Diamanté Anthony Blackmon is making thumping, 120 bpm waves in the global music scene under his new House music alias Gordo. Born in Washington and raised by his mother and aunt in Guatemala, Diamanté moved back to the US aged 10, armed with little English and even less money. Yet against all odds, Diamanté grew into Carnage, one of the most prominent music superstars in the world. After pioneering trap and house music and dominating charts, Diamanté is breathing a renewed energy into his music while reflecting and redefining house sound.
He has reached the epitome of self-discovery in his new handle Gordo, and in doing so has not once forgotten his roots. A motivated humanitarian, Diamanté has been consistent in funding the construction of schools and education centres in Nicaragua and Guatemala, one of which opened its doors in February this year. Gordo represents a way of life.
The artist has achieved #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, #1 Hispanic DJ by DJ Mag, six productions on Drake’s latest album Honestly Nevermind, performed at renowned festivals to the tune of Burning Man and more recently, Amsterdam’s ADE, while also releasing his debut BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix. And it’s only the beginning.
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Among smashing charts and reinventing the meaning of House music, I’d like to thank you for finding the time to speak to us. How are you doing? Where are you answering us from?
Appreciate it! Thanks for having me. I’m currently at home in Hawaii. My next few gigs are in Mexico so I figured I would get some rest while I can. These past couple of months have been crazy, so I’m happy I can touch base at home for a couple of weeks.
You stand as an example to others in the music industry through using your platform to raise awareness. Specifically your charitable work with education systems in Central American countries like Guatemala and Nicaragua. Can you elaborate on your decision to support schools in particular?
I have been passionate about the importance of education for a while. There is a holistic need for an educational upgrade in Central America and there is not enough effort to make it happen. I am a product of that environment and I want to give back to the communities that raised me, that since then I have heard so many gnarly stories about.
In cities within countries like Guatemala or Nicaragua, schools are unfortunately not easily accessible. And where they are, the local villages do not have the means to hire the adequate staff to teach or acquire the books, desks, and other essentials necessary to make it a satisfactory learning environment.
When I was growing up, my aunt helped many children in her village by driving them to school and picking them up afterwards. It is a lifestyle that I experienced first-hand and it impacted me deeply. I still find it horrible that there is not easy access to education in many places, when for so many others it is taken for granted.
And why did you choose those countries? Where would you say your roots lie? What has been a source in the development of your identity?
I was born in Washington but my blood is Nicaraguan as my family is from there. I spent part of my childhood growing up in Guatemala, that’s why it holds such a special place in my heart. I would say being from Latin America is one of my biggest sources of identity and pride, although living in the US during my teenage years also had a big impact on who I am nowadays.
How did you find the experience of moving to the US at such a young age? Did you feel you were accepted? What was the biggest barrier you found yourself faced with?
Well, there were definitely many barriers, starting with the language barrier and the struggles with being included and accepted, even more so when you are a teenager. At the end of the day, I was a Black kid from Latin America whose first language was not English… not the sexiest of sales pitch when trying to make friends in a new high school.
You’ve performed around the globe and are now headed to Málaga and Gran Canaria in Spain on December 6th and 8th. How are you feeling heading up to that?
Spain is always a lot of fun. It is easily one of my favourite countries to visit and perform in. So many fans show so much love, it’s infectious to see and live out. Málaga and Gran Canaria are going to be epic, especially Gran Canaria since we are bringing Taraka, my own party brand, to the islands for the first time. I’m sure both are going to be absolutely amazing as always and I’m very excited!
Taraka, your event series, seems to be really accelerating into the world of celebration. San Francisco, Miami, Tulum, Mykonos, and recently Amsterdam at the ADE. Can you shine some light on the relationship between Gordo and Taraka?
Taraka started as a vision to put something unexpected and never-before-experienced out there. We generate events that focus on the music and the venue rather than production. Sound and light are the primary focus. These days, everyone wants a crazy stage with massive LEDs and tons of SFX, but that’s not us. I am doing this for the people who care about the music and the culture. Taraka is becoming a globally recognised brand and will be a massive part of Gordo’s future. But from my point of view, we are still only in our early stages.
The Netherlands is famous for fostering a strong electronic music scene, so the Dutch crowd is a tough one to please. Any tricks up your sleeve when facing a DJ set?
No tricks, only top sets and a bunch of B2Bs at my show at The Loft. It is non-stop. During ADE I went four hours at Cercle’s takeover at W Amsterdam and then eight hours at The Loft. Epic times.
The majority of our readers, myself included, can only begin to imagine the ecstasy of performing on stage before devoted fans. Can you put this experience into words? What’s your favourite part about performing?
I like to describe it as oxygen. I need it to maintain sanity and happiness, honestly. My favourite thing is that I have so much fun doing it. I am grateful for this life I have and seeing how the crowds enjoy it around the world only heightens the experience.
Let’s take a look at inspiration. Have you always been interested in the creation and consumption of music? In particular, Dance music? Or was there a specific moment when your musical spark ignited?
I’ve always been an outsider when it comes to dance music. I have spent endless hours going to parties in Ibiza, Tulum, Mykonos, and all of the iconic clubs around the world in order to surround myself with the culture and the legends of the scene so I can learn from them. I never had a mentor to teach me the ins and outs or to educate me on the history of house music, so I had to do it all myself. During the pandemic, when I ended Carnage and went all in on Gordo, I made the decision I needed to follow my heart and passion which all pointed to the direction of where we’re going now. Forwards.
Provided that you speak both English and Spanish, do you have a language preference when releasing music? For example, your recent 2023 release of the single ‘Parcera’ with Maluma is entirely in Spanish. Does your fan-base predominantly consist of Spanish-speakers? Would you say you have a preference in which language you use, or is the universality of music language enough?
Spanish is most natural for me but of course I am fluent in English too. It’s honestly a blessing for me to speak both because it allows me to truly connect with fans in both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking countries.
With all your current achievements, when was the last time you caught a break? Put your feet up? What do you like to do when you manage to find some time to yourself? What does Gordo’s ‘me-time’ look like?
Well, right now is the first time I’ve been back home in a while, away from all the chaos. Home is where I rest, take a breath, and try to spend some time with my family. You’d laugh but I love working in my garden or chilling in my hot tub, so for the next few days you’ll see me there!
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