behind vKiSS once, I loved the description of it a lot and it got me thinking about romantic rave music as being this whole thing. Are there any other projects that feel like that to you?
That one Rochelle Jordan track- that goes “I can love you good…” I think that's like a really pivotal track.
Which of your projects has been the most joyful to make so far?
Given your interest in books, would you ever write a graphic story with your mascot Dazegirl?
Yeah, my whole thing is i don't really want Dazegirl to be like a self-insert and i feel like if i were to start writing it id like self-insert- heavy. I don't know, I want to give it a lot of thought before I wanna write a whole ass comic and what not. But I do wanna give Dazegirl more of a story.
Going back to talking about subgenres like Drumfunk and all that- its so many words to describe this music and even down to some of the YouTube game compilation soundtracks naming stuff like “intelligent Drum and Bass” and shit like that… is there any subcategories that stood out to you where you were like huh?
I remember every time I used to upload an unreleased track to Soundcloud, it would always tag it some shit like hashtag Micro House, like wtf is micro house, y’all made that shit up. And I told my manager like “yo they made that shit up” and he was like “no it's an actual thing. You remember that Farben album: Texstar you like? That's Micro House” and I was like “yeah I really like that album holy shit.”
It's a lot of names you don't really think about until it just clicks.
I know, I'm always thinking like who actually comes up with these terms? I feel like anybody who makes music could coin their own thing.
Right. That's why I started calling some of my shit Dazecore, it just blends a lot of shit I make but it doesn't really need to have much of a meaning.
Dazecore definitely makes sense for your music, sometimes you can't really put it into boxes as strictly house or jungle or one thing. have you ever been too far gone in the YouTube hole and found a really obscure or weird song?
Yes. it's been a few like that. I could pull up one right now. Does soundcloud cuts count too?
It's called Interstellar by Yair-1.
*song plays* I can send you a link but it's hard.
There's also this one track on my blog Darren Keen - Diamond [Seculaisis, 2014] that no body has even heard of it has like 15 views but then i looked at it last week and it had 50 views so the blog is doing something-
The blog IS doing something!
I fucking love that song i think i found on digitally imported radio
I'd also like to hear about how you joined with Eldia, like how did you all meet?
Eldia was an internet music collective founded by Age & Optic Core in 2019/2020; their first album was NOISE0001 which hooked me in as a fan. Age saw that I wanted to make dance music and he offered me a spot in Eldia around August 2021. Further down the line as I collaborated with Gum more, I invited Gum to join Eldia & later Swami as well. While me, Gum & Swami were performing shows together consistently, I realized we needed a name for ourselves & on the April 1st 2022 Eldia Radio uploads- i titled us as EldiaNYC for the first time.
How do you feel about this whole discourse around rave resurgence and dance music being big in the mainstream again?
I HATE dance music discourse so much like and it hurts because i was really embroiled in this too, like i was getting hot under the collar on twitter abut this shit and i really sat down and I thought: at the end of the day I just want niggas dancing bro I dont care if its being wave rode- I dont fucking care- if people are dancing if people are happy thats all that should be discussed. The only thing that should be noted is talking about the history of this shit that always should be important and kept alive. Keeping the history alive will keep the culture alive.
As of right now if your life had a theme song what would it be?
Can I pick my own song?
Tell me by me, but as a backup id say like….shit… let me check my spotify repeat right now. I'm on a big jersey drill kick right now, as well as Shawny Bin Laden, Boof Pack Mooky, Burial, i love this track-Accidental Feelings by Muddyoush & Ndoty.
In terms of working with other New York artists on your projects- is there anybody who you're working with right now that you’d wanna talk about?
Moh- he’s homie, Moh Baretta. That kind of came out the blue, I was listening to this one song he made 21 pilots od heavy and I was like damn I wanna work with this nigga so I hit him up on twitter like yo can I send you beats and he ended up hopping on a track that samples vKiSS and that shit was super fire. He grew up in Brooklyn just like me. I told him what highschool I went to and he was astounded because it's not a highschool known like that.
Is there anything you can envision for the future of rave music within New York within the next like 5 years?
I think we're going to have our own variation of club music, like Baltimore Club, Jersey Club, Philly Club, I think New York is finally going to have its own sound that's not like a derivative of something like Jersey Club. As far as rave music there's a whole lot of Renegade’s going on right now, Fortified Structures and Helltekk, they do a lot of Renegade events and they’re starting a really good movement so far of like Hardcore music. I think Jungle might make a resurgence too, because you know, New York’s paying more attention to the Caribbean cultures in the city, like they just renamed part of the city officially Little Haiti- which - and i've said this before in another interview- it's a funny name because there’s too many Jamaicans to call that shit Little Haiti- but aside from that yeah, i think Jungle and genres that are derivative of Dub and Dancehall music is going to make another boom.
It's been really cool to see the evolution of everything musically. Even in just the past 3 years. If you could create a line up for a big warehouse type rave with any artists on it, who would you book?
DJ Rashad, Shy FX, DJ Swisha, Salute, Nia Archives, Pink Pantheress, CLIPS, Sunship, Dub- One.
What's a belief you’ve held onto since you were young?
Treat people the way you want to be treated, everthings going to sort itself out if you let it sort itself out, and if you can get away with just doing some bullshit, do it but make sure it doesn't hurt anyone. Make it a reasonable amount of bullshit. Lying on your taxes? Go for it. But you know, robbing people? Try not to do that shit, thats gonna fuck somebody over. Scamming people? Not good, don’t do that.
And what are you most excited for within the next year?
I'm moving out! I'm excited to live alone. I'm trying to see the world next year. I wanna do shows in Asia, Europe, South America. It's a huge ass world out there and I really wanna see it.
That concludes our interview, is there anything you want to make known?
Love everybody, that's it.