Texan dark pop-rockers, Demi The Daredevil stand out with their twisted theatrics, intricate arrangements, and deeply psychological lyrics, fans have described them as “flamboyant, psychotic, but still hopeful and exciting.” Jeff from Demi The Daredevil sat down to talk about how the band came to be, musical influences and what makes a song.
Where did the band name come from?
We loved the word Demi which stems from Demi-God so we figured if you want to be a Demi-God then you have to be a daredevil. We fused the two together which left us with DEMI THE DAREDEVIL.
How did you all get together?
I think Jovan(RIP) and Marc met a school full of deliquent hooligan kids. I met them while they were putting ham on a guys car who was trying to steal Jovans girlfriend. I joined in. We bonded and started playing together.
What inspired you to become musicians?
Jeff: I grew up in a musical household and my mum got me drum lessons from a one eyed drummer who taught me a more feeling based way of playing music. Now to think of it, he made music cool enough for me to take seriously. I had rejected piano lessons for years before him.
Was that what you always wanted to do?
Jeff: I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me that. Usually everyone says “yes, I’ve always known, since I was a little kid.” I never knew I wanted to be a musician exactly, but I did really like the camera being on me and entertaining whoever was watching. I woke up every morning to talk into the “boys and girls” who were the audience of my video recorder. But as far as music, I was a late bloomer in that I didn’t have the full force, unstoppable resolve to do it for a living until I was 22. I dreamt about it in high school. I halfway decided when I was 18.
What song would you recommend to someone who hasn’t heard your music before?
Captain Hunchback I think. Because it’s what some would say is “out of the box,” so I want people to know we aren’t just sticking to standard song structures. It was the hardest one to make work on the Secret Schizoid EP.
What artists influence you as a band? Who do you admire?
I more so have individual songs that influence me over bands. My mum got me into listening to music that way. And so did Jovan. But to mention some bigger ones of early and late off the top of my head, Green day, The Used, My Chemical Romance, The Strokes, Muse, David Bowie, Queen, Phil Collins, Roy Orbison, twenty one pilots, the 1975, Awolnation, Jon Bellion.
Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with?
No. I mean, of course all the bands above I would love/would have been more than willing to collaborate with. But I’m a nervous person and can only seem to make songs when I start with the germ alone. I suppose I could still do that when collaborating. Come to the table with something. I just don’t feel the need to do that musically, and more so would want to do that to be friends with one of those bands help further my career. Does that sound like an opportunist would sound? Oh well.
My Mum insists that in every interview I ask; what apps do you have on your phone and which one is your favourite?
I always use “mum” instead of mom! And just saw that you are from England. I guess I like to pretend that I am too. Mum sounds less close to mommy. Maybe mommy I like to stay away from. Okay, apps, my favorite app is the dictionary. Second is youtube. Third is Shazam.
Can we expect to see you playing shows in the UK anytime soon?
Let’s hope so. We’ve been getting good response from UK peeps on instagram. After there are enough people who are aware of us and want to see us there, the next issue is finding money to do that. Let’s hope somehow we make money through publishing to make a tour happen. It will happen.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I drink a lot of water, I do lip trills, maybe listen to some 4.32 Hz sounds. That’s about it. Maybe SSS.
What would you like to achieve through your music?
I’d like to genuinely help people psychologically, to where they either feel less alone, or help them articulate something to give them more confidence. Musically, I want them to be able to love the chord progressions and grooves so much that they can swim in the song. Be absorbed in it completely. That’s hard to achieve. I hope someday we do.
To you, what is the most important part of a song?
Like in terms of verse chorus bridge, ect.. or melody, chord progression, lyrics, groove, sounds, ect..? Could be either of the former depending on how good the part it, for the latter, it’s the chord progression. I could just listen to solid chord progressions and be okay. I like rich harmonies, they seem to evoke a lot of feeling in me. The melody second. I can listen to a lot of classical music and film scores and be just fine and content. Sometimes I’d rather just read the lyrics of a song because the song music wise ruins it for me.
What do you think is the easiest and hardest part of a song to write?
These are good questions. Someone said in a book that you need to write a good and memorable verse, and a just as good and memorable chorus, and a just a good and memorable bridge. I’d say the most important part is still the chorus, but the verse might be the hardest part for me. It seem like to me (my brother would slap me for saying this), that the verse requires a more logical melody and the chorus can be more free and emotion based. A hit songwriter would disagree. But that’s the way I do it. The verse is more logical to me and the chorus is more emotional. And I’m more feeling oriented, so the logic part is harder.
If you’re buying music, how would you do so: CD, vinyl or digital?
Digital. Vinyl is “so hot” right now. But that costs more money. I’m broke. If I really want something, it’ll usually just be a song or two, and I’ll get it digitally.
What is the most challenging song to play live?
Again Captain Hunchback. Not because it’s atypical in structure but because the chorus has so much vocal sustain in it, that its hard for me to make it sound good.
What’s your earliest musical memory?
Hearing my pops play the piano at night time in the den. With the lamp on.
What’s your fondest musical memory?
Playing in the garage with Jovan and Marc. Those were the carefree days where we could practice for 3 hours straight daily, not think about anything else, and feel like a million bucks afterwards.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Know your damn fanbase. And the only way to do that is know yourself. If you define yourself well, then you will connect with kindred spirits. They are the reason you’ll make a living doing this. All awards and publishing I believe usually come after they make noise about you.
Have you ever met an idol and freaked out about it?
Yeah 311. I was young. But more recently, Omar from the Mars Volta. I was shaking and he said relax. I gave him a business card. I quoted him in one of his interviews, then interjected with “you are kind of an alpha male aren’t you?” he laughed about that. That was the end of that.
What would be your dream tour?
I’ve given up on big dreams. I’ve gotten let down so many times. The dream tour now is play in 50 states to 50 fans each place who know the songs and want to come out and see us.
Where would you be, ideally, in 5 years?
Touring the world, sometimes to 2,000 people, sometimes to 100. The UK, Germany, Japan, … all over the world where through marketing we’ve developed a fan base. That’s it I guess, touring like that. The next thing to help us get there is publishing. Landing movies for music to be in to fund touring like this. Thanks for the good questions.
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Facebook: Demi The Daredevil