The Houston-based newcomer known as Calcium continues his meteoric rise to fame with the aptly titled Skull Vault EP. A four-tracker built on the foundations of all that is dark and heavy in the dubstep and riddim world, the resulting EP is sure to elevate Calcium even further in the eyes of those who like to stomp it out in the pit.
Most impressively, the young producer’s sound continues to evolve and while the signature skull and bones elements of his early output remains, the power of his vision shines through in a jaw-dropping way as melodic elements and epic intros compete with the untethered fury at the core.
From the goosebump-inducing pain of “Crusher” to the wonky flex of “Comply” and “Break This Down,” it’s obvious that Calcium is hyperaware of the opportunity to pull out all the stops and take advantage of the platform that Black Label is offering up with the EP. This sentiment is best realized on the collaborative killer known as “Turn It Up” where Calcium goes head-to-head with Flix and proves he’s just as much of a beast in collab mode as he is on the solo tip.
It’s obvious that Calcium is here to stay and with the future looking heavier with each and every release we thought it was the right time to sit the youngblood down and figure out what makes his own skull tick. Check the in-depth Q&A below and be sure to lock in your own copy of his recently released Skull Vault EP here.
Give us a sense of what it was like coming up in Houston, a place many would consider outside the usual zone of the EDM pipeline.
I was actually born and raised in a small suburb 20 minutes outside of Cleveland, Ohio called Bay Village. I lived there all the way up until I turned 18 and that’s when I decided to take the risk and move by myself to Texas. I really wasn’t involved in the local scene too much. I played shows here and there but I never really classified myself as a “Houston local.” What I can tell you is that all I really did (and still do to this day) is sit in my room and make music.
What came first for you, DJing or production?
DJing came first for me. I got my first controller back in 2012, but that was only for a short year before I got my first DAW and started working on making music. I took a long break from DJing once I discovered the DAW because I knew that I wouldn’t have to worry about DJing for a while since I was only 14! When I first got into dubstep back in 2011, my all-time favorite artists were Bar 9, Excision, Doctor P, Flux Pavilion, and Skrillex but once I started actually making music in 2013-14ish and I dug deeper into dubstep, my influences began to shift towards artists like 50 Carrot, Invictous, Haunta, 12 Gauge, Bong Dubstep, Getter, Requake, and many more I can’t name off the top of my head. It’s hard to believe my first legitimate label release was literally LAST YEAR IN MAY!
Thinking back to those early days of making music, what sort of advice do you have for some 14-year-old out there living in a town that may not have a scene as developed as Los Angeles or New York, wanting to follow in your footsteps?
My honest advice to anyone out there that’s trying to pursue music is: Never. Stop. The. Grind. Baby. If you want your dreams to come true you have to commit to it and you cannot quit. Don’t start thinking big right off the bat—work at perfecting your craft and then think big. If you have good music, people will listen. Someone will find your stuff. IT WILL HAPPEN.
Flash-forward to the present and the past year has been massive! Even though it’s been a blur, have you had a chance to take it all in?
Oh, 100%. I’ve been so grateful for everything that’s unfolded in the past year. It feels rewarding and I feel really accomplished but I don’t think I’m quite ready for what’s about to happen later on this year as lots of big things are in the works.
With things changing so fast, what keeps you grounded as well as motivated to keep grinding?
Honestly, all the love and support I’ve received over the last couple years from not just fans, but other artists, online friends, and “real life” friends. You guys have no idea what that means to me. It’s what makes me want to wake up in the morning.
Speaking of grinding, this Skull Vault EP is off the chain! Talk a bit about the inspiration behind the EP, linking up with Black Label, and what fans should be expecting when all four cuts hit their earholes.
When I first got hit with the offer to do a Black Label EP, my first instinct was “it needs to be as crazy, as hype, and slap as hard as it possibly can get.” At the same time, I really wanted to staple my signature sound into it. I used all the sounds that I think describe my brand and my name. But I also wanted to stay diverse, so I decided to really focus on my intros and do something unique with them.
Festival season is almost upon us. Do you have an early pick for an artist you think is going to blow up and be running it all summer long?
One artist that I think is really gonna absolutely smash it this year is my main man Peekaboo. He’s literally gonna destroy this festival season and I already know it. Another artist I think you’ll hear a lot at these fests is the young Moore Kismet. He has so many fantastic tunes out right now that will be fan favorites by the end of this season, guaranteed.
Last but not least, hit us with any final shout-outs and let us know what other projects you have cooking that we should be looking out for!
Shoutout Hekler, He$h, my manager Antonio Chavez, Algo, Peekaboo, and K-Nine for being the big homies! And stay locked for my brand new collab with Hekler coming out very soon!