The name Chief and TheDoomsDayDevice may conjure images of a full band dressed in black while singing songs about the end of time for some, or perhaps a group of musicians who despise Superman.
On the contrary, Chief is a solo DJ, MC and music producer. Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice can be found at Triple Crown in San Marcos on Doomsday Mondays.
In one recent performance, Chief introduced himself, pointed to a red box on stage, and said, “I have TheDoomsdayDevice with me.” He then hunkered down over the box and music started to pour out of the speakers. Chief, wearing his hooded jacket in a dim, blue light, began rapping in the microphone.
Chief, also known as Texas State alumnus Greg Williams, said he created a name for himself that would keep people intrigued. TheDoomsdayDevice is a piece of musical equipment Williams performs with to perpetuate a sense of mystery.
Williams moved from Austin to San Marcos in 1998 when he started classes at what was then Southwest Texas State University. He worked at KTSW for several years while in school and hosted a specialty show called Underground Sounds.
“I really enjoyed the school and still enjoy the town, which is why I still live here,” Williams said. “Living in San Marcos is a nice breath of fresh air.”
Williams said he has always enjoyed different kinds of music and meshing sounds of many genres together. He said that working at Sundance Records as a student opened up a never-ending stream of new music, though the best way to find out about songs is still through active research.
“The lion’s share of finding out about music comes from talking to people and seeing what people are listening to and what they are into,” Williams said. “You talk to people who are artists, musicians and other creative types. A lot of those folks are driven by music.”
Troy Baham, creative writing grad student, shares the stage with Williams on occasion. Baham, also known as Symmatree, said he would describe Williams’ music as eclectic or ambient.
“Even when he DJs, he pulls from every kind of genre to do mashups and mixups,” Baham said. “His sound is very broad.”
Baham said Williams is versatile in his sound and talent, as he can be booked as an instrumentalist, a DJ and an MC.
“I think his best work is the work he has invested in the most,” Baham said. “The work when he does all of the production and writes all of the verses too. He has full control of the project and it is truly his vision. I think he is the best when he is behind the board and behind the mic.”
Williams is influenced by hip-hop artists such as El-P and Public Enemy. Williams said it’s because he loves the sound and the way they explore other types of music. He said these artists take complete ownership of their music, and that he is trying to release at least one more album before the end of the year.
“I am working on a new album of solo material, all of my own beats and rhymes,” Williams said. “It is called Permanent Record. It will be a very personal record, kind of like a portfolio of the man who is Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice, a very honest one.”
Williams said he has been laboring hard as a solo artist for the last few years, but it doesn’t seem like work because it is his passion.
“It has to be something you would do even if nobody was listening,” Williams said. “I think you are really putting yourself into the music when you are making records for yourself, your family and a close circle of friends. I think you get a sense of the person when you listen to their music. It has to be a genuine expression of you.”