Monday, September 5, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Dallas' Native Son DEMARKUS LEWIS

For this next installment of our interview series we are staying close to home with Dallas' very own Demarkus Lewis.

"D"(as he is called by close friends) is one of dance music's most consistent artists(having released 100's of original productions & remixes) over the course of the past decade.

In addition to his highly sought after production work, Demarkus' skills on the decks are in demand in exotic locales such as Moscow, Berlin, Rotterdam and London.

Recently relocating back to Dallas after a few years in London, we sat down with Demarkus to ask him a few questions covering a wide range of subjects...enjoy.

First off, In order to get everyone up to speed, I'd like to ask you about your start in the music industry. Can you give a brief synopsis on your start as a dj and your progression into music production?

Well it all began in 1990 for me when I was introduced to dance music. Back then it was mostly tecno for me with bits and pieces of Hip Hop and retro music. As natural progression would have it (after being heavily submerged in the Dallas underground scene as a Dj/promoter) I took steps to begin learning the craft of music production. My first release came out on a local Dallas label called Swerve. Shortly after I started a label with long time best friends Brett Johnson, James Oliver and Mark Garey called Aesoteric Records.

You've built up quite a musical resume over the years with well over 100+ releases on dozens upon dozens of labels and have been able to stay relatively consistent in the volatile world of dance music. What advice would you give any up & coming dj/producer who has aspirations of having a sustained career in the industry?

I often tell new producers to always do what that love and that it is very important to stay true to themselves as artists. Chasing new trends and genres is ok as long as you stay original in your efforts. Also its not about what you use to create music it's more about how you use what you have. Today the game is so different from when I first began. It's overly saturated now so to stand out these days you must be original in nature.

You recently moved back to the states after living abroad in London for a few years. How did living in such an international city impact your view(s) on the currant state of dance music here in the U.S.?

Well London is regarded as one of the music capitols of the world. I've noticed the main difference between the dance music culture there and here is very simple. Europeans don't complain about how 'things used to be' they are using all that energy to create new movements. We as Americans need to stop dwelling on the past and push forward into the future!

Even though the event got some bad press due to the unfortunate death of a attendee; you had the opportunity to play the Dallas leg of the Electric Daisy Carnival over the summer, how was your overall experience with the festival?

The electric daisy event was amazing. It was so great to see that America has embraced the idea of the festival events and has dropped the word Rave from the vocabulary. 22000 plus party goers and one incident .. Unfortunate but over all strictly amazing. Dubstep ruled the land this day but I like it all.. Good music is good!

You recently released a full length album "Mental Notes" on your label, Grin Music. What are some current and/or upcoming projects that your fans should be on the lookout for?

I've been working on a few things now. My new album is almost complete and should be out before the new year. I just released a remix package on my label Grin Music called behind closed doors with my good friends EMan from NYC. Expect several remixes as well as my sub label Grin Traxx relaunch which will be showcasing true disco filter house vibe from the 90s. First release will be by myself under my Leg Warmers alias. Plus lookout for several releases on oaklands Guesthouse Music this fall/winter.

You've had the opportunity to work with some legendary producers in your career, who would you love to collaborate with that you haven't had the chance to work with as of yet?

I'm currently waiting on remix parts from Glenn Underground. He is one of my biggest inpsirations. I've done a remix for Blaze but would love to do an original with Josh Milan. Also Reel Soul, Abicah Soul, Atjazz, marlon D, Masta keV and many more are on my list.

5 essential tracks that don't leave your bag?

As for the tracks that never leave my bag I must say now that I play serato none of my tracks ever leave my bag. It really just depends on the gig and the vibe I guess. My traxsource charts accurately represent what I Play.

Locally, where can we find you?

Locally here in Dallas you can catch me once a month at Zubar and other times at various spots around town. This Halloween we are revisiting an old tradition called Discoween which we bring in Boo Williams from Chicago to play all rare disco treats. This will be October 29th at Elm Street Bar (deep ellum).

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