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Interview with DEM
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Music was always around the house ever since I was young. My dad had his classical music collection that was constantly played and that was my first exposure to music. Metallica was probably the first ‘’heavy’ band that caught my attention in the early 90s and that was followed by me curiously exploring other genres. If music was not there in my life, I would have probably not found that outlet for creativity.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I always write down vignettes of lyrical passages. That helps the structural process into a full song. I pick up a lot of ideas from what goes on in the world daily. There is a lot to talk about.
How long has your band been around?
The band has been around since 2004 and we’ve been through several lineup changes, with the last being in 2018. The band has released 3 albums and 1 demo EP since then. Currently, we have Ryan and Herman Raza Ali on Guitars, Jussi Ahokas on Bass, Neil Halliday on Drums. I myself, Vivek, am on vocals. One unique thing about us is the nationality of the band. Being from Singapore, who would have thought we’d have a Finn and a Scotsman in the band
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
We are a Singaporean band and coming from a moderately conservative country, heavy music is not the choice cut here. It is unfortunately still laced with negative connotations. That influenced us more to express our views and harness creativity by playing exactly what means the most to us.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
We needed a name for the band as we had been offered a gig. It was a toss-up between Alkemist and some random names. The Drummer of the first release, Gene came up with this and it just fit
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Jogjakarta's Brebeg festival and the Australian tours come to mind. We met many great people and had some of our best live shows. The Tyranny of Eight was pretty interesting too.
There are a few others locally such as the inaugural Metal United Worldwide and opening for Defiled FROM Japan
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Locally in Singapore, There was an iconic venue here known as the ‘’Substation’’. It was a cozy and intimate venue that held 100 people. Rich in heritage, it was a synonymous venue for theater practitioners and bands. Overseas, We have played some great venues such as the Cavern Bar in Adelaide
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Death.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Always make time to grow as a band. Give each of your band members the support and opportunity to always improve with every song written. Don’t stifle your creativity and bring as much as you can to the table. Make enough time to understand how to market and promote your band using the tools there are today. The only advice I would have given to my younger self would be to embrace versatility in being a vocalist.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Practice properly, with a metronome. Haha. But seriously, telling ourselves it's going to go well and believe in yourself, and ignore the haters.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Eyes Wide Shut. It is a chilling song about the horrors of Child Sexual Abuse which is often negated and swept under the rug due to taboos.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Right now, it’s everything off the new album as it is fresh off the oven. Some of the older ones that get requested are Warmonger, The Mask, Jigsaw and Inside.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We bring all ideas and riffs into the studio as one. The songs are pieced together stage by stage and I find my lyrics to fit in accordance to the mood of the songs. We do have an inspiration cloud of how we want some of the songs to sound like based on personal favorites.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Mainly messages focusing on human emotions and issues that the world faces. We usually tend to deviate from politics.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Thankfully enough, we do not encounter situations where there are disagreements. We put out our opinions in a constructive way and that usually benefits the entire process.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We will have an announcement in February on a tour in support of our latest release III once the dates are confirmed. We’ll be doing a mini tour and playing 2 shows in 2 countries we’ve never played in within Asia. The band will be also reconvening into the studio to write our fourth album after the holidays.