As the sun set on Sherwood Forest in Michigan and warm hues began to glow bright in the sky, the Tripolee tent at Electric Forest glowed brighter. Chris Lee Marshall, better known by his stage name and nickname, Crizzly, was cutting through the colorful atmosphere with an aggressive fusion of dubstep and hip-hop music. The product of both genres combined into one song was dubbed the name “crunkstep” by the young DJ/producer, whose branding consists almost entirely of his love for pizza. He has made his claim to fame by putting out dubstep remixes of popular rap and hip-hop songs like “Chain Hang Low” by Jibbs and “Fuckin’ Problems” by A$AP Rocky. In his Electric Forest set he made sure to pay proper homage to both bass music and hip-hop, which is a surefire way to make a crowd dance their asses off, each person feeling like a Certified Gz. An hour prior to Crizzly’s invasion of the designated bass stage at the festival, we occupied a small couch and discussed his shift in musical taste, his production methods and pizza. Plenty of pizza.
Would you rather never eat pizza again or have pizza for lips?
Hmm…I’d rather have pizza for lips. Because then I could taste the pizza all the time.
You might get sick of it, though, and that might be kind of a bummer.
What’s your guilty pleasure artist to listen to?
I mean, I’m honestly not guilty about it, but I love Justin Timberlake. He’s so good. FutureSex/LoveSounds is my favorite album. Of all time.
Do you ever have sex to your own music?
No, but I imagine other people do. And when I do have sex, I think about them. I’m like, “Thanks for doing that.”
Do you ever listen to dubstep, though?
In my free time, no. I mean, kind of. I’m around it all the time, but I don’t really listen to it. I’ll listen to a track and either be like, “That’s good,” or “No.” And if it doesn’t catch my attention, I’m not going to listen to it. The tracks that I do like, I end up playing every show. So that’s how I listen to dubstep nowadays.
So, what’s your relationship with hip-hop?
I listen to hip-hop religiously. When I got to bed, when I wake up in the morning, coffee, when I’m on the flight to the shows, when I’m in the shuttle. If there’s an aux cable and you give it to me, I’m going to throw on some fire.
So, then, what made you want to make dubstep remixes of hip-hop if you don’t really listen to dubstep?
I mean, I used to listen to dubstep.
You kind of drifted away from it, though?
Yeah, I like straight hip-hop now. I feel like hip-hop is doing really well. The albums that are coming out are great.
What’s your favorite album that’s been released recently?
Oh man. I jam Travis Scott’s Days Before Rodeo a lot. What else…the new A$AP album, Kendrick’s new album, a bunch of mixtapes like Future’s 56 Nights, Beast Mode from him as well. I like Meek Mill’s mixtapes a lot. I don’t know if he’s put one out in a while. I’ll just listen to album after album. That’s how I like to listen to music. I like to hear a whole set list and listen to it over and over again, kind of get a vibe from it. I like listening to things for long periods of time.
Do you prefer touring or producing?
I prefer producing, but touring is awesome in its own way. Yeah, I would much rather be at home naked, not having to worry about anything and just chilling, watching Netflix. That’s heaven to me. But coming out here every once in a while is awesome. I get bored of being home, but I’m definitely not home enough. But when I am home, it’s just chill mode.
Do you produce with Ableton? Or what software?
What’s your favorite plug-in?
Huh. I mean, Massive is awesome, but I’m starting to not like it anymore. Just because it’s frustrating how clean other synths sound compared to it now. I’m starting to notice the difference. Like Sylenth has really clear highs, but I don’t’ know how to use it as well as Massive. So, I mean, I actually like Massive a lot because I’m really good at using it and I know how to make a sound from scratch. Man, other than that, CamelPhat—I really like CamelPhat—all the Waves plug-ins, there’s a lot. There’s a bunch of new ones that I don’t use as much, but I love them. All that stuff is awesome. I’d say Spire and Serum are two really good new synth plug-ins.
What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve ever seen or experienced while you were onstage?
The weirdest thing? I’m terrible at these questions, like the weirdest or the mostest or the biggestest…
Biggestest! Or something that was super normal and you were like, ‘Wow, that happens.’
It’s hard to recall, because it’s just a blur. I’ll just think of last weekend—what was the craziest thing I saw? At the pool party, we had the pizza float, and we threw it out into the pool, and someone starting moshing with it and shoving people, kind of like a bulldozer. So, someone was using it like that and knocking everyone over, and then when security tried to grab him, he was just swinging it and pushing people away with it. So, that was funny.
What do you think of moshing at shows in general?
I think it’s cool as long as you don’t hurt the ladies.
Thank you, I appreciate that.
Yeah! I definitely try to say that on the mic a lot. Because right before I know there’s a song that’s about to start a mosh pit, I’ll be like, “Guys. We’re going to go really hard right now, but watch out for the ladies. Please.” And then ladies either—that’s their cue to get the hell out of there, and if they stand there, you know, props to them. Hit me up.
Have you seen the trailer for "We Are Your Friends"?
Yeah, that’s hilarious.
Do you agree that all you need is a laptop, some talent, and one track?
I can’t believe they said “some talent.” That’s what makes me think it’s a comedy. It can’t be real. Because they said some talent. That’s so messed up. But I mean, damn, that’s all we need.
∆ Grace Sandford