Photo via The 80s Are Forever
SYNTH PRESENTS: Dema
It’s well documented that we are quite fascinated by the evolution of Hip Hop, particularly with regards to America’s interest in Glasgow’s burgeoning visionaries, and what is seemingly both a reaction to the sour monotony of the mainstream and the natural course of a genre which is always eager to jump on what’s ‘hot’. You’ll most likely be aware of the current hype surrounding TNGHT (the super-fresh collaboration between Hudson Mohawke and Lunice), Kanye West’s growing interest in what he refers to as the ‘next level’ and Rustie’s critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Glass Swords’. It’s perhaps one of the most exciting developing stories to come out this city, and LuckyMe’s Dema is probably best placed to comment on it.
Having promoted influential Hip Hop night, ‘Freakmoves’ at the Art School for seven years during the noughties, he was responsible for giving the likes of Rustie and Hud Mo some of their first gigs, and is understandably enthused by the positive attention they’ve been receiving. Now however, it’s time for Dema to make people sit up and take notice as he eyes up an eagerly anticipated EP for LuckyMe and continues to take inspiration from what has been an incredible career. Once part of highly respected DJ duo, Freakmenoovers, he has played alongside Hip Hop’s most revered talent, while featuring everywhere from Radio 1 to German radio station, ‘Back To Basics’. Infact, it was during a period in Berlin that he dedicated himself to producing music, influenced by a place which is so feverishly creative that it still continues to attract electronic music’s most exciting talent.
Truth be told, Dema’s story is extensive and his list of accolades could match any of Glasgow’s far-reaching luminaries. But as it states on LuckyMe’s website, Dema may be regarded as a veteran, but his attitude is very much focused towards the present and future. Ready to tear-down any party, experienced beyond measure and dedicated 100% to his music, Dema is most definitely ready to blow (again).
Check out some of Dema's recent uploads below as well as an interview with the man himself and that all important mix:
Synth: So we understand you used to run a highly popular Hip Hop night called ‘Freakmoves’ which featured first appearances by the likes of Rustie & Hud Mo. How do you feel seeing these guys blow up and infiltrating America in 2012?
Dema: Freakmoves was such a good fun night, I actually miss it! We had so many incredible guests over the years and the people who came to it just made that night amazing. They always loved to party up at the Art School, and the fact they were just into trying new things allowed us to really experiment with the music. We started as a Hip Hop night but it developed so much over the years that we put on so many different types of acts. Rustie and Hud Mo did such different sets, but they both got that same amazing response from the crowd. In fact Hud Mo played quite a few times unofficially and used to give me crazy new tunes from people I had never heard of who have since made their own way on the scene. To see him and Rustie blow up now is amazing, they both put in the work and remained dedicated and it’s simply now paying off, just wait to see what comes of these two in the next couple of years...
Synth: There seems to be quite a resurgence in popularity for that particular period of Hip Hop & RnB surrounding the early noughties, what do you think has encouraged people to go back?
Dema: It’s just people enjoying music, looking at its history and seeking out the classics. I think it’s good to research the history of what you are into and sharing it with everyone. I remember when I first really started buying Hip Hop, I started seeking out the stuff from the late 70s and early 80s, but I never really listen to it now, just occasionally. I think becoming a sound engineer for a while destroyed my ability to listen to inferior quality music, but now I look for raw sounding stuff to listen to on my iphone, or in the car. Then some days I find a lot of newer music sounds raw and badly produced, and it makes me want to hear it more.
Synth: Your mix for us features some new Dema tracks, all sounding very hot indeed. How did you arrive at your sound? Do you cite any particular artists as major influences, and if so, how do they translate into your music?
Dema: The main music I have always loved is Hip Hop and everything I make is from that, I have had so much influence from it on various parts of my life and musical productions that it would be difficult to pinpoint, but one of the main sub genres I have always looked to has been early West Coast gangsta rap. The drum programming of the 808's is something I feel still sounds fresh today, and if anything I take influence from this, but I don't really know if it translates into what I produce. I also mostly listen to various types of bass music from Eprom to Lazersword, Girl Unit to Addison Groove, the list at the moment of good quality music is endless, so this is probably having an influential effect on me too.
Photo by Adrian Brannan
Synth: It would be fair to describe the new sound being promoted by the likes of Lunice, Hud Mo and yourself as quite stripped-back. You could almost relate it to the early Dirty South stuff, but do you see it as an evolution in Hip Hop or a completely new sound which has been adopted and related to the genre?
Dema: I suppose the sound evolved well before the Dirty South took off, even Miami Bass has similar structures. And Glasgow for years has been a major Techno stronghold, so that probably comes through our music in someway. I feel it is an evolution rather than a totally new sound, because you never really get a totally new sound, there is always some sort of influence in there even if it’s subliminally, especially as we were all fans of music before being producers and writers etc.
Synth: You spent a period in Berlin before returning to Glasgow, did that have any influence on you musically and what was the Hip Hop scene like over there?
Dema: I think I was in Berlin when the musical wall was about to come down, honestly, it was all 90s Hip Hop and Minimalist techno, now Machinedrum, Jimmy Edgar, Lando all live there and the music is really taking off big time for our styles. Even Berghain has music I like, but when I was there is was like someone hitting hammers off the walls. I was trying to push this stuff but nobody wanted to know about it. The Hip Hop scene was definitely healthy, but very close-knit. I spoke to a few promoters and they were only really interested in co-promoting stuff in the UK, so I just did my thing and that was make more music instead of DJ. In that respect it was incredible, as a city to be creative, Berlin is so good. You have to be prepared to party though, it’s definitely a party city, the minute Friday hits, actually no Thursday hits, its music everywhere all throughout the night till Monday. I've never seen anything like it.
Synth: With regards to your mix for us, how did you go about putting it together? Was it a spontaneous selection or a laboured process as it so often can be? Would you say it’s fairly representative of you in the club?
Dema: I've always felt mixes should be a bit more than just spontaneous record selection, although I've certainly done that plenty of times. I try now to add a bit of everything to it, from doing little bits of production, creating some remixes for it etc, and getting some exclusives. I always have stuff from my friends and label mates in there, although mostly due to the wealth of good music I have access to through them. The mix definitely represents what I play in clubs right now; in fact quite often I end up re-creating my mix while DJing in clubs as I spend a lot of time and thought on it, so I feel it works well.
Synth: So what else are you looking forward to over the rest of 2012? Any plans for new releases, big gigs you’re excited about etc?
Dema: I'm really looking forward to the annual LuckyMe party at the Edinburgh Festival, Its phenomenal each year; we get so many good acts (most of whom are label mates) to have one massive party. And I intend to finish my EP for LuckyMe this year and get it on the schedule for release, there is a lot of good stuff coming out, so I'm happy to wait for those first. In addition to this I'm studying a degree in Interior Design at Glasgow School of Art and that takes up a lot of my time too…so so busy!
Synth: We were extremely pleased when Dema agreed to do this mix for us. Discovering him recently at an all-day party in April, we were literally blown away by his skills and after researching his back story, it’s easy to see why. Cutting up futuristic rhythms with thundering stateside bangers, his mix represents the next chapter in Hip Hop, bringing together exclusive cuts from the aforementioned TNGHT, hot remixes from the likes of Machinedrum, Shlohmo and Girl Unit, while still maintaining the type of swagger which would make Snoop Dogg look decidedly limp…
1. Nouveau Palace - Hardly Try - RBMA
2. Juicy J ft Snoop - Who Da Neighbors (Remix) - Trap A Holics
3. TNGHT - Buggin - Warp X LuckyMe
4. Pooca Leroy - Rap (Accapela) - Money Mob Ent
5. Eprom - Regis Chillbin 3 - Rwina Records
6. Eprom - Regis Chillbin (Machinedrum Remix) - Rwina Records
7. Obey City - Fuck Dat Wobble - (Unreleased)
8. Dema - The Gawds Back - LuckyMe
9. Waka Flocka Flame - Hard In The Paint (Accapella) - Warner Brothers
10. Mystikal ft Birdman - Original - Cash Money Records
11. Om Unit - Prawn Cocktail (Salva Remix) - Civil Music
12. David Banner - Swag - BIGFACE Ent
13. Dema - Broken - LuckyMe
14. The Weeknd - High For This - XO
15. Mestizo - Let It Spray - Seclusaisis
16. Plot Twist - Checkboxes
17. Dema - Chattah - LuckyMe
18. Meek Mill - Flexin On Em - Maybach Music
19. Cid Rim - Draw - LuckyMe
20. Rustie - City Star - Warp
21. Kuedo - Truth Flood - Planet Mu
22. Lunice - Bricks - LuckyMe
23. Prov - Arctic Company - Grime Forum
24. Chronik - Man in the Boot - No hate No Hoods
25. Girl Unit - Plaza - Night Slugs
26. Kingdom - Take Me - Fools Gold
27. Kodiak - Spreo Superbus - Numbers
28. Kodiak - Spreo Superbus (Girl Unit Remix) - Numbers
29. Eprom - Psycho - Leisure System
30. Game - I am Bitches - Geffen
31. Ango - Make it count (Instrumental) - LuckyMe
32. Drake ft The Weeknd - Crew Love (Shlohmo Remix) - Cash Money Records
Check Dema's Soundcloud for more free downloads of his music.
Dema on Soundcloud
Dema on Twitter
Dema on LuckyMe