The interview you are about to read is with one of the true rocks of the New York Hardcore scene. A man who has been there for years, pushing his various musical projects that range from classic 90’s style NYHC to street style hip-hop. DANNY DIABLO is never sugar coated, seemingly always busy and one of the realest dudes you will ever run into at a hardcore show. Crown Of Thornz, Skarhead, and The Wilding Incident are a few band names you may recognize him from and now add to that the newly formed Defstar Inferno which you will read about in just a few moments. Writing a complete introduction here is almost futile as there are just so many levels and layers to this guy’s contributions to the underground music scene. If we can offer any advice it would be to follow his Instagram page as it is highly entertaining as well as informative to what he is doing musically and beyond. After a few failed attempts we finally caught up with the “International Hardcore Superstar”… Danny Diablo outside of Tender Trap in Brooklyn on April 21, 2018.
Photo by: Rich Zoeller, Graphics by: Bas Spierings
1: You are known in the world of graffiti as LORD EZEC. How did the name EZEC with those letters come to be? Around what year was it thought up?
Danny Diablo: Ezekiel from the Bible I guess. The best graffiti letters I would do were E, Z and C. That was in 1986.
2: What did you have for breakfast today?
Danny Diablo: My girl made me an egg sandwich with avocado and Bustello coffee.
3: Can you tell us about this new crossover project that you are doing?
Danny Diablo: It is called Defstar Inferno. It is like Hatebreed meets Machine Head with a little bit of Carnivore but it has a Biohazard feel with the street lyrics. We’re recording the demo on the 27th (April) with Jesse Cannon who did the Skarhead and he has done a bunch of big stuff. We will hopefully have an album by next year. The demo will come out online and it’s also for the record companies to check out. Defstar Inferno! Maybe Spielberg is gonna come at me! One of the guys who is doing this with me was the old drummer for Kickback (Steffan). He came up to me in 1998 when I was in Cleveland and he said he wanted to do a band with me. I did something and got locked up and I missed that chance. All these years later it comes back up and I was like let’s do this. He lives in Miami now. Matty Pasta is playing guitar along with Steffan and Walter (Ryan) who has played with D.R.I, Machine Head and Madball is on drums and Paulie who is also in Skarhead is on bass.
4: Biggest satisfaction you get from making and performing your music?
Danny Diablo: Making my music… the biggest satisfaction… whenever I do something and I finish it… it is like a release to me. The biggest thing though and the best feeling ever is when I am walking like in my neighborhood, or on the train or a foreign fucking airport and someone knows who I am. That’s my high.
5: Can you give us a rundown on the latest with your other hardcore bands; The Wilding Incident, Skarhead and Crown Of Thornz?
Danny Diablo: With The Wilding Incident Sasha (guitar) is doing a new band called 1865. There is talk about us doing another 7” and I would love to do it. Skarhead… were gonna do another EP with Puerto Rican Myke. Probably do like 4 new songs. Crown Of Thornz? I don’t know. It is up to Mike Dijan (guitar).
6: Skarhead recently went to Chile. How was the experience?
Danny Diablo: An amazing time. Skarhead is going to be touring in South America at the end of the year hopefully with Psycho Realm… Sick Jacken’s group, the rap band from L.A. Chile has one of the best scenes I have ever seen in my life. We played two shows while we were there.
7: A country that you have never visited that you would like to get to?
Danny Diablo: Australia.
8: Favorite country that you have already visited?
Danny Diablo: Japan
9: Past or present… 3 of your favorite TV shows?
Danny Diablo: All In The Family, Good Times, and a new one that I like watching is Power. Oh, and one more… Vikings!
10: Your earliest recollections about getting into hardcore? What did you initially think about it?
Danny Diablo: I got into it from kids in my neighborhood. This kid Teddy got me into like Slayer. First I was into hip-hop, then I found out about thrash, then I got into punk rock and then hardcore. But it was a metalhead kid who got me into Agnostic Front and Carnivore and the Cro-Mags. I started going to hardcore shows in 1987. I felt like it was too crazy but I felt like I belonged there!
11: What do you remember about your first live performance?
Danny Diablo: I played bass in Discipline and the first show we ever played was in the Bushwick Projects at a Rec Center. It was Discipline and Dmize. I was like… this feels like home! (laughing). That had to be in 1988.
12: If you could have lunch with someone famous (alive or dead) who would it be?
Danny Diablo: I don’t know why I am saying this but… Bruce Willis! (Hysterically laughing) I don’t know why!
13: In any genre… other artists that you look at and think… “These guys are doing things the right way”.
Danny Diablo: The little mother fuckers… Turnstile. For hip-hop… Conway.
14: If somehow you ran into 18 year old Ezec walking down the street what kind of advice would you give?
Danny Diablo: (Low laugh) Let it go.
15: Do you like performing hardcore music or hip-hop more?
Danny Diablo: I love performing hardcore in places that pay me fucking money. When we go overseas and they treat me and the band like real musicians. When they pay you thousands of dollars which they should do when you are making all these people happy and making their hearts warm. When you have maybe 5 thousand people at a festival and you get some money, that is one of the best feelings in the world and that is how it should be.
16: Celebrity or public figure that you just can’t stand to look at their face?
Danny Diablo: (Laughing) Besides myself in the mirror? Matty Pasta!
17: Different kinds of music that you enjoy besides the heavier stuff, hip-hop and hardcore?
Danny Diablo: I still listen to stuff like The Cure. My guilty pleasure? 30 Seconds To Mars. I have a funny story about that. I was banging these 2 girls, I was living in L.A…. like living the dream and they say we gotta go. I was like what do you mean you gotta go? They said Jared is calling us and I’m like Jared who? (Referring to Jared Leto from 30 Seconds To Mars) They said that I was just like him except that he has millions of dollars in his bank account. I told them fuck you, get out of here!
18: You don’t seem like you have a whole lot of free time but when you do what do you like to do?
Danny Diablo: If I get free time I try to finish my art stuff. I am constantly doing something. On my new label… E Train Records… I just put out this band Concrete Dream. Their single dropped yesterday and it’s called “Catch 22”. These kids sound like P.O.D meets trap music.
19: A thing that you miss about growing up in Queens?
Danny Diablo: (Looking up at a surveillance camera). No cameras.
20: If they ever made a movie about your life who would you want them to get to play you?
Danny Diablo: I wanted Vin Diesel to play me but Hoya said that Antonio Banderas will play him and Michael Rappaport will play me! Hoya is a wise ass! The DMS Movie! Puerto Rican Myke will be played by Luis Guzman… Haha!
PHOTO BY: ANNE SPINA @ THIS IS HARDCORE 2012
DANNY DIABLO INSTAGRAM: