It was Friday, April 20th, 2018…I was home in Vegas when my boy Panda woke me up and said we needed to rush to the airport or we would miss our flight to Miami. I scrambled to get ready, threw my stuff together, and hopped into an Uber. As we approached LAS my phone just started going crazy. 1 message. 20 messages. 100 messages. 300 messages. None of it was making sense to me...“Avicii is dead.” “OMG TIM.” “I’m sorry for your loss.” I could not comprehend what I was reading. First person I called was Martin (Garrix) because to both of us he was one of our idols. Me and Martin stared at each other silently in disbelief. I just spoke to Tim a few weeks before - he was one of my closest friends. We sort of came up together and went through a lot of similar experiences on the road.
I was running through the airport trying to catch my flight to play STORY Miami that night and trying to make sense of everything. I was in shock the entire plane ride sitting their motionless for hours.... And not even 12 hours after Tim’s death there I was playing STORY - drinking, partying again until 4am. Not because I wanted to but because it was my job. Like there I was performing in front of a huge crowd surrounded by all my Miami friends what was I supposed to do? One of my closest friends just died that day and my job was to go to the club and turn up with my fans? Like what??
It was then that I knew something had to change...I called my agent & manager...I said I had to slow it down. They told me I had to honor all my upcoming commitments or that it would put my business and everything I worked so hard for in a bad spot. My album just came out a week before I had a ton of upcoming shows and press planned to promote it. My tour schedule was booked out for the next 6 months. I almost had no choice but to keep going the way I was or essentially quitting my job.
It was September 7th, 2018… Something didn’t feel right when I woke up that day. Something was just like off. Then I got the call from my mother. Mac had died. I didn’t even know what to say - another one of my boys who I came up with, I toured with, I produced with... DEAD... not even 5 months later after Tim. Mac was my f*cking boy. We were working on hella tracks together and when we recorded “Learn How to Watch” he was telling me how he was sober and how he had slowed down on everything. I told him how proud I was of him. I love you Mac.
Mac’s death really put everything in perspective for me. This was f*cking it. Everyone thinks it’s all so glamorous, but the stress of touring, the partying, the sleepless nights, the craziness, the unhealthy eating - I needed to slow it all down and really focus my life and career. I had money, gold records, was headlining festivals, but I was not as happy as I should have been. It is not easy to share, but I desperately needed a reset.
This time for real I told my agent and manager -- let’s finish up what we have the next few weeks and then I’m really slowing down and working on ME - not Carnage, but Diamante Anthony Blackmon.
On November 2nd, 2018 I announced to the world I was taking a hiatus from being “Carnage” - that meant no more social media, no more touring. I needed to take time to think about what was truly important to me. Why was I unhappy? How do I make sure I don’t wind up like my boys Tim & Mac? I was nervous and embarrassed to announce this. I wasn’t sure how my fans and the media were going to accept this. Were people going to hate on me? Were my fans going to feel let down? Was Carnage ever going to be able to return?
I was shocked... The outpouring of positivity and love from fans, friends, and family was overwhelming. I just couldn’t believe the amount of good vibes people were sending my way... Straight up -- THANK YOU.
THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING. pic.twitter.com/goI7fgRNvy— CARNAGE (@djcarnage) February 26, 2019
I have taken the last 4 months to myself really working on my mental health and my energy. I spent more time with family in the last 4 months than I did in the previous 3 years combined. I went away to South America and Asia with the mindset of just exploring, no rigorous touring schedule, no stress. I thought I needed a break from production all together, but I got so inspired in Asia that I set up a studio in Thailand for weeks. I made some of the best music in my life in that studio.
I worked on music in a way I never had before. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I was making music that meant something to me. I was not trying to make hits. My new music is unlike anything I’ve ever made…it has real emotion.
During my break I thought long and hard about my last 5+ years as a professional DJ/producer and some of the stupid shit I did. Like I just came up so fast - I went from barely ever being on an airplane to taking private jets in a matter of a year. Like it just wasn’t normal. I went from not having money to buy a nice dinner to people wanting to treat me to dinner at the best restaurants in the world... This was all happening when I was 22/23 years old.. Like WTF?! It is really crazy looking back, sure I made tons of mistakes along the way, I may have come off like a dick sometimes, but I don’t regret a thing.
Moving forward I want to connect with my fans in a way I never have before. I used to be scared and embarrassed to tell my story. Now I am proud of it and I want you to know it. My mother left Nicaragua, traveled through Mexico, and crossed the Rio Grande into America as an illegal immigrant to create a better life for me. I came to this country speaking little to no English. In this crazy world we all live in now I am embracing this - I am a proud immigrant. I am the American Dream and I am f*cking proud of it. I worked my ass off to get to this point and it did not come easy. I am going to use my platform to be a better role model and help all immigrants like me achieve success. This is my f*cking mission. We are going to stand up to the shit that’s going on in this country and make a difference together. I promise you this.
I’m gonna make my grandma proud, my mother, Tim, Mac, every immigrant, every one one of my fans. You're going to see a difference in me and I can’t wait for the ride to come.
We are all so blessed to be here. I am the luckiest man on this planet. Thanks for f*cking with me. I love you all.