Dual Diagnosis: a music remedy

The hardcore Hip-Hop band from New Jersey is building a strong presence in the underground music world today.

We met the talented duo composed of MAD Mike and Paulie Walnutz. Read their exclusive interview, only for Connan Press.

Connan Press: You both grew up during the rap and rock invasion of the 90s. Can you tell us more about how these genres influenced your sound and the formation of Dual Diagnosis?

Dual Diagnosis: The formation of Dual Diagnosis is sort of a play on words. At the root of it, my brother and I grew up listening to and creating music based on the sounds of rap and rock. We blended and mixed rock lyrics with rap beats. When we both listened to artists such as, DMX, ICP (Insane Clown Posse), E-Town Concrete, and many other artists or groups, we were influenced by their raw and blatant messages. From there, we formulated our own distinctive sound and lyricism. One with harsh tones mixed with an intensity and expression of feelings and ideas. Overall, the mix of these two genres and how the group was initially started by two brothers gave way to the formation of Dual Diagnosis. 

C.P.: Your music delves deeply into themes of loss, grief, pain, and trauma. How do personal experiences shape your lyrics and overall musical approach?

D.D.: Based on some personal and external experiences with other people, I write my lyrics pointedly with raw authenticity, but with a twist of entertainment of course. Growth and rebirth present itself in many stages of my personal struggles and personal healing. These themes are constant, but always evolving as I continue to grow and develop my voice. I share my past experiences to help others feel like they are not alone in their own unique and personal healing journey; that my words can offer a remedy of hope and a sense of togetherness to listeners. 

C.P.: Your work is dedicated to “the still sick and suffering” and those who are no longer with us. How do you hope your music impacts listeners who are struggling with mental health issues?

D.D.: Reiterating from the above question, I hope people can listen to the messages in my music and find something to relate to. Mental warfare is a prevalent and common thing that we all struggle with on a daily basis. It is met with stigmatization and taboo standards. In actuality, mental health is a widespread phenomena that doesn’t discriminate. When I create and release music, I find that I am able to be a part of something larger than myself; that music can become a shared experience and reach people far and wide.

C.P.: When creating new music, what does your collaborative process look like? How do you blend your individual styles to produce the unique sound of Dual Diagnosis?

D.D.: The process for each project can be different. There’s many variations in the creative process. Hearing is different from listening. I listen to every part of the process. From writing lyrics (hooks and verses), listening to the beats/instrumentals, listening to the melody of the song, and vibing with the flow of the narrative behind the music, I let the music speak to me.  My voice is an instrument. A concept or idea for a song or an album title can pop up in any order. It’s about listening to my intuition and letting that guide me.  

C.P.: You’ve worked with artists like Slaine, Gorilla Voltage, and UnderRated. How have these collaborations influenced your music and growth as artists?

D.D.: These collaborations make me want to be better and work even harder as an artist -from the lyrics and recording vocals. It energizes my drive to continue being inspired by and working with other artists in the industry.

C.P.: Horror-core is a niche within hip-hop. What drew you to this genre, and how do you think it allows you to express your artistic vision differently than other styles?

D.D.: The artists that I grew up listening to, were the ones that I highly looked up to because of their raw and authentic lyricism. I also looked up to how they emphasized the importance of building camaraderie and community around their music. I use my voice to blend rock and hip-hop: from raspy screams to hype tracks. Freedom of expression, self, and emotion is what allows me to express myself in a unique way; my music is realistic in how it speaks many truths and is able to entertain people. 

C.P.: Your music often touches on spiritual experiences. Can you elaborate on how spirituality plays a role in your life and music?

D.D.: Making music itself is a spiritual experience, and so is connecting with others on a deeper level. I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience on earth. Based on certain experiences in my life, I have overcome many challenges and obstacles, which has helped me develop my artistic voice/sound and has helped me become the artist that I am today. This has also helped me connect with listeners who can relate to the messages in my music. This has been very inspiring for me. 

C.P.: What can fans expect from Dual Diagnosis in the near future? Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re particularly excited about?

D.D.: In the near future, I expect to write and record new tracks for an upcoming album produced by C-Lance and myself. The album’s concept is mainly about inner demons and self-discovery. I’m excited to explore the overarching idea of how light can grow in the dark, even in the darkest depths or shadows. Collaborations with other well-known artists in the horror-core genre are also in the works for the near future.

You can follow Dual Diagnosis on Instagram.

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