When we ask Dallas man Demarkus Lewis to detail the bond he shares with deep house, he tell us ‘trying to describe my passion for the deep is almost like trying to describe why sugar tastes so sweet.’ Well, if there was ever a slogan to capture the spirit of house fans, then, this is it.
With over 150 releases to his name, it was the classic anthem by MK feat Alana “Always” back in 92 that first gave Demarkus his sweet tooth for house. Utilising his own unique approach of the genre in its own right over a double decade stretch he’s never lost sight of its identity and gets how the house renaissance will change and the cycle continues. Let it be known though that for him the 90's is the golden years of deep house hands down.
Demarkus has built up a well-deserved reputation amongst the brightest minds of underground beats, including Artizan Music who are soon to drop a third release from him, ‘Slow N Low EP’ and to celebrate, label heads Poussez (Jafar & Maxime Cescau) have invited him all the way from his American shores to our UK soil next Saturday for their Room Three takeover. Read on for the full interview below and we've asked Demarkus to describe his promo mix better than we ever could.
“I wanted to give your listeners a sample of what my vibe is like on a normal day. I like to throw in a few classic tunes here and there for, like I said earlier, the 90's is where it’s at! There are a few of my recent jams, including the Artizan release. I'm really digging the energy coming back into deep house. Europeans sometimes sleep on American artists because they themselves have plenty of great music to sift through.
"Our scene is constantly growing. New producers are born and the fake ones die off. The artists I've chosen for this set in my eyes either have had long lasting careers or will acquire legendary status in years to come! Stay House!”
Hey Demarkus. You’ve come all the way from Dallas. What do you enjoy most about coming to London?
Well I lived in London for a few years back between 2007 - 2011. London has always had a certain energy that’s no where else on earth. People there really know their music and the game is always levelled up. I've seen many trends begin in London not only with music but fashion and everything artistic.
Does Dallas enjoy a passionate club scene?
Dallas is known for being a serious House Town. There have been many producers/DJs that have come from here. Many of which are doing big things in the scene like Brett Johnson, JT Donaldson, Lance Desardi and even Maceo Plex. Back in the early 2000s we were all growing up together in the scene. Here recently a few of us have returned home to Dallas and are now doing events and club nights. I've just started a new Wednesday night residency here in Dallas (my first weekly since my return home) at a place called Swallow Lounge. It’s a nice 200 max capacity place nothing too big. I prefer having smaller weeklies here. A place where you can bring quality music to the people in a not so intimidating environment for a weekday. Dallas has a lot of crews who like putting together a successful effort towards our scene. I'm talking across the board from House to D&B to Dubstep.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your long lasting passion for deep house?
Wow, well that’s quite the question. I am very simple person really. I have hair on my balls and I make music. But seriously I guess I can start by saying Deep House Music will never die! I stand behind this statement for it is fact. Deep House has been a part of my life since I first heard MK feat Alana - Always in 1992. This music really did save my life. I have several friends from back when I was in high school that didn't make it out alive. It’s amazing all the places I have been able to travel and new people and friends I have met along the way simply through Deep House. I could have said music here, but not all music does what deep house does. It's almost like a direct line to something 'Deeper' within ourselves. I've never tried to describe my passion for the deep before. It's almost like trying to describe why sugar tastes so sweet.
What have been some of the biggest changes for you playing out in clubs since you started in 1990? If you could your favourite time for deep house when would it be?
Times are always changing. We are in an industry that demands this. The 90's of course are the golden years of deep house hands down! Anyone who denies this wasn't listening to the stuff I was that’s for sure. And I say 'are' because that style of house is still very much alive. It’s in every deep house track you've ever heard. The swung hi hats and what us OG's like to call 'Scats' (if u know u know). With this said I would also like to point out the obvious. The music industry goes in cycles. It more or less has a 4-5 year cycle between new genres and trends. Now if you take that and add the 20 year bump which is basically saying that trends that were popular 20 years ago are popular now. So right now we are leaving an 80's throwback era and next up you guessed it the 90's.
How does it feel to have reached the 150 release landmark?
It's absolutely amazing when I happen to remember this. I've done so much music it seems I forget about more than half. All my tunes hold a special place in my heart but there are a couple that really express what I was feeling at the time of creation. For example Making it Happen in Kaotic Timez on Swerve Records which was my very first solo EP release in 2000. This was when I made the choice either do music full time and to devote everything I had to learning and growing. DJing locally and working on my craft at least 12 hours a day for a year straight. I've pretty much got that covered now as I work even more hours. There are more stories a bit more personal in nature but 'Rest Assured' they all have some special meaning.
For those who may not be acquainted with your sound, can you describe it for us?
House. I could leave it there really. I do everything from Deep, Soulful, Afro, Jackin, Minimal, Tech you name it! Best way to describe it would be electronic music with soul. No matter what style of house, I write from the depths of my heart. I use Minor keys a lot which bring drama and set the mood but it's based around serious beats, moody keys and funky baselines. Seems a bit generic so I'd rather just invite those not acquainted with me to check me out here.
What’s your relationship with Artizan Music?
Well I've known Jafar for some years now ever since I played with him at Neighbourhood (London) back in 2003 -2004. And when I moved to London Jafar introduced me to his partners in crime Maxime Cescau and Andy Touchfingers as they were starting the Artizan label. I released an EP called Misbelievin' Ep on Artizan and after that our friendship has grown to what it is today. We've done some amazing things together over the years, they are a couple of great guys. I really like their vision on what proper deep house really is.
How are you looking forward to playing next to Poussez: Jafar & Maxime Cescau in Room Three next Saturday?
I've played with these guys several times before so it's going to be more of a reunion of sorts. We all tend to bring a little something extra to the table when we are in session, whether it be in the studio or in the club so I'm really looking forward to it.
Tell us about your new 'Slow n Low E.P' on Artizan Music. What’s the concept for it? What other plans do you have to release this year?
Well 'Slow N Low' is exactly that. It's more of a slower upper mid tempo project. I wanted to merge the old school deep with a bit of the new on this one. 'Forever' is a tune I made half from my Chicago jackin flavor with looped bits and filters but with a flare of new school beats. 'Infinite Shuffle' is more on the lines of SUB bass deepness with lush pads and glitched vocals. I have many things in the works on my own label Grin Trax as well as many others. I'm working on a vocal project now that’s going to include both female/male vocalists. It's the new album I'm starting thats going to explore more of a musical influence and just tracks.