Demo: “I’m lucky to be alive”



In September, we revealed that Drumsound & Bassline Smith had a very exciting VIP in the pipeline.

Now, it’s finally here.

The trio have applied a fresh twist to Demo and Cease’s seminal classic Ladies Night. It’s been tearing up dance floors across the world ever since it entered the inboxes of the finest selectors around.

Ladies Night VIP: You’ve probably heard the unmistakable intro of the dancefloor annihilator at some point over the past few months, but if you haven’t, you need to listen to it immediately.

But there’s more to this than just a big VIP of one of the biggest underground D&B tunes of the last decade. In fact Demo is lucky to be alive.

Shortly after releasing Ladies Night, he was involved in a life-changing car accident that left him hospitalised for a month and years in recovery.

Now, nearing full recovery and using Drumsound & Bassline Smith’s VIP as a springboard, he’s set to return to D&B in a big way.

We caught up with him to talk about the early days, his near-death experience, Ladies Night business and his comeback.

Let’s start at the beginning – what was your first foray into D&B?
My first release was on a small label back in 2004, then I met Cease shortly after that at the club night I do. He came around pretty much in the heyday of Seattle D&B. Ladies Night came towards the end of that era and I guess it was the tune that got us both known.

Do you still run that club night?
Yup, it’s called DnB Tuesdays and we’re going on seventeen years next month, so it’s been a good run. We always get good acts to play; we had Commix the other week and we’ve got Artificial Intelligence coming soon for our anniversary. We’ve pretty much had everyone you can think of play at some point.

Your whole life changed about five years ago – what happened?
I was in a really bad car accident and spent a month in hospital. I had to relearn how to use the entire left side of my body and suffered a traumatic brain injury. I’m not as fast now as I used to be – both in everyday tasks and in the studio – but I’m making it back slowly. I’ve had to take it all in my stride, but it hasn’t been easy at times.

How exactly did it happen?
I was working as a bartender and think I was a bit silly during the shift before the accident. I had one too many drinks and next thing I knew I was hanging off a bridge after driving into a barrier. I don’t drink anymore as a result – I learned a very valuable lesson and quite frankly I’m lucky to be alive.

Yikes, sounds horrific. On to the present; what are you up to now?
I’m starting to make my comeback. I recently got a studio back up and running so I’m going to get as much material finished as I can. Just before the accident my studio computer crashed and I lost lots of samples and other important bits, so I’ve had to start from scratch. I guess you could say the computer crash foreshadowed the car crash…

What have you got in the pipeline?
I have a few bits coming out on Onset Audio, a friend of mine’s label here in Seattle, and I’ve also got a collaboration with Homemade Weapons coming soon. I’ve been trying to make stuff without snares recently, whilst maintaining the energy. I’ve just been messing around with different ideas, seeing what works and what doesn’t.

And do you find it harder producing since the crash? Has much changed?
Definitely, but I’ll get into my groove soon and then the ball will get rolling a bit more. Things have changed in some ways since I’ve been ‘gone’; when I first started producing, the general consensus amongst listeners seemed to be the harder the better, but now that’s definitely not the case, which I prefer as that attitude kind of took the soul out of it. Studio-wise I still use Cubase, which is what I’ve always used. I honestly don’t think I could relearn a program after the crash to; it takes me a lot longer to process new information. There’s also less vinyl around today!

Now then, on to Ladies Night; did you think it would get the response it did when you wrote it?
Not at all. It still take me by surprise a little bit today. It’s a bit of a gimmick and a bit of fun but I guess that combination sometimes creates the best tracks. I remember seeing a video of Ed Rush and Optical playing it out a while back and feeling quite overwhelmed – it’s always nice to hear people you look up the most playing your tunes.

How did the Drumsound & Bassline Smith VIP come about?
Bassline Smith got in touch with Damian Higgins (Dieselboy) and asked him whether they could remix it, as the original was on his label, so he asked if I had a problem with it and I said absolutely not. They sent over their first version and I immediately realised it was a wicked remix. It seems to be getting a big response which is good, hopefully it will kickstart my comeback and get my name back out there.

What’s your aim for this comeback?
I’d love to do an album. I’ve got some bits I really like that I’ve been holding on to, so we’ll see. The thing is, as soon as I finish a tune, I move on to the next one and suddenly dislike the previous one. My production skills are improving all the time, which makes each new tune sound a bit better than the last one.

Is there anything you need to improve to make your return a success?
I’m really bad at keeping up-to-date with my Soundcloud and social media pages; I’m not a good salesman at all. I guess I should probably do a bit more of it but I hope I don’t have to because I’m not really an outgoing person  – that’s also why I prefer producing to DJing; I find it quite odd when there’s a crowd of people looking at me. Ever since my accident I’ve had to wear glasses, whereas before I didn’t, so now I can actually see people looking at me which makes it even more daunting!

What’s the scene like in Seattle right now, and America in general?
I’d say the scene in Seattle is growing back at the moment. We’ve got our DnB Tuesdays crew and Onset, a label increasing in stature all the time. Then there’s the likes of Random Movement, DJ Mason and DJ Machete all flying the flag across the continent.

Demo Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mista-demo
Demo Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mistademo/
Demo Twitter: https://twitter.com/mistademo