by Sunday Valentine
“I’m never quite content, like something’s always kind of underneath and that’s where the music comes from… Bad Actress comes from being real. I’m not acting.”
Diving into deM atlaS’s album Bad Actress, will give you emotional truth in a real and honest form. From learning how to forgive, processing trauma, identifying unhealthy lifestyles, and striving to overcome, the album hits at the genuine experiences of hip hop artist deM atlaS. The Minnesota native is signed with Rhymesayers, a record label that includes artists such as Atmosphere, MF Doom, Dj Abilities, and Eyedea.
Outside at a side table in the back of the Catalyst, deM atlaS rests with a cigarette in his hand, occasionally smoking in between comtemptaing and answering. “I’m never quite content, like something’s always kind of underneath and that’s where the music comes from… Bad Actress comes from being real. I’m not acting”, deM atlaS explains as he speaks on how mental health struggles influenced his work.
As for the sound of the Bad Actress, it might come to no surprise that some of deM atlaS’s favorite bands include Nirvana, Portishead, The Cure, and Joy Division, after hearing he was previously in a rock band as a teenager. You’ll find glimmers of guitar riffs in songs like “Gratitude” and “Never Belonged”, an interesting mix of rock instrumentals and hip-hop. As time moves by we talk about isolation, performance energy, life as a “Music Man”, and childhood trauma.
It’s “kind of like a rose growing out of concrete”, deM atlaS says, expressing what it’s like working to overcome pieces of his past. Perhaps, a nod to 2Pac’s “The Rose That Grew From Concrete”. Music, he says, is like therapy. It’s his way of bringing things to light; especially, the subjects people want to keep hidden away. “Childhood trauma that really shapes you in a profound way. It’s like layers of an onion. That will always be part of your story and you have to come to terms with it. Now you can either let that trauma defeat you or you can do something about it and grow from it, make art from it, and inspire people from it”.
What deM atlaS’s music will look like in the future is unknown, but along the way, with a “foot in the past”, he will continue healing through his music, while working to bring to light to “all the things you hide in the dark.”
Here is a little piece from the audio interview:
Do you have a favorite tack from anything you’ve ever made that really speaks to you?
“Can It Fall is about letting go of hurtful grudges that just do you harm in the end— forgiving people. And forgiving but not forgetting, but letting down those walls. Can those walls fall?” I think that will always be relevant in my life, forgiveness. That’s a big lesson in my life.”
“Gratitude is basically a song about just saying, no matter how nice of a person you are, how sweet you are, gratitude can sometimes get you nowhere. And you gotta to push past it. ‘I tried to be somebody, but I already was. I tried to be like you. I tried to get you to like me. I don’t need you to like me. I don’t care. I already was. I’m already here. I’m already full with or without you’.”