If anyone knows trap music, it’s Atlanta’s own Heroes X Villains. We are not talking about the cookie-cutter kind of trap you hear too much of these days, but the kind of music that makes you feel like you’re listening to something truly legit — the kind of music that trap was meant to be when the genre was formed.
Daniel Pollard aka Daniel Disaster, as he is known outside of the HXV moniker, started DJing at the age of 15, later beginning the HXV project in 2009. In 2012 HXV released his first mixtape, We Off That, on Diplo’s Mad Decent, which was hosted by both Lil’ Jon and Cobra Corps. This release caught the eyes and ears in both the hip-hop and bass community, propelling HXV to a prolific career that has since seen him remix songs by numerous artists, including The Weeknd, Young Jeezy and Charli XCX. His resume is stacked with singles, EPs, mixtapes and work for the fashion industry, of which he is an avid aficionado. As Creative Loafing brilliantly put it, “Last year, CL named Daniel Disaster Best Trap Ambassador At Large. […] Disaster worked that role, taking Southern rap into dance clubs on the grimy coattails of post-dub step – rebranded as trap music.”
Atlanta born-and-bred, HXV’s sound is rowdy and makes you want to party — in the truest sense of the word — and that’s exactly why he was hand-picked to headline EIF and bring Guam to a bass-heavy frenzy like the Island has never experienced!
We had the chance to chat with him ahead of EIF to give you a little insight on what he has been up to, his thoughts on Guam and much more. Enjoy the read and don’t forget your tickets to EIF Guam 2018, it’s one you don’t want to miss!
Hafa Adai Daniel, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! How has life been treating you so far in 2018?
2018 has been great. I’ve been very focused on creating and setting up new music to come out for the next two years.
Firstly let us say how amazing it is to have you coming over to Guam to play for EIF! Have you ever been to the island?
This is my first time to Guam, I’m not sure what to expect but I’m looking forward to exploring the island, experiencing the culture and the food.
What do you know about Guam?
I know that it’s beautiful – and I’m familiar with its role in our world history. Guam is a strategic place for the US to have a military base.
Will you be spending any extra days on island or just in-and-out for the gig?
I’ll be spending a few days there exploring.
Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to on your trip?
Having a great set, bringing Atlanta to Guam, and enjoying the culture.
You’re from Atlanta, a city that has given birth to a lot of quality rap, hip-hop and trap. What distinguishes the ATL sound from that of other cities and regions?
The Atlanta sound is trap music, with heavy 808 bass, rapid note high hats, and minor key melodies. It’s been that way for over a decade now, and the last few years we’ve seen it really shape ALL music, like EDM, pop, even country.
The great thing about Atlanta music is that it’s constantly evolving and shifting. There’s a large culture of creativity here and these pockets and sounds arise from
People collaborating and working together. It’s all very organic, there is no real record industry here, that’s all still in LA and New York, so you don’t have a lot of record labels that are disconnected from the culture calling the shots as to what people make.
You’re a versatile DJ and producer… how would you describe your trap sets to someone who has never heard one?
My sets are a good mix of songs people might now, repurposed into a new context by mixing them with things they wouldn’t have anticipated or thought of. And a showcase of new songs and artists that they don’t know. I still believe in the role of a dj to break new music and not just play hit songs everyone knows, anyone can do that, that’s what Spotify playlists are for.
Trap DJs can sometimes focus on rap/hip-hop and other times on trap remixes of EDM tracks. What’s your stance on this?
Whatever someone is feeling creatively, go for it. I’ve remixed EDM songs and at that time and place that’s what I was feeling because at the time it was still fresh. I do think it’s annoying when a new song drops and thousands of bootleg remixes land on SoundCloud within an hour of the song being released. That doesn’t feel like art to me, it feels more like people trying to catch an opportunity to gain streams off a successful original work.
I remember you being pretty big on fashion. How did that passion come about?
I love art, design, architecture all of these things, fashion is an extension and in a lot of ways a combination of all of those things. I love how fleeting fashion is and it’s always focused on the new, next thing, and burning down what came before it. That constant push to evolve is exciting to me.
Do music and fashion have things in common for you?
Absolutely, what I have loved about electronic music has been that same constant push to evolve. Brands, clothing, and music are all things we use to help identify who we are to the world, what we represent and what we stand for. They are tools we use as a culture to help us connect with one another and to express ourselves.
Who are some of your favorite music producers and artists at the moment?
I love Madeaux’s new album Burn, I think it’s one of the freshest mainstream electronic albums in a long time. I love Troubles album Edgewood, Gunna’s mixtape drip season 3, I’m a huge Vince Staples fan also. I love Chelsea Wolfs last album Hiss Spun, this group HVOB, heavy techno like Black Asteroid and anything Trent Reznor does.
And how about fashion… any designers in particular you think are doing great things right now?
I have and will always be a huge Rick Owens fan, I think he’s just still so ahead of everyone he’s pulling references that no one is even paying attention to until he does it. My friend Virgil Abloh is doing great work with Off White and was recently named the new head of Louis Vuitton Menswear. I’ve been increasingly into tech wear, as our climate changes resulting in really dramatic shifts in weather patterns I think that all our clothes eventually will be more tech wear influenced to be able to withstand various climates. Errolson Hugh and what he’s done with Acronym and the ACG line for Nike is really great with some highly versatile pieces. Focusing on the functionality of the clothing without compromising the design at all is really inspiring.
Old Kanye or New Kanye?
Definitely depends on my mood – I think Yeezus is a masterpiece but I also love his lyrics and the overall feel of late registration. The Life of Pablo feels messy and unfinished to me, but I think that’s intentional on his part.
Cardi B is huge right now, but not everyone seems convinced. What are your thoughts?
Cardi B is the archetype for what it’s like to launch a new artist in our current culture. The personality comes first, the music or whatever product they are pushing is secondary. I think what she’s done is unprecedented and we can all learn from it. This wouldn’t have worked if she didn’t put out hit records, her songs are undeniable hits.
Which Kanye do you prefer more: the musician or the designer?
Kanye the creative. I do wish he would focus on the main thing people fell in love with him for, the music, more. I understand needing to grow, evolve, and learn new things though but I miss him having the same creative discipline that gave us late registration and MBDTF.
What’s your take on the whole social media versus music talent debacle in today’s industry?
Social Media is a tool. When you worship the tools and not the craft you won’t last.
What can the people of Guam and out-of-island visitors expect from your set at EIF?
Expect me to bring Atlanta to Guam. Looking forward to it.