With the ever increasing sentiment that Dubstep has become repetitive and homogenous, the San Antonio born Chris Marshall,
better known to the masses as Crizzly, has created something that is completely his own. Crizzly’s unique production style, which has been coined the term “Crunkstep,” is a guaranteed formula to make people lose their minds. Insanely melodic, filled with tons of energy, as well as infused with just enough Crunk to make Lil Jon say “WHAAAAAAAT” is the perfect recipe for an amazing act. You throw in a gold chain and a couple stage dives and you have an ‘off the chain’ experience that only Crizzly can create. With original releases like “Ass and Titties” and “Big Booty Bitchez” and remixing mainstream rap songs like Maklemore’s “Thrift Shop” and Lil Flip’s “This is the Way We Ball,” Crizzly has proven to be fearless in the chances he takes as an artist, and with every successful gambit, he appears to look more and more like a genius. I recently had a chance to sit down with the Crizzly at EDC Chicago to get a little insight into his production methods, and find out what’s next from the new reigning king of Crunk.
Journalist’s note: We were both wearing gold chains at the time of this interview. By: Chris Barnes
Q: What were your thoughts on EDC this year?
A: It was awesome! I really liked the stage; Bassrush really came through – shout out to Bassrush, shout out to all of those people that put it on, they made the bass stage awesome.
Q: What do you think separates EDC from other events?
A: Quality. You get what you pay for and more. The lineup is stacked; you have Bassnectar, Borgore, Delta Heavy, Figure, and Krewella, all on one stage. And that’s just all my friends (laughs) but the other stages are stacked too! Shout out to Tiesto!
Q: Tell me about how you got started?
A: I got started in my hometown in Texas; I just got bored and was locked inside my house all day. I just started messing around on my computer and then I started making beats.
Q: You definitely have some hip-hop influence in your sets. It’s amazing seeing childhood songs coming through and being remixed; what are some of the songs you grew up idolizing?
A: That’s something I look for… I started DJ’ing first; when I started remaking music, I was looking for songs everyone knew so if people in front of me didn’t know who I was, it would still have a decent reaction. That’s always been my mentality when I open up Ableton and open up my software. I just feel like music has evolved so much that you can go back and mess with other things and bring it forward.
Q: Are you working with any of these artists whose music you’ve remixed?
A: I’m working on working with them.
Q: Any you can talk about?
A: No, not yet! I like to keep it on the DL you know, just because some things happen, some things don’t, but I’m definitely super stoked on the future. Everything is looking awesome, totally excited!
Q: How would you classify your music?
A: I’ve always played Trap or always played hip-hop or some type of element of rap and stuff, but I mean, when it comes down to it, it’s more like hyphy, more energy. I call it ‘crunk-step’ just because it’s more about “put your hands up”, screaming, yelling, and getting rowdy.
Q: What do you think about Trap?
A: I haven’t really made a whole lot of trap, but I have a lot of edits and work in progresses that are trap-influenced. I’m not trying to copy everyone, I’m trying to give it my own flavor, or do something different because I just don’t feel good running a typical trap song right now. I mean, there’s a good amount of people doing it, and doing it perfectly well and I don’t think I need to add anything to that because they’re killing it. I would definitely love to add the dubstep flavor to it and carry it over.
Q: Where did Crizzly Bear come from?
A: My first name is Chris and my middle name is Lee – Crizzly. And Crizzly sounds like grizzly bear.
Q: What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever done to get your attention when performing?
A: It’s always hard to think about the craziest because a lot of stuff just happens… The flashing of tits always gets my attention, even if you’re a guy, it’s still weird, but I’ll still notice it.
Q: Tell me a little bit about the remix with “Thrift Store” by Macklemore; how did that come about?
A: I just kept hearing it on the radio in Denver and I went on tour after that, so I just wanted to make an edit to play. It kind of started off as something to play in my mix to get the crowd hyped and I kept finishing and kept adding more to it, and I finished it and put it out. It started off as a simple edit, and that’s how most of my music starts off as. It’s stuff I want to play live and I add my own twist to it, and that’s it.
Q: When you create music, are you trying to create it for the crowd with a set in mind or are you doing it because you want to make something that sounds cool to you?
A: It goes both ways. A lot of times, it’ll start off with me; I’ll have one track where I’m like, “oh that’ll sound awesome if I mix it with this” so I start working on something that will make it fit; each track is like a Lego piece that has to go together, they go on top of each other really nicely so I try to make songs that will go on top of other songs that I already have. With the “Thrift Store” remix, I needed some more Moombahton in my set, so I made a Moombahton remix thingy and now I can play Moombahton for a little bit and it sounds better… I don’t know (laughs).
Q: Are there are any artists that you haven’t had a chance to work with yet that you would like to?
A: Oh yeah! I would like to work with every artist in the world! Britney Spears hit me up, Justin Timberlake; whenever you need someone, holla at ya boy!
Q: Who are some of your favorite artists to hang out with outside of the studio?
A: Probably AFK, he’s always the guy I like to chill with in Dallas. 12th Planet is the chillest dude on the planet. Just everyone really… Everyone in the circle is a good friend. It’s awesome how tight everyone is in the agency; we all kind of stick together. Everyone on that is awesome. It’s all one big family.
Q: Do you have any upcoming collaborations you’d like to talk about?
A: I can’t really talk about the collaborations because they’re still in the works, but I am working on some stuff right now.
Q: What do you feel about the current state of Dubstep? Where do you think it’s at and where do you see it evolving?
A: I feel like it plateaued for a little bit, but that plateaued is a great place to be. Dubstep is still killing it everywhere and a lot of Dubstep artists moved to Trap or Moombahton. For now, it’s still a great starting point for a lot of new producers. When you hear Dubstep, it really inspires you to make crazy sounds and that’s kind of what started the movement; people were interested in how the sound was made, at least it was for me, that’s what got me started, I just wanted to know how to make those sounds. I think, still, Dubstep and Trap, they’re all kind of intertwined and they all get hairy, but at the end of the day, it’s all EDM and where it’s at right now is perfect; it’s still growing, it’s still crazy at the shows, I just hope it keeps going… Who knows where it’s going? I really have no idea.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: 5 years? Probably dead if I keep it up, nah just kidding! I honestly have no idea. I could say 5 years from now, previously, I’d see myself here. This has always been my goal, so now it’s like, where else can I go? Do bigger, better stuff; that’s the only goal I have now – just keep going, but as of now, I’m doing what I’ve always dreamt of doing. And I’m content, but never content in how big I can get or how much better I can get as a producer, that’s what I’m always shooting for – getting better at producing.
Q: What’s the weirdest question anyone’s ever asked you in an interview?
A: These questions always get me; I have such a bad memory… (laughs). I have no idea…
Q: Do you have anything you want to say to your fans?
A: I love you.