MUSIC | A Diamond in the Rough

The drink is harsh and so is the criticism on Excision’s opening band Paper

Diamond in preparation for their February 22 House of Blues show in Dallas. But

that’s before the set, and Roger Wilson, self-proclaimed music aficionado and

performer, is exchanging sip for statement.

“Paper Diamond is like a DJ, you see,” Wilson said. “He remixes some stuff

and then stands back on stage and presses a button and you all sit around and listen.

It’s not like it’s hard.”

But the set starts and all our faces melt off in a blast of awesome.

For those familiar with electronic music, Paper Diamond, a seasoned

producer of music known for his pounding electric beats, serves as a refreshing

departure from the seemingly only popular choice: Skrillex. Paper Diamond is like

the mainstream electronic music’s biological son, with a hip flavor of Capri-Sun you

can’t find unless looking for it. The sound and style is a blend of Skrillex’s metal-

ripping dubstep, Deadmau5’s Tesla coil heartbeat, and synthesized, urban vocals.

It’s also really cool.

“I take it back,” Wilson said, arms crossed and eyes staring straight ahead. “I

don’t even have electronic music in my iTunes library. But I might soon. That was


And epic only begins to cover it. Each track generally starts the same, with an

interesting electric hook that sounds like it came straight from a video game

simultaneously in the retro 80s and ten years from now. It’s hard to describe

perfectly because it’s a universal sound. It’s the sound you would hear if your life

were a show and this was the cool, re-mixed theme song. Each track has an obvious

melody with repeated phrases, layers and layered until the next segment.

Then the beat drops and vocals come in. Insert face melting.

In fact, one of the only criticisms to be found of Paper Diamond’s set is that

the phrases seemed to be too short. By the time the musical phrase got embedded in

the mind through repetition, the drums came in, the synth joined the party, and

vocals sang their often unintelligible but always rewarding snippets, the track

leaped on to a new idea. Like painting a picture and then moving on to the next


Sometimes you can show your work off.

But when Paper Diamond takes the time to showcase a particular thematic

element in their tracks, it’s more than a simple reiteration of the melody with a few

synth “whoops” and half-dampened siren effects. Sometimes he’ll let you have it.

The music is stylized and edgy, equally accessible to college-aged guys

looking to relax over a game and those vegan kids that make sure you know they’re

vegan. Paper Diamond’s Hip-Hop beat and vocals will attract those urban-cool

individuals, the dynamic treble focus will hook those traditional electronic dance

music raver types, and the head-banging cacophony will attract those edgy,

“hardcore” kids.

If you missed their show, it’s bad news for those itching for a live viewing.

March and April will see Paper Diamond heading along the east coast, the south, and

Canada. For a listen, Paper Diamond can be found online at www.paper- and a 30-minute remix of the most known tracks, Night Vision Tour

Mix 2012, can be found below! 

Words | Darren Bonaparte