Hey David, welcome back to VENTS! How have you been?
Since we last spoke, everything’s gotten bigger, better —and louder! Thanks so much for having me back.
Can you talk more about your latest single “Heavy Hearts”?
For a long time, my heart was heavy because I had a compelling starting point without a viable song; then I had a finished song without the right singer. Everything changed when I teamed up with the incredible Eric Rickey of Rabid Young. His contribution really gave me a sense of personal appreciation for the single, and it’s my favorite release to date: peppy, passionate and palatable.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I was propelled, in part, by a Wavo contest that I had entered to remix Atlas Genius’ “Molecules.” I decided to challenge myself by submitting two tracks, one a mid-tempo electro rendition and the other an electronic-rock take, with the intent of showing a spectrum of style within a specific frame. What I found most difficult — and therefore most stimulating — was producing the alt-rocktronic version, the process of which was self-revelatory. Both how I interpret and make music became simultaneously broader and clearer. Then MuteMath’s Vitals album came out at a critical juncture in my artistic development, and I found myself listening to “Light Up” over and again after hearing it on Sirius XM Alt Nation. Something clicked, and I was compelled to take what worked from my previous release, “The Future Perfect,” which was supposed to be an isolated acoustic-electronic incident, and do it better.
Any plans for a video?
More like a scheduled premiere date of Feb. 22! So I already had to shoot my part, but I don’t think that is going to make it any easier for my talented team to transform the footage into a cross between the truly ingenious hilarity of MGMT’s “Kids” video and “Stolen Dance” from Milky Chance, with its tasteful low-budget-beauty simplicity. No pressure.
How was the recording and writing process?
The whole song started as a single guitar riff — more like a short series of plucks — that somehow sounded like snowflakes, which is what the instrumental was titled for most of its gestation, a very long period that included several months with nothing more than a few notes. Finally, I forced myself to sit down with my Martin DRS1, not getting up until after I’d crafted the right chord progression for the harmonics. I recorded the strings and programmed the rest, relying on what critics often cite as one as my greatest strengths: the ability to blend any kind of music into a seamless composition. But it wouldn’t have come alive without vocals, and I still can’t quite believe that Eric Rickey of Rabid Young agreed to sing on it after we connected via Twitter. He made it magic.
What inspired you to blend electronica with alternative rock?
Long before ‘tropical house” and “future bass” were actual categories, I was playing guitar and going to rock concerts. Incorporating that elemental aspect of who I am as a musician seemed very natural. But if you look at bands like Arcade Fire doing “dance rock,” and especially going back to groundbreakers like Eric Elbogen from Say Hi or Alessandro Cortini of ModWheelMood — they’re all very much electronic in terms of production yet classified by genre as alternative rock. I wanted to do the opposite by coming from the EDM side and incorporating real instruments to create a sound that would incite even the most sourpuss alt-rock snob to shake their hips.
How has NYC and its scene influenced your music in particular?
On one day I can see Chvrches, who rouse me not only during their perfectly executed live performances but also with their retro synths that are reminiscent of the sounds and stylesl on which I was raised. Then, another night, I’m meeting Lost Frequencies, who I admire both as a producer and for the career choices he has made. Just a constant influx of influence though NYC life’s volume of experiences, from the sounds on the subway to a sold-out MSG show.
Will this song lead to an upcoming album?
Absolutely. I’m still working on Polar South because it’s completely changed direction, focus and theme since I found my sweet spot. Now the alt-rocktronica material is being established as the foundation, and I will build skyscrapers from there.
Any plans to hit the road?
I would tour the moons of Jupiter, provided that someone else made arrangements for transportation, lodging — and oxygen! But you can request me in your city on my bandsquare at https://www.bandsquare.com/#!/campaign/demoda-1/landing.
What else is happening next in the DeModa world?
Besides the “Heavy Hearts” music video, I’m putting out a tutorial, making a sample pack available for free download, and releasing a live, acoustic cut of “The Future Perfect.” Then, in March, you can expect a new alt-rocktronic song.