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411 Music Interview: Demrick

January 25, 2015 | Posted by Bill Rock

Demrick is an artist who has been around done songs with some of the top names in hip hop from Kurupt to Snoop Dogg, to Too $hort as well as being part of the group Serial Killers with B-Real and Xzibit. Despite this longevity in the music industry his is currently prepping the release of his debut album, Losing Focus on February 24, 2015 through Battle Axe Records. While on tour with Madchild we had the chance to sit down with Demrick and discuss his career, his new album, the pressure of working with such big names in hip hop, as well as he drops some information on the upcoming Serial Killers album.

Is this your first time touring through Canada?

 

Demrick: I’ve been through here once with Xzibit as a hypeman for him, so now I think it’s important to come out here with Madchild and really get in front of his fans since he is from Canada, and really get to have some fun. The crowds are real receptive and I understand his fan base, the whole Warrior movement, so it’s been a real eye opening event, and I’m having fun.

 

You are currently prepping the release of your debut album, Losing Focus which is set to be released on February 24. Tell us a bit about the tone and atmosphere of the album.

 

Demrick: I just wanted to make more of a lifestyle record instead of anything else. I wasn’t trying to do anything mainstream or nothing like that. I wanted to speak on this time period where I was fed up with a couple things and I had an idea of what I wanted to do.  I wanted to give people a glimpse of my lifestyle and into the lifestyle of me and all my friends and all the people that I know. It’s basically just coming up and going up. It’s about growing up, elevating, chilling and vibing.  And smoking. I wanted to make a piece of art that you could put on while you are hot boxing your car and riding around with your friends.

 

Who is featured on your new album in terms of production and guests?

 

Demrick: Cali Cleve. That’s why it’s ‘Demrick and Cali Cleve’. They produced the whole thing. That’s my home boy Ian and Brandon, they are two producers, one is from Cleveland and one is from California, that’s why they are called Cali Cleve. Ian actually works a lot with Kid Cudi and we just sat down, he actually was my engineer. He engineered a lot of sessions for me over other peoples beats, and as he started to get his sound and his idea, we worked together for so long; we understood what we needed to do, sound wise, to stick out. It is not about following the path of everybody else, as far as production; they did all of the producing.

 

As far as features, I have Dizzy Wright on there. I have Logic on there. I have Kid Upstairs. I have B-Real and Xzibit, obviously as a bonus Serial Killers track and if you buy the physical copy you will get a track with Madchild and my home boy Futuristic. So it’s all basically me and my friends making music together.

 

Tell us about the differences in terms of getting a single group to produce your album compared to having tracks produced by different producers.

 

Demrick:You can put together an album with a bunch of producers, but your vision has to be clear. If you just grab a track from this person and this person and put them on a CD it doesn’t mean that they go, just because you are rapping over them. Ian and Brandon are both great producers musically; I felt that we wrote a lot of songs together. Over time it was just a natural progression and I do really think that it gives it a certain vibe. I have done whole projects with Scoop Deville, I like to basically work with a single producer. I always just worked on a bunch of songs, and then put them together, whether it was an EP or another project. None of them were mixtapes where I was rapping over other peoples beats. I’ve always been making original music. I think that when I sat down with Losing Focus, I approached it different. I had a clearer understanding of who I was talking to, because I was able to go out and tour and see them right in front of me. I wanted to speak to them and speak about this lifestyle.

 

Even though this is your debut album, you have been in the music industry for many years. You have made tracks with some big names in hip hop from Snoop to Xzibit to B-Real. Why did it take so long to release your debut album?

 

Demrick: Well I dropped my first mixtape in 2008, it’s been 7 years…. damn, it does sound like a long time when you say it, but if you think about the way that I did it, I just dropped a mixtape and I had never made a solo song before that, I had always been in a group. For my first solo thing, I wasn’t really concerned with making records; I was just trying to chop heads off.  Just come in and just destroy everything.  From there I just started to understand my craft, what I wanted to do as an artist. It’s just a growing process. Figuring out exactly what I wanted to do and obviously I toured a whole bunch. I did a lot of song writing for other people and then just settled back into my zone. Once we dropped Serial Killers, the energy with X and B and everything that was happening, it felt like it was good for me to make something and put a stamp on it and really represent. I kind of like … it’s a social media time, where you have YouTube and everything it’s kind of like you see my career grow up on camera. But a lot of the things that you would see from artists would be behind the scenes that nobody would know about before, now it’s all on display. You can go watch everything so you can see a transition of someone who is coming into his own. That’s what I feel like my music is. I’m finally here, arriving and I know exactly what I want to talk to people about.

 

How did you decide to release this album on Battle Axe Records, Madchild label?

 

Demrick: I got a phone call to open up for him at the Whiskey Go Go in Hollywood. I performed and he came in halfway through the set. He and his team asked me to play my album after I was done my set. I sat down and played him the record and they understood my vision and where I am going as an artist. They just wanted to help and they had a clear plan of how to get from one point to the next. I got a lot of respect for Madchild, I mean lyrically he has got bars for sure. He’s got a legacy in his own right. He’s a Canadian legend; he’s got his own place in hip hop that will last forever. I felt it was right to be working with him, because I could still learn things along the way. Just get out on this grind and earn fans from day one.  He has that same mentality. Building up a movement of people. I really appreciate that because; those people are real loyal, if they like your music, you know they are going to ride with you. That’s one thing, I have been in the industry and played the industry game from the songwriter to my artistry. But when you take it to the fans that’s the most important thing.

 

What would have happened if Madchild had not seen you performing that night? Did you have other plans to release the album?

 

Demrick: I was getting ready to put it out independently already. I was going to drop it November 18. I already spend the money and had everything set up for it to put it out on my own, because that’s what I wanted to do. I just wanted to go independent all the way, grass roots, so when Battle Axe came and Madchild wanted to sit down and talk about the record and all that stuff it just made sense, because their motto is pure independence. From the ground up, its grass roots and it’s for the fans. That was preaching the same thoughts and mindset that I had, the way I wanted to do this record, it still would have came out. I wouldn’t have been up here in Canada and going around the world and it wouldn’t be a physical cd in stores. It would have been digital with some hard copies on the website, so it would have just been different. I am really happy with the way that it did come out; it just proves that if you build something that people will come.

 

You mentioned that Madchild approached you because of your live show. How important do you feel putting on a great stage show is?

 

Demrick: The stage shit is real important because that’s how you really get the fans. Yes, you can get them liking you on the internet, but if your goal is that 1 million people listen to your song or 5 million or 10 million, you want them to come to your shows. That’s where it’s really at, cds, everything, that’s how you sell the music. If you put a song on SoundCloud for free and it blows up, you’ll drop it as a single and maybe get some change off of it, but the real fans are going to be those that come to the shows. Coming up and touring extensively with Cypress Hill and B-Real and Xzibit as a hype man, I learned a lot from doing that. I was always performing my songs that I made with them on stage, so that’s where I learned everything. From Serial Killers being able to have my name on the banner, and my face and everything and seeing fans singing the words. From that amount of practice and that kind of energy is how you get a real live show. Really working it. Seeing what other people are doing.

 

We mentioned all the top hip hop artists you have worked with in the past. Did you feel any pressure because so many successful and high profile artists have supported you?

 

Demrick: I don’t know. Maybe sometimes I feel, when I do records with them, I want them to feel like I am representing correctly. I’m coming in killing something and really putting it down for what we stand for. But not really. Not when I am making my stuff and thinking about how I am going to put it out. There’s no pressure, I mean this is music, it is supposed to be fun and I have been doing it for awhile and I love making music. We get creative, we sit down and we choose and pick through. It’s like I don’t really put too much on it, I am just having fun with it. I’m also making sure I am sticking to the craft and making sure that I’m doing something that I am proud of.

 

In terms of working with all these hip hop veterans, what is the main thing that you have learned in terms of the music industry?

 

Demrick: Patience. Timing. If you just take a look at how it all went, even Xibit.  He used to go out and hype man for the Alcoholics. Travel around and get on one song, get on the King T’s record, do something to get a deal to drop an album that didn’t really pop off all the way but went gold in Germany. Going on tour to just lay the foundation. It is all about timing. It’s all about patience and it’s all about hard work. You have to know what you want to do and have a clear vision of myself and my artistry. It’s about timing and making sure you are having fun with it because it all came from a circle of you and your homeboys with somebody putting on a beat or beat boxing, you know, knocking on the table. That’s where it started. Don’t ever lose sight of that and I know that.

 

Lastly, do you have any info on a new Serial Killers album, with Xzibit and B-Real?

 

Demrick: We got a new one we are almost done with. A brand new Volume 2. I’m not sure if that is going to be iTunes, physical or where that is going to be. All I know is that the music is just about finished. We did a session right before I came out here. Me, X and B got in the studio and  B-Real laid a verse down for a record that we had been working on and its crazy. The music is real aggressive, hard hip hop shit. I love that shit and I am excited for people to hear it.

 

For more information on Demrick or to purchase his album which is being released on February 24, 2015, visit www.Iamdemrick.com or www.battleaxewarriors.com. You can follow Demrick on twitter with the handle @iamdemrick
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411 Interviews, Demrick, Bill Rock