From Brilliance To Berklee And Back Again: The DiZ Interview

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The Massachusetts music scene has been highlighted by us more and more over the past few years. Where initially it was just Stizz, Christmas, and Swaggerdick, now it’s Van Buren, Johan Lenox, Bia, and most importantly, DiZ. This young maestro has a unique set of talents whether he flexes the prowess of their pen, or swoons us with the sound of the Sax. Overall a very gentle soul, but passion and precision bleed through when we spoke. A focus that isn’t hurried or rushed to spit out a controversial blurb, instead a calm and collected mental that has the bigger picture in mind.

A few weeks ago DiZ fit me into the schedule in between studying for his Midterms at Berklee. It was a fun interview where I learned more about who they were and what they were aiming to grow into. A musician yes, but a soul searching for real happiness in a world full of distractions is what I saw. DiZ is one of those artists who is going to connect with people on a real peer-to-peer basis. With ULTRA.VIOLET dropping this week, it’s only right we dropped this before the madness ensues. Get acquainted with the brilliance below.

Brick: Which midterm are you looking forward to the least? I mean no one’s really stoked about midterms at any point, but.

DiZ: I mean the only midterm I’m actually worried about is my midterm for my private lessons because it’s not actually a thing but he told me it was going to be a thing for me last week, so I’ve had like a week to prepare the material and it’s a lot of stuff.

Brick: You’ll be alright, bro, you’re there for a reason. How old are you and you’re from Boston, Massachusetts born and raised, correct?

DiZ: I’m 19, was born in San Francisco and grew up in the Boston area.

Brick: When did you know music was the thing you really wanted to do in life?

DiZ: I had a few run-ins with like “oh shit, I can write music and try it out.” in middle school, but I never really stuck with it. I would write like emo songs and stuff kind of like Panic! At The Disco and shit, I was deep in my emo phase at that point. It wasn’t really until the summer going into freshman year, ‘cause I kinda got re-connected with some of my friends from my childhood and they were kinda thinking about doing music so we made our first song together and it was awful. It’s probably still somewhere on Soundcloud. The last couple of years is when I realized this is what I really want to do and take it seriously.

Brick: Bet. Was there always support from your family or did they try to push you in another direction?

DiZ: Nah, my family is very artistic. My grandfather was a pretty well-known sculptor and painter in the Boston area, his name was John Wilson he has some work up all over the place. So yeah, art is a pretty big thing in my family and pretty well supported. They all took it well, obviously, my mom always wanted me to be creative and explore the more creative side of myself and she’s sending me to Berkley. She’s definitely ambivalent and worried that I’m not going to be able to support myself, but yeah.

Brick: Yeah, life is so chaotic you just have to go all-in on whatever you really love and if it’s meant to be the pieces will fall into place. As long as you’re doing something you’re loving, the universe kind of takes note of that. What do you do when you’re away from music? However long those periods may be, is there something that when you’re tired of practicing, is there something you do to escape from all of this?

DiZ: I watch the Celtics. That’s like one of the only things I look for outside of music. When it’s warm outside I go skating. It’s a little sad to say, but my life kind of 100% revolves around music.

Brick: That’s not sad, that’s kind of beautiful. From an outer standpoint, I feel like mad people’s focus is like getting drunk and sports gambling and stuff like that. You have a pure love for something that’s truly therapeutic and good for you. Sometimes it’s good to be hyper-obsessed with that and I feel like it kind of chose you. You obviously have talent at this in multiple platforms or with your instruments or with your voice, you know? You can’t be pushing away what’s meant to be. I feel like certain artists probably go back and forth with themselves about if they’re spending too much time on work, but I feel like your an artist and it’s your art you can do whatever you want with it. What are some things you love and hate about the Boston music scene?

DiZ: So much. There are a lot of different sounds in the Boston music scene, it’s not just one thing. If you go to a house show or something, one act will be rap and the next will be like math rock and then you’ll have an EDM act. There’s a really fun underground basement show scene and I really love that.

Brick: Do you feel like the artists that have had a little bit of success are still accessible in the city or do they come back and show love like Stizz or Bia? Do you feel a presence of them still or do you feel like you would still have to leave to get better notoriety or exposure?

DiZ: Oh, I definitely think I’d have to leave. There’s no musical infrastructure here, it’s really sad ‘cause there’s like 3 great music schools. Outside of that, there’s not a lot of music-y things.

Brick: Why Ultraviolet for the title?

DiZ: Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about it, kind of what I do with the names of my projects is I’ll come up with a name and then I’ll try to figure out a way to make it make sense.

Brick: You just let things kind of flow to where they’re going to get and then kind of piece it together.

DiZ: The explanation that I’ve started to come up with is, Ultraviolet rays come from the sun, of course, and the sun is either going to bring you joy, like when you go out on a sunny day and you feel happy, it’s warm outside and people are smiling and stuff like that. There’s the good side of it and then there’s also the bad parts of it, like getting a sunburn which is pretty minuscule but damn, bro, you don’t want to get cancer or some shit, you know? So that’s the working meaning behind Ultraviolet, it’s still being workshopped. I’ll probably after the tenth time someone asks me have a better and more cohesive explanation, but that’s all I have right now. It’s kind of a random name that I think sounds like of cool.

Brick: It’s open for interpretation.

DiZ: Yeah, exactly!

Brick: Who are some people that you look up to, whether that’s in life, music, producers, artists, whatever that may be, who are some people that you really admire?

DiZ: There are a lot of people. For a producer, I have to say The Alchemist. He seems like such a nice guy and easy to work with and the way he works kind of seems similar to myself and it seems very personal. He’s not really in a big studio, it’s just the shit he has in his house and it’s nothing super fancy and he’s just like sitting at the console, smoking a cigarette. I want to be in that room and hang out with him.

Brick: What’s the last album that you listened to that really blew you away that was like that real moment of honestly in between the listener and the person who made it?

DiZ: Red Burns by Standing On The Corner is an insane album. It’s 2 songs, but both songs are like 30 minutes long. It’s so wild and so good.

Brick: Such a Berklee answer, bro, but hell yeah. Send me that link I’ll have to listen in front of a fire or some shit.

DiZ: Oh my god, yeah, that’s what you gotta do. Just like block out some time and just listen to it.

Brick: Hell yeah, is that how you normally listen to music?

DiZ: No.

Brick: I feel like there are times where we all do that shit where we just want to sit down and really pay attention to it and then throw headphones in to zone out.

DiZ: I heard about this album that’s like 6 songs and all of them are an hour long and it’s documenting the stages of dementia. It’s by this guy called The Caretaker, but I still haven’t listened it.

Brick: What’s the goal for you after music? Say you have this 15-20 year run, do you hang it up? Are you having the Madison Square Garden black album or are you just going into the shadows to never be heard from again and just move to a cabin and listen to 30 minute long songs?

DiZ: I will definitely be doing the latter, but also playing in shitty jazz clubs, just playing with random casts. 50 year old me just showing up and having fun playing some jazz. That’s what I want to do, that would be really fun.

Brick: Fuck yeah. What message would you give to your younger self at a time that was a little dark for you? What would you have loved to hear or really taken in and appreciated from your future self at a time like that?

DiZ: Probably that I’m not alone and that I’m loved. That was a big thing for me, I was very lonely and I could’ve used that.

Brick: Hell yeah. It’s hard to lose track of everything with all of the shit going on in the world, man, it really is. I had one of those weeks like a month and a half ago, I was dealing with the job that I hated and quit that shit, and people could tell I was happier, I hear you, man. Put the blinders on and you’re just focused and just going about your stuff, that’s real shit. You have to look around and take a deep breath and to hear that you’re loved is the biggest thing. I always tell my homies that I love them and it’s all love, ‘cause you never know. What are some things you’re looking forward to in your future?

DiZ: I just want to form good relationships with people and meet people that really push me and make me feel that I’m a part of something, just good people. Having good folks around me is something that’s really important to me, I try to be a pretty nice person for the most part. I think one of the most important things in life is to have relationships that you really cherish, so I want to have that. I just want to be happy and obviously be able to have money.

Brick: This was really great, I appreciate you taking the time.

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