Dwight Harmon said he came up with his stage name while watching anime.
He goes by Nagasaki Dirt and regularly performs hip-hop music in Bloomington. He’ll perform again Friday at the Velvet Onion, a local house.
Harmon said he first heard about the Japanese town of Nagasaki, one of the sites of nuclear bombing in World War II, while watching the anime show “Samurai Champloo.”
After viewing a separate documentary about how the soil in Nagasaki still radiates nuclear energy, he said he was inspired to become Nagasaki Dirt.
“It’s black and radiant, like me,” he said.
The 20-year-old said he recently left his family and job in Indianapolis to further his music career in Bloomington.
“I dropped everything for music,” Harmon said.
At home, he often performed at Indianapolis’ Fountain Square, he said.
But his opportunist nature made him want to break into the Bloomington music scene as well, especially because there aren’t a lot of hip-hop shows in town, he said.
“We’re kind of venturing to that uncharted land,” Harmon said.
In particular, he said Bloomington’s house shows have been a great way to expose people to his music. He often performs between rock bands and gets to surprise their audiences.
“I like the diversity of it,” Harmon said. “There’s some people who come out who don’t even listen to rap, and they end up liking it.”
Though he’s currently broke, he said he survives by eating plenty of ramen and couch surfing between friends’ houses. This transient situation inspires much of what he writes, he said.
His most recent project is called “IN THE MEANTIME.” It’s a collection of songs he made with various producers about his life, he said.
“I make my music kind of based off how I feel in that moment,” he said.
He said a lot of people from his hometown ask about what he’s doing right now in the meantime. This project is the story.
“All of my producers are my best friends too,” Harmon said.
Harmon doesn’t mind spreading out the collaboration because his friends know what he likes. But he said he also enjoys having a little variety in the general sound of each track.
“I feel like I’m a flexible artist,” he said.
Still, he said he wants to keep his music’s focus on himself for the time being, rather than create what people want to hear.
He’ll save that for a future project.
“When it comes to art, I feel like it’s all about just expressing yourself through some medium,” he said.