Daz Tha Punk is still a punk, but that’s not what he plays these days.
Behind him is a life of drugs — a “huge, huge deal” in his past life — and a punk and metal music scene that sent him touring all over the world and made him a part of more bands than he could list.
But in his early 30s, he started looking for a way out. He wanted to transform himself into something new and started looking for outlets — self-help books, counsellors and sobriety.
Now, he’s two-years sober and embracing a new kind of music here in Kamloops, and he’s doing his best to start fresh.
“When I left Vancouver, I left everything. All my instruments, all my records, everything I owned. I came up here with a backpack,” he told KTW.
Daz said he doesn’t need much to live, and that’s about what he had when he came to Kamloops to start anew — that and an iPod given to him by a roommate.
“It was full of music I didn’t really like, but it was music, so I started exploring. Some of it was hip hop, so I took a stab at it,” he said.
Now, that’s all he listens to.
“For the first time in years, since I discovered punk as a teenager, I got so into a new genre of music and got excited about it again,” he said.
That excitement made him put pen to paper, at first with no intention to actually say the words, but then someone took notice — Kamloops music producer Lex Plexus.
“He saw me writing in a book and asked what I was doing and then to hear a song. After that, he asked me to come by and record it as an experiment,” Daz said.
Daz agreed and heard what he wanted to in the results, even in a rough version of the track.
(Warning: strong language in video)
That meeting prompted six months of work and a self-titled six-track EP released on Oct. 28 — the two-year anniversary of the rapper’s sobriety and split from his former Vancouver scene.
Daz called the collaboration a two-man system, and while he had the final say in what gets released, he said none of it could have happened without his producer.
“He contributed a lot of ideas and even constructed some of the beats for this record. Our chemistry is actually the best chemistry,” he said.
While he doesn’t know if Lex Plexus will have time to return for the next EP, which will be titled Surveillance, have four tracks and be released sometime in 2020, he does want to work with the Kamloops producer again.
In the interim, he said he’s writing 16 bars (about one song) per day, “just to get his brain working,” and is constantly thinking about new music.
He’s also hosting a monthly event meant to bring the Kamloops rap and hip hop community together. Each month at 808 & Bench, the skate shop at 274 Third Ave., he brings together local emcees who all take turns at the mic.
“Live DJs, beatmakers, it’s a call to every emcee in town to lay it down, whether it’s pre-written or off the top of your head, we just want to get everyone under the same roof and start building a hip-hop community,” he said.
To attend or take part in the event, Daz recommends keeping an eye out for flyers around town or going online to find the Back to the Boom Bap Facebook group or events.
Daz Tha Punk’s self-titled EP is available online at dazthapunk.bandcamp.com. Find the video for the EP’s first single, One for the Underdog, on YouTube.