DeModa – Lucid Dreams EP & Exclusive Interview
One of rBeatz’s favorite artists right now, DeModa, recently put out his new EP, Lucid Dreams, and I’m really feeling these unique elements from the New York City based-producer and performer. His fluttering ambiance, unique synthscapes, guitar focused and choppy/glitchy vibe create an uplifting feel that fit nicely around the vocals. DeModa was recently added to Martin Garrix’s Favorites playlist on Spotify.
DeModa has a live show that he does all himself. He is a multi-instrumentalist who plays the guitar, keys, drums, and sample pads throughout his show. Think Youngr and Mura Masa. These are the artists that I’m most impressed with these days. The process of creating and playing all instruments by yourself is the true testament of a producer, and to put that on stage live is next-level. We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing DeModa below.
You know the drill, play the Lucid Dreams EP and read the interview below for the FULL DeModa experience.
Where does the name DeModa come from and why did you pick it?
Glad you’ve asked! It comes from the Spanish phrase “de moda” which means in-style, tasteful, or trendy. It felt fitting for the music I was making because, although I try to create a unique style, I also incorporate some of the tasteful elements from genres I love.
Where are you from and how has that shaped the musician you are today?
I was born and raised in NYC, and have been here my whole life. Being such a competitive city that is so focused on what’s “cool,” and what is going to be “cool” 5 minutes from now, it sort of influenced me to ride my own wave. My belief is that you won’t get very far chasing trends and doing something that has already been done a million and a half times. However, I do like to tip my hat to the popular trends from time to time. For the most part I pressure myself to bring something new to the table.
You are a one man show, so what playing elements are most challenging for you? Did you play any instruments when you were younger?
Playing guitar is probably the most natural for me, since I’ve been playing for about 13 years. The keys and percussion I tend to struggle with the more, but the most challenging aspect of my live performance is crowd-engagement and stage fright. Most performing artists probably look out into the crowd and see an ocean of happy, dancing, music-lovers, however, my brain usually tells me there is an angry mob with pitchforks and torches just waiting to tar and feather me for missing that D#.
Is there an instrument that you currently wish you COULD play?
Oh yeah, the drums for sure. Drummers get all the girls.
Tell us the story of how you got started creating music on your computer?
Funny story actually. When I had started getting into electronic music, I told a friend, “you know, I think I could make something like that,” and my lovely, supportive friend replied “Yeah. Better leave that to the people who actually have talent.” I clearly took that as a challenge and started making electronic music. Now, a bunch of songs and a-whole-lot-of-money-invested later, I’m trapped 🙁
Kidding. Making electronic music is fun.
What has been your favorite moment when creating your 2017 EP, Lucid Dreams?
That’s a tough one, because there were so many favorite moments. I’d have to say my favorites were the times when each featured singer sent me their vocal stems. Watching all the songs come together with the vocals was so fulfilling.
What do you like to do when you’re simply hanging out – aside from music?
Hanging with my old friends, probably. All of our lives have taken us to very different places, and I find myself missing them a lot of the time. Nobody can make me laugh as hard as they can.
Do you participate in any extracurricular activities?
Yes! I’ve been DJing for a charity called Emily’s Entourage, which is about raising funds for cystic fibrosis and nonsense mutations research. They’ve raised enough money recently to fund the research without any grants from the government. It’s truly an amazing experience.
Also, before the DeModa project, I used to be a competitive Muay Thai kickboxer. I have a few fights under my belt but I’ve found that writing music involves my face getting punched a little bit less, so I’ve decided to go with that instead.
Who has been one of your favorite acts to collab with?
All of them! And I don’t say that to be sensitive to anyone’s feelings. Each collaboration I’ve had, everyone has truly brought something new and unique and special to the table.
Who are your musical influences?
There are so many, but to name a few:
The Beatles. They were able to achieve a unique, psychedelic euphoria that was also so catchy and universally loved. Even now with all of the technology we have that would still be an amazing feat.
Hendrix. His guitar riffs were so mind-blowingly complex and smooth that I imagine he slept with his guitar and maybe even had sexual encounters with it.
Freddy Mercury. Self-explanatory.
Porter Robinson. The worlds album/live tour still brings tears to my eyes when I hear/watch it.
Flume. Another artist who is so psychedelic and complex, there is just no one else like him. People can try to emulate him but by the time they even marginally come close, he’s already updated and reinvented his sound.
What DAW do you use and why?
Logic X, because it was an easy transition from the broke days of GarageBand.
Maschine 2, for live performance and production, because Native Instruments makes the best everything.
What is your favorite MIDI Controller right now?
I’m biased because I just picked up the Komplete Kontrol S49 keyboard the other day and I’m still not over the mini light show you get when you turn it on. I have 5 midi controllers at the moment and 3 of them are Native Instruments brand. One could say I’m a fanboy.
What is one of your favorite or go-to VST Plugin?
Depends what I’m using it for.
Drum machines: Izotope’s Breaktweaker is probably the most underrated drum machine of all time.
Pitch automation: Waves’ Soundshifter Pitch
Compression: Native Instruments Supercharger GT
EQ: I love Logic X’s stock EQ, but I also love the Izotope Ozone EQ, because of the way you can option-click and single out small increments to find those muddy frequencies.
What is your biggest accomplishment to date?
This one time Nora En Pure made eye contact with me for about .73 seconds, so that was pretty cool ~
Other than that probably the success of Downtown Glow on Spotify.
Do you have a key production tip for our young producers out there?
Yes. If you’re not willing to sacrifice losing your friends, most of your social life, money; if you’re not willing to take the time to research, learn, practice, and perfect your craft; if you can’t take rejection, constructive criticism, destructive criticism, naysayers; if you cannot bring something new to the table, or otherwise do something much better than the person who originated it; if you’re not ready to work 2 full-time jobs and strategically invest most of that earned money into your music career; if you’re not ready to go all in, it’s probably not worth the time to learn any production tips. That’s probably the most fundamental production tip out there.
What has been your top favorite venue to play and why?
The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn with Gibbz was fun, and hopefully after this summer tour I’ll have a new one!
What is your favorite color?
What food do you eat the most?
Pizza, before it was cool.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I mostly dislike social media but lurking in the weird, dark corners of Facebook is always fun.
What is next for DeModa?
Some music videos, collaborations, and remixes are on the way, as well as a remix EP for Downtown Glow and then hopefully a debut album!