Florida Based Producer Demxntia Talks His Come Up Career And Branding
Florida Based Producer demxntia Talks His Come Up, Career, and Branding
We sat down with demxntia following the release of his debut EP 'somehow' to talk his come up, independent music career, and online branding.
Vietnamese-American producer and singer-songwriter Demxntia is the newest to-watch rising talent from Tampa, Florida, dropping out of high school early and successfully living off music ever since.
Demxntia's debut EP ‘somehow’ is showing he's well on the way to establishing himself on the RnB and alternative rap scene with his debut EP passing 700K streams in its first few months. With a strong philosophy of “perseverance (is key)” and following his own path despite the pressure to conform, his sound is constantly evolving, along with his growing fanbase.
When chatting with the 21 year old producer about his come up, career and branding, we got to know him deeper beyond his online anime-inspired "persona". We can’t help to say, Demxntia really is not afraid to be unapologetically himself. What you see online and experience through listening to his music, is really a reflection of who he is. Demxntia is easy-going, ambitious, and edgy, carving his own way through the music scene.
Hey Demxntia! How was it growing up in Florida?
Growing up in Florida was definitely an experience. We were broke, but my parents did their best for me. My family moved around often around the time I was born; but I distinctly remember at least 4 homes in a span of a couple years. Being a chubby Asian-American dude in Florida meant getting into a lot of trouble because other kids would try to bully me for how I looked, what I ate, and what I liked. Even the teachers treated me weird. I didn’t fit into any group in particular, and even other Asian-American kids didn’t like me because I always got into trouble and never really cared about school like that. Regardless, I was always unapologetically myself throughout the years; embracing everything about myself and I honestly wouldn’t have rather grown up elsewhere.
How exactly did you get into making music?
My family played a lot of music or did karaoke and my older brothers always played different instruments. I fell in love with music as a whole early, picking up the piano around the age of 4. By the time I was in middle school, I decided to learn how to play guitar and sing. I find that music is the easiest medium to express yourself in different ways, so it was something I always stuck with before even thinking about being a musician full-time.
Where did the name Demxntia come from?
“Demxntia” was honestly just my tumblr username I came up with when I was like 16, haha, it’s really a final fantasy 7 reference; the main character “Cloud Strife” had dementia and convinced himself he was an elite soldier. When he did, even though his memories were false, he managed to do a lot of great things and eventually turned into everything he wanted to be. Something about that was dope to me, and it just kinda stuck. Memories as a whole is something I’m super interested in learning and whatnot, and eventually I wanna do a charity for those with Dementia/Alzheimer’s.
Do you have any major influences that have inspired you personally and artistically?
My earliest memory of music was Linkin Park, Lil Wayne, Jason Mraz, Green Day, and John Mayer. I was fascinated that there were so many styles of music in the world, and because I enjoyed at least an element of every genre, that’s probably why I try to make so many genres and combine styles from across the board. I also take a lot of artistic inspiration from things I enjoyed as a kid. A lot of video games and anime, different virtual worlds that I could escape into when I was younger stuck with me a lot. Not only that, but the soundtrack of these games and anime’s are beautiful which I take a lot of inspiration from. I want my songs to be like the opening or ending of a show, something people remember or feel a certain way when it’s played. To name a few: Clannad, Steins Gate, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Serial Experiment Lain, FLCL, and Akira!
You have consistant branding, we can see that on your social media. How did you develop your branding as an artist?
I developed my brand accidentally actually but I’m glad to hear I have a strong one! Like I mentioned earlier, I’m unapologetically myself so whatever is on my mind or however I wanna present myself that day I just do it. I found that the less I thought about my “brand” the more interesting it is and a lot of my listeners find it entertaining when I’m just myself and do whatever I want. It works well for me, because I never feel like I have to act a certain way or if something is “out-of-brand” because everything I do is something I’d do normally. My brand is whatever I do, and it makes life as an entertainer much easier when you don’t have a mold to fill.
What advice would you give other independent artists, who are new to the game, on finding their brand?
The best advice I’d give is to just be yourself! It’s easiest for you, and when others come across you they can quickly decide if they like you or not. If they do, they’ll more than likely stick around for a good amount of time. If they don’t, you can then decide if you wanna change something or not. I recently learned that your brand plays as much of a part as your music or content does, so don’t forget to put in the work in every regards. Don’t try to sell yourself as someone you’re not, because when you’re tired of doing that and feel like being yourself, people won’t buy it. It’s weird to say, and I don’t know if this’ll make any sense but think of it like if Nike decided to stop selling Athletic wear and decided to start selling Soda saying that’s all they ever wanted to do. People probably wouldn’t react in the best manner.
"I’m my own promoter, manager, producer, and engineer. I genuinely enjoy doing everything myself even outside of music, and I find that every milestone I achieve is much more satisfying independently."
Your music is very experimental, best described as alternative rap. Tell us about your production process?
My production process usually starts with a melody I hear in my head. I try to get that melody out in any way possible, whether it’s an instrument, plugin or humming. From there, I structure the rest of the instrumental, and the genre of which it becomes is based on whatever my emotions tell me is best to express. I try to break every rule when it comes to music, which then leads to me experimenting and combining different genres together to form my music! Long story short, it starts with the instrumental first and then vocals.
Big congrats on your debut EP ‘somehow’. It’s already racked up more than 700K streams (and counting), which is epic! What’s your most memorable moment during the making of this album?
Thank you so much! I remember coming up with the hook for “somehow” and being ecstatic about it. The melody, the nostalgic 2000’s R&B style I nailed, and how the words just flew out of my mouth. I had this similar feeling with tracks like “see you”, “excuse”, “alone (with you)” and honestly a lot of the tracks on the album. I wanted to capture the feeling of those old-school R&B bangers and slow jams but with a refreshing twist while telling an intimate story for the project, and I’m just glad it connected with everyone else. I appreciate y’all helping me roll it out!
How would you describe the listening journey of ‘somehow’, from ‘see you’ to ‘ocean of stars’?
From start to finish I spent a lot of time on the tracklist. I wanted the whole experience to tell a story of relationships be it with yourself or others. Life is a combination of feelings, so I wanted to portray the ups and downs from my point of view. Ending it with a remastered version of “ocean of stars” was a thank you to everyone who stuck around and supported me after all these years, being it was the first song of mine that did “well” back in 2017.
There are several interesting collabs throughout the EP. How did you connect with these talented artists and decide to include them in ‘somehow’?
Aside from Substantial, who I’ve been listening to since middle school and Laeland who I recently discovered from my girlfriend, I’ve pretty much known everyone else since I started making music and they were the first ones to really support me when I started so I really wanted to help put them on. Their ambient, melodic, and melancholic styles were perfect for what I wanted to do, so it was only right to have them on the project. My girlfriend even hopped on the album with me; I actually used to ask her for advice when I started singing in highschool so my greatest thanks goes out to her.
Now, a trick question. If you had to pick just one song from the EP, to play on repeat for the rest of today, which track would you choose and why?
"Alone (with you)" STAYS on repeat. It’s the easiest track to listen to in my opinion, the warmth and nostalgia it brings is very comfortable in a lot of scenarios; especially the morning which is when I’m answering these! Shoutouts to my guy Dion for killin that track with me.
From the start of your career to now, you have chosen to release music independently. Have you faced any notable challenges?
I’ve honestly faced a lot of obstacles being independent but I wouldn’t trade that for any amount of money or fame. It’s much harder to network and get connected with opportunities. I’m my own promoter, manager, producer, and engineer. I haven’t still haven’t had a major blog post from when I first started all the way up to me charting across Asia. Even with all that being said, I don’t really like to take shortcuts or rely on other people. I genuinely enjoy doing everything myself even outside of music, and I find that every milestone I achieve is much more satisfying independently.
Last question! Besides from listening to ‘somehow’ on repeat, are there any other exciting projects we should watch out for in 2021?
Expect a lot of electronic and fantasy-like sounds! I’m gonna be making music that’s similar to the styles I tried when I first started, but this time a lot more fleshed out. A bunch of singles, EP’s and Albums to come, I ain’t slowing down any time soon!
Demxntia's debut EP “somehow” is out now on all streaming platforms.