Two years into his Paper Diamond project, Alex Botwin has carved his way into the current EDM landscape. Combining a love for all genres and genuine musicianship, this producer has a knack for making huge beats and engrossing rhythms. Riding a wave of cold-weather, weed-infused beatmakers from the mountainous Midwest, Paper Diamond stands alone as potentially the most fresh. He is currently on tour with a musical beast of a different kind, the bass-loving Excision, and his 100,000 watt sound system. While Botwin is deep into his three-month tour, he spent some time answering questions about his tour, his music, and his live show.
On his current tour with Excision:
The tour has been crazy because Excision…when you think of Excision, you think of really heavy dubstep which is pretty distant from what I actually do. I make some bass music and have some rowdy-ass shows, but I write all kinds of music from electronic to rap to real songs to all kinds of stuff. The Paper Diamond Stuff is a big amalgamation of that. It’s a big melting pot of all of those styles together, so, coming into the tour, knowing I was going to be doing ten weeks on the road, I was interested to see what reaction from kids would be like. Kids are coming to see Excision, then they are expecting to see heavy dubstep, but everyone’s been super receptive. The shows in California were fun and it’s been awesome.
On competing with fellow EDM’ers and how he handles live production:
The only person I’m in competition with is myself. If you put on a Paper Diamond song, you can pretty much tell what it is from the jump. I’ve got this rig we’re calling the Diamond Cutter rig. It’s a bunch of LED panels. My mix is controlled live every night by Ableton on one computer. I figured out a way…it’s wirelessly sending a signal from my Ableton file to a second computer, and that computer controls the LEDs and I can actually see what’s on the LEDs on my screen. So I’m basically controlling the LEDs and the mix, live, every single night.
On starting his musical career and the reception from his family:
When I started to do my first band, when I was 19 and dropped out of college, it was a live electronic band so my parents already knew me as that anyway. I got not a dollar from them from the point I stopped going to school and then on, so they don’t really anything to say but be proud, you know? They pushed me to start instruments when I was four and I played violin until I was eight, and then I started playing guitar, bass, drums and piano. They pretty much bred me to be who I am.
The rise of Colorado and other cold-weather landscapes as a breeding ground for young talent:
Wherever they are holed up, they just turn on a computer…the computer is an instrument and people are honing their craft and their craft just happens to be a computer and now all of a sudden we’re playing these crazy tours. Everyone is now like a computer dude.
On his tour-mates, Vaski and Excision:
Their two really dope producers doing their thing. Different musical taste than me, but certainly something I enjoy and the show is crazy. We’re bringing this gigantic sound system into all of these venues all over the place. I don’t think these venues have ever seen sounds like this. It’s been a little crazy, we’re on two tour buses there is like 20 people, a giant family of people setting up every day. I personally love the routine of traveling like this, but I get excited and being on stage is a gift. I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing, so I’m grateful for that.
Paper Diamond is currently still on tour with Excision and was announced as a performer at this year’s Bonnaroo Music Festival. Check him out when he comes to your town and keep up with all things PD at Paper-Diamond.com.