Photography: Ty Faruki
The UK is full of surprises. Of them, rapper Dvnz is a gem waiting to be discovered and in the underground he is thriving.
Not only is the underground scene excited about the prospect of his artistry but the ease of which he brushes aside any uncertainty regarding his music.
The scene is littered with gimmicks, tricks and lazy flows airbrushed with autotune. Yet Dvnz rejects these filaments, opting to retain a sense of purism without sitting on a particular genre and chooses to wear a mask in the current carbon monoxide state of Hip-Hop.
S: Thanks for joining us, we really appreciate it. How long have you been making music?
Dvnz: Thanks for having me! I’ve always been putting words together in my head. Where I’m from, everyone raps so I never took it too serious, it was always just about making music and sharing it around my estate. I remember having a conversation with a friend and him telling me our lives and conversations were worth documenting, A part of that conversation is on the intro of ‘Vibes‘.
S: So, for starters what’s behind the name?
Dvnz: I come from an Art background, mainly Graffiti. there’s no real deep meaning behind it. I feel like by now I should have made up some kind of back story, but the reality is, it’s just stuck since my art days. There are people that have known me for years that don’t even know my real name, they just call me Danz. Even my mum calls me Danz at this point.
S: And the mask? I’m sure you get this question a lot.
Dvnz: I do. I want people to focus on the music. While the mask is on it forces you to listen to what I’m actually saying, you have to dissect my words in order to learn anything about me.
S: Your work boasts elements of 90s west coast, neo east coast and grime. How would you describe it?
Dvnz: Can’t lie, I rock with West Coast still. My playlist usually rotates around Bino Rideax, Joey Fatts, Larry June, Blue Bucks Clan, so understandably the West has influenced my sound. The Grime era definitely influenced me as well, I’m a Grime kid at heart so that’s where songs like ‘Fvego II‘ come in. I feel like I bounce between sounds too much to fit one genre, but I’d say one constant is melodies. I’m naturally laid back and I feel like that melodic relaxed style is quite prominent.
S: ‘Fvego II’ is a banger, is there a story behind the song and who produced it?
Dvnz: ‘Fvego II‘ is just a vibe! When I rap at that tempo I feel it brings the best out of me. There’s no real story behind the song, I was just flexing to be honest. It was produced by a guy from New York called Bvtman. The spelling is a coincidence. ‘Fvego III‘ is out soon.
S: What attracts you to a beat?
Dvnz: It has to resonate with me. I usually know if I’m gonna like a beat in a few seconds. When I really connect with a beat it jogs a memory and I usually make a song about what happened or how it made me feel.
S: How has the pandemic impacted your work?
Dvnz: To be honest, it hasn’t. I feel bad to say but lockdown gave me what I needed – time. I had time to write, create, plan, I came out of lockdown very certain and focused. I understand a lot of people were impacted by the pandemic so I don’t mean to come across insensitive, I just managed to find some clarity in the chaos.
S: Your music is polished, yet raw at the same time and you’ve hit the ground running hard. What’s important to you when threading your work together?
Dvnz: It has to be organic. I never rush the process, I live my life and create when I feel inspired. Songs like Vibes wouldn’t be possible if I wasn’t out living my life. You’ll always produce your best work when you’re being honest.
S: ‘A Bientot’ is slightly different from your other work, can you give us a bit of background?
Dvnz: I remember I was on a sweaty bus around 8pm. It was raining heavy, proper London night. I was listening to beats randomly and that instrumental came on. It hit me crazy first time, the beat is insane, It’s the same producer I mentioned earlier that made Fvego II. I had a flashback of a certain period in my life and just started writing, I had the hook in like 2 minutes. It’s basic but it hits your soul, serious.
S: One important aspect of music is identity. Are there any personal traits within your work that listeners will clock onto when playing your songs?
Dvnz: Honesty. I’m very honest in my music, I talk about my life experiences, good and bad. Listeners will clock onto people around me, Sol, Judah etc and realise all these lit stories are real. Sometimes I’m too honest lol.
S:What does Dvnz do when he’s not eating mics and spitting them out?
Dvnz: This and that. I’m trying to read more to be honest but I’m averaging 2 pages a month.
S: And now the obligatory Stanisland question – is there an album in the works?
Dvnz: No album but I’m working on two EP’s at the moment. ‘Raq Boys‘ with my brother Sol and No Doublebacks, my own EP. ‘No Doublebacks‘ will be very different, it will throw a lot of people off.
S: Any live shows coming up and what should listeners keep an eye out for?
Dvnz: We’re gonna do a private show early next year. It’s gonna be so crazy, super low key though. I’ve got a lot of singles to drop as well. There’s so much music coming!