[Photo by: Kasia Malesyk]

When Toronto hardcore artist DoFlame, also known as Mateo Naranjo has a vision, he “moves everything else to the side” until it manifests. 

His new song, “All Out,” which comes alongside a new visual, perfectly encapsulates the artist’s ambition.

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“If you love working on something or you’ve got an opportunity to do what you enjoy,” Naranjo explains, “do everything you can to run with it and move everything else to the side.”

Coming from the Ontario hardcore scene, which nurtured legendary groups such as No Warning and Counterparts, it’s no surprise that the emerging artist takes inspiration from early forerunners such as Suicidal Tendencies. But the artist also incorporates aspects of old-school hip-hop into his work, citing some of his biggest influences as “Los Saicos, Fugazi, Cypress Hill and Sonic Youth.”

But the up-and-coming artist was inspired by the genre in more ways than just sonic influence. “All Out” reinforces all the mantras hardcore idealizes even in its video accompaniment, from motivating your friends to “speaking on an issue” and “getting loud.” Images of a close-knit friend group pushing each other are featured throughout the visual. The music video for “Bat House,” his debut single, highlights a similarly tight-knit group of friends as they travel around the artist’s hometown of Brampton, Ontario.

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“Overall, it’s about having fun with your friends making music and doing it on your own terms,” DoFlame says.

Youth are the lifeblood of every good music scene. In “All Out,” DoFlame aims to inspire kids his age “who are just starting and figuring out what they’re doing with their lives.” The visual shows the artist trying to set up an over-the-top event, emphasizing his belief in commitment.

Can you tell us about the new song? What were you going for musically and lyrically?

When I wrote “All Out,” I was aiming it at kids my age going through new and different times. Coming from a hardcore scene and being used to getting loud, I find I have an opportunity to emphasize and highlight a message—or target and speak on an issue. With this song, I wanted that message to be [about] get[ting] motivated and to simply get up and put the effort in. Especially aiming this song at kids my age who are just starting and figuring out what they’re doing with their lives.

Can you tell us about the video? What is the story you were telling?

The idea for the music video was about a kid, me, wanting to organize this “All Out” event. In doing so, he faces discouragement and the challenges of getting himself and everyone in line along the way. The video shows me gathering my friends and putting them to the test, pushing their limits in training for this event. Ultimately preparing them for the event and getting them to go “All Out” in doing so. The last part of the video was by far the most fun to shoot and displays the event in action. A bit of a metaphor for the fight you put up to really go “All Out” and the challenge of committing yourself to it.

How true to life is the video? Were you trying to capture your own experiences with it?

The video to me is an exaggerated metaphor of chasing something that excites you and doing whatever it takes to accomplish that. In regards to my own experiences, it’s a reflection of me trying to make sure I’m doing what I can to take more challenging paths than easy routes. Being home a lot with the pandemic and just getting out of school, my music and videos have become like tunnel vision to me, and it’s really important to me that I do what I can to take full throttle and opportunity of both. “All Out” expresses that message. I may even have wrote it as a self-reminder. [Laughs.]

Your first song “Bat House” also has a pretty stripped-down visual. Can you tell us about that track and the video for it?

“Bat House” is a reflection of the energy I feel from my home crew and scene in Brampton. It’s about starting something—in our case our music scene—and running with it. Overall, it’s about having fun with your friends, making music and doing it on your terms. The video is much like the song in the sense that it’s just us filming around our town, in the houses we play shows in, with the people we play shows with. [It’s] very true to us. I think that video is really just a window into what the DoFlame and Brampton scene is—kids in messy rooms, writing songs, then playing shows and making videos with our friends for them.

You collaborated with DEAR-GOD for that track. Can you talk a bit about Brampton’s music scene?

Brampton’s music scene, at least our part of it, was constructed by children and is still pretty much run that way. [Laughs.] In high school, we started throwing shows in our parents’ basements, garages and anywhere that had a room that we could rent around town. It was a door to meeting people who I never thought would have the same interests as me, and once we started running shows and making music, we just kept going. Naturally with everyone playing in bands and going to these house shows, I met my friend Rob [Ortiz], or DEAR-GOD. I started playing in his band, and as time went on, he started helping produce mine. I find Brampton is full of talent, and I’m really happy with what we’ve done the past year alone.

When I listen to your music, I hear a lot of echoes of early hardcore, Suicidal Tendencies and things like that. Is that era an influence on your music? What are your biggest influences?

Yeah, ‘80s Washington and Southern California punk definitely caught my attention when I first got into high school. Classic punk consumed me when I first discovered it and was the first music I started playing live. I would say some of my biggest influences are Los Saicos, Fugazi, Cypress Hill and Sonic Youth.