Dmize: NYHC Band Discuss Their Forthcoming Return EP (EXCLUSIVE)

Dmize represent a bygone era of late 1980s NYHC: borough kids that only released demos during their brief existence but left an indelible imprint that’s sealed in the collective consciousness of all who follow this particular subculture.

There’s a unique sonic vibe to bands from this era, something that has inspired and continues to serve as a reference point to several generations of NYHC aficionados, time has only added to their mystique, not only because of where they came from but also what some of the members went on to do. 

I remember meeting their vocalist Chiqui Rodriguez at a lunchroom table back in High School and it’s gratifying to see us still involved with something we got into as teenagers. I spoke to him, Rob "Beto" Rosario (guitarist), and Johnny (drummer) about the nuts and bolts for their upcoming Calm Before the Storm 7” on Generation Records. 

What up fellas, first of all, what’s up with these 2 songs on the EP?

(Chiqui, vocals): The 2 jams are part of the discography that was never released on a demo or bootleg release. "Calm Before the Storm" and "Beneath the Cloak" are two songs that we worked on after Richie left and Johnny took over on drums. Both are on YouTube with Richie on drums

(Johnny, drums): These two songs always stayed on my mind, all these years. I always dreamed of finally recording them. First time I ran into Chiqui after years, it's one of the things I mentioned to him, we were very slow in making it happen though.

(Beto, guitars): The EP will include 2 tracks which we wrote way back, "Calm Before the Storm" and “Beneath the Cloak." I’m guessing we wrote these tracks sometime in 1990.

How did the recording come together?

(Chiqui): Johnny approached us about Generation Records wanting to release those two jams. It's probably been two-three years in the works to get together frequently enough to put this down. 

(Beto): The idea came up awhile back from our drummer Jonathan and Mark at Generation Records, we just got around to it recently. It was just a matter of committing and getting together to jam which took a while.

(Johnny): We had a couple jams, the three of us, Beto, Chiqui, and I. Just playing some of the songs again and hanging out. We also went over those two songs again, relearning them. At the second practice, I multitrack recorded it. At my rehearsal space, I have everything mic’d up, so it's easy to just press record and capture a jam.

After that jam, I listened back and thought we nailed the basic tracks, the drums and the vibe. Then we just built over that. When I mentioned jamming with Dmize to Mark Yoshitomi at Generation Records, he said he'd love to release it as a single. Once we had it actually recorded, I brought it to him and off it went!

1992 Dmize t-shirt design by Steven Huie.

Are Hoya and Richie (original bassist & drummer) involved in these new recordings?

(Beto): Unfortunately, Hoya is not involved. Richie hasn’t been with us since our second demo but our drummer from the 3rd demo session Jonathan is handling the task. 

(Chiqui): Although we tried to get Hoya and Steve Petit on board, neither are involved in the recordings. The final Dmize lineup was Johnny on drums, Steve and Beto on guitars, with Hoya on bass, of course.

(Johnny): Hoya gave us encouragement and blessings. We spoke with him about it. But he seems happy to jam to it from afar. He's got tons of other things going. He's definitely missed though.

Steven Huie’s iconic artwork is part of the band’s history, how did he come to do the cover for this 7”?

(Beto): I contacted Steve about the old shirt designs awhile back and told him about the recording. Steve offered to continue the legacy by creating new artwork for our EP and we wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s just as much part of our legacy as any members of this band. 

(Chiqui): We asked Steve and he was more than gracious in revamping the OG design and he was more than happy to go through the process. 

Any plans for live shows?

(Johnny): With the record coming out, we've been talking about the possibility of playing a show or two, to celebrate, and jam the old songs again. Been a long while.

(Chiqui): We're working through some dates and we're hoping to start playing early 2024. Johnny's got a birthday coming up. 

(Beto): Yes, we’re currently working on getting tight with the newer members and sorting out dates for a few shows. 

Are there more unrecorded songs from you guys or planning on writing new material?

(Chiqui): We're working through our list of songs and getting those tight as we start to work in new band members. We're already discussing another release late in 24, with some new music. 

(Beto): Yes, quite a few which I know we’ll be bringing  back. We’re still deciding on which ones.  

How do you see the NYHC scene these days since the band’s demise (Yes, pun intended) in 1992?

(Beto): I still attend many shows and couldn’t be any happier with the new scene. This generation is doing a great job, shows are happening everywhere on a regular and many great new bands are creating their own legacies.  

(Chiqui): A lot has changed, as technology has brought the world closer, but I still see the same community of togetherness and that doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon.

Dmize performing at CBGB's, circa early '90s. (Photo courtesy of Chiqui Rodriguez)

A lot of water under the bridge has passed since the old days; do you feel there’s still a need for the kind of aggressive groove-oriented sound you guys excelled at?

(Chiqui): Not sure what water under the bridge would have to do with a need for aggressive groove oriented sound, but if it shakes asses and gets people dancing, then yes we're gonna bring it back with a vengeance. Isn't groove oriented anything all that we want anyway?

The eternal question: Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, or Corona?

(Chiqui): C'mon Freddy, this is easy. Come to Jackson Heights and you'll get to taste the world. Elmhurst has a hospital and Corona boasts the second best park in the city. They do have the Lemon Ice King, so they do have that going for ‘em

(Beto): Elmhurst or Corona? Always Corona for me but my mom lives in the Heights and I was born in Elmhurst so I’ve got love for them all. 

(Johnny): Well, I'm gonna have to say Sunset Park, Brooklyn, born and raised.

Graffiti by MQ

Ok, thanks so much, any last words/shoutouts?

(Beto): Thanks to Steve Huie and Mark at Generation and thanks to you Freddy for having us. 

(Johnny): Shout out to Hoya. He is a huge part of the band, and even though not on the track, his presence is there for sure, since he was there when writing and creating the tracks. Also to Taras Apuzzo. I recorded the songs, but I sent the tracks to him because I was sure he'd get the most out of them with his mix. I jammed with him in a band and have recorded stuff with him before. So I knew he'd nail the mix, which we all love.

(Chiqui): A big thank you to Steve Huie and Generation Records and a prosperous new year to everyone.


"Calm Before the Storm" b/w "Beneath the Cloak" is available for pre-order via Generation Records. Limited edition t-shirt is also up for pre-order here.


Tagged: dmize