Filed under: Interview
Not too many DJs out there can boast kicking off their career with a residency in Indonesia and not long after playing alongside Danny Tenaglia in NY thanks to a personal invitation. But there is one who can and it is the self-described “illegal looking big haired guy” better known to all of us as Demi.
This London based DJ has been pushing his sound to the masses through his Deeper Substance parties and label of the same name, as well as plenty of weekend jaunts to strange foreign lands. Demi, who says he has always been a wanderer, has been taking in the sights and sounds of Russia, Japan and even Brazil where he just this past New Year’s Eve spent the night with Latin partygoers as they counted down.
When not flying solo Demi can be found consorting with his two mates and studio partners Omid 16B and Desyn Masiello under their group alias of SOS. The trio are soon to release a mix CD on Ministry of Sound after their successful Essential Mix and Demi is once again headed to Tokyo so were very keen to find out what exactly is going on in his bouffant head.
Interview & Introduction by Nick Lawrence (HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : If you check your upcoming calendar there is a wide variety of countries you’re about to head to, Japan, Russia, Brazil etc and your first residency was actually in Indonesia. Can you think of any reason why your sound seems to be so widely accepted by people everywhere?
Demi : That’s a good question – I’ve never really considered the fact that what I play tends to reach out to a wide range of people from across the globe – and I’m not sure i guess how I have come to really have this opportunity to be in demand globally instead of playing at my local gaff on a regular Friday night in North London. I think at least from a personality point of view, I’ve always been a wanderer and before the DJ’ing became full time I had already done quite a bit of travelling and exploring. I’ve always never limited myself in terms of the music i buy and at the same time not be afraid to really push and combine all these elements together as well and I think now wherever I go, people now almost expect the unexpected in terms of how I program the night. I also believe who you are as a person and how you are able to really show people your true self is also a reason I have been able to make so many great friends and reach out to a more global audience. I am enjoying every second of this as much as the people are who get to listen to when I play and I think that clearly shows on each set, whether it is in front of 5, 50, 500 or 5000 people. I guess the one thing you can expect is seeing a head with a huge ball of curly hair bouncing feverishly up and down in the booth – you can tell if I do that I am having a pretty good time up there.
HRFQ : Do you have any plans to head back to Space in Ibiza considering it was where you had your first experiences with dance music back in 1997?
Demi : I will be playing my first ever gig at Space on Aug 6th for We Love Sundays – the line up is pretty huge with JZ playing as well on his birthday and also a certain Mr Tenaglia and I will be reunited since the last time we played together in London almost two years ago – amazing how things can pan out over the course of time and will be a very special moment that I will treasure.
HRFQ : You’ve recently started up Deeper Substance Records but Deeper Substance is actually something that has existed for five years. Can you fill us in what the Deeper Substance parties and record label are all about?
Demi : The parties or should i say the first party began as an engagement party – yes i was engaged to be married – we found a wicked little spot in Farringdon literally pissing distance from Fabric, invited all our friends and whoever else we could drag off the street and smashed it for the 5 hours we had the place open. It was then we thought well this was so much fun why don’t we do this all again next month. And so it went from there on a monthly basis for almost four years. That first night will live with me so vividly – i just remember the half dozen of us who were lugging all the gear, driving the big white van with all the decks, cdj’s and speakers in the back rattling everywhere – i just remember this collective drive of enthusiasm, energy and social irresponsibility that naturally followed once we had everything in place. It just came naturally though to stop the monthly events after so many years – my international gig commitments was making it increasingly harder to keep up with the work needed to put into running a successful monthly night in the city. Everything about Deeper Substance has always had the sense of going with the flow and letting my instincts dictate this concept. DSR was never in my eyes just about putting on a party but runs a lot deeper than that – the label was a natural shift and is also part of the jigsaw From the very beginning, DS has been an outlet for my enthusiasm and drive for this force we love called music. It has enabled me to think beyond what is just there and this is to do with life as a whole. Music is just part of the jigsaw. The parties and the music through those events we have hosted have enabled a bond and unity among so many people and if I’m able to achieve a certain level with that then it is a start. The label is an extension of that and a place for upcoming producers so that they are able to musically explore the realms of their musical abilities. in short we all have a deeper substance within ourselves – we are all fantastic individuals – sometimes it takes certain elements to achieve that and fully realise our potentials and true self – I’d like to think that this is one of them.
HRFQ : There have been two Demi releases on Deeper Substance so far. How long have you been trying your hand at producing and what prompted you to take it up?
Demi : I’ve always been first and foremost a DJ – when I perform, I perform with my instincts, with my heart and soul – the same applies to many of the outstanding producers in our industry who spend endless days and nights caged in their studios striving to create the magic. The same with DJ’s who spend the hours slaving and ploughing through record after record to then ultimately create that perfect picture when you are in that club playing to the people. I have tried to translate that same school of thought into the studio of late – again this was something that was inevitable as well and inevitable because of wanting to know more and understanding the intricities of sound as a whole – the two releases so far I almost regard as dj tools and have been what I call almost innocent experiments in ‘getting it’. I wasn’t looking at achieving a hit with both Gearbox and D-Drive but more an understanding of what I was embarking into it – and it is nothing short of a minefield of wonderful twists and turns. I’ve been quite fortune I guess from my profile as a DJ that the label has had a relatively decent start.
HRFQ : SOS have been running parties for a while now and you guys actually contributed an Essential Mix earlier in the year. How, when and why did you, Omid16B and Desyn decide to start SOS?
Demi : Well I ended up forcing it on them. I left them with no choice – i said you it’s about time you two mondroids and this illegal looking big haired guy finally unite the forces of social irresponsibility, debauchery and create the first ever dj’ing/speedo-wearing band – it sort of made perfect sense after that The first party was thrown during Easter Sunday of 2004 – the new beginning of not thinking of the self.
HRFQ : SOS is about to release a DJ mix CD on Ministry of Sound but can we expect to see any SOS original productions released in the future?
Demi : YES – can’t add to much more at this point but we will be exploring our toys collectively a little more.
End of the interview
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