deM atlaS | Music

(soft music) – As a kid, I was so
afraid of the stage, so afraid of talking to
people and getting up there in front of the class for
a book report or something. I hated it. I never thought that my
life would revolve around being in front of people
all the time (laughs). – [Woman] Twin Cities, make
some noise for Dem Atlas! (crowd cheering) (electronic music) – My name is Dem
Atlas, I make music, I make art, I dance, I
sing, I rap, I write poetry. I would describe my music as
an eclectic bunch of things that I like to listen
to: grunge, alternative, hip-hop, funk, soul, electronic. I used to go on this
train all the time when I was living
down in St. Paul. I’m always gone and
I’m probably used to just touring by now. We are always on the move
so when I’m back home, it’s very hard for
me to sit still. I get really antsy
and I go out.” (upbeat music) I was born in Akron, Ohio. And when I was about three, I moved to North
Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’ve been here ever since. (soft music) Touring through all
of these places, I’ve realized how
beautiful it is here. Like, I love the Twin Cities,
I love being from here. It’s a hidden gem. My earliest memories
was listening to Prince. I was like three or four years
old, and we used to go on road trips a lot. And I just remember hearing
“Little Red Corvette,” and “I Would Die for
You,” and “Purple Rain,” and “Let’s Go Crazy.” Those are some of my
earliest memories. Just digging deep at the
cats that came before me. So much rich culture
here musically, and it still
continues to this day. (train station
announcer speaking) (soft music) My writing process
is pretty simple. I hear something in my head
and I just go with that. Usually, I think I do the best
writing when it’s instigated by a strong emotion. Like, how you feel when
you’ve been rejected, or anger, or a deep sadness or even joy, you know? And that’s usually like the the spark for me
is strong emotion. Mostly stories, mostly
just emotional thoughts. And sometimes it’ll
just be a collage. Like a painting, some of
the abstract painters, like neo-expressionists,
they stare at a painting, and what does it mean? Who knows? How does it make you feel? (slow music) I love looking and studying
other artists’ work, sculptures. I’m particularly
fond of paintings. When I visit museums, I’ll
study these artists’ paintings and their works, and
I’ll hear a song. I’m moved by them. There’s a quiet restlessness
going on in my mind, that moment of reflection that
you get when you stare deeply into a painting and
you just feel it, and you’re just immersed in it. And that’s what I aim
to create myself so, seeing this, just a
reminder, you know? Yeah, that’s crazy, like
even now in this space I feel very much at home. (train station
announcer speaking) (slow upbeat music) When I don’t know where to
go, I’ll go to a dive bar usually by myself. Sometimes, I’ll be
fortunate enough to run into people that I know. Other times, I think
it’s unfortunate to run into people
that I know (laughs). (slow music) I love this place. Just the history,
you step in here, you can tell it’s been lived in. Even when I’m touring I like
to find where the dive bars are because they have
an energy to them. They’re not well put together. They’re just themselves, and
you can be yourself, as well. It’s not clean, it’s
just grimy, it’s real. Not just dive bars, I
really enjoy being in places with music or loud
music or atmosphere. People talking, chattering,
that hum of people just together, you know? I performed at this bar when
I was first starting out. I was on that stage right
over there, and I actually hopped on the bar table, and
started rapping and singing. It was great. It was a legendary
night (laughs). (upbeat music) I would describe a Dem
Atlas show as raw energy, powerful, passionate, real, authentic, just getting lost and
then getting found. Man, before a show, every
show, I feel nerves. The butterflies in the stomach. And that’s how I know
that I’m present, and it’s just my body’s way
of knowing that I’m preparing to do something, you know? I give it everything I’ve got. – [Woman] Twin Cities, make
some noise for Dem Atlas! – Minnesota, put
them up, put them up! ♪ Who put the bad mouth
on me, run from me ♪ ♪ I’ll be sitting on a corner
watch the world go by ♪ ♪ I’m halfway finished
with my life sentence ♪ ♪ Not looking for repentance,
just looking for some escapism ♪ We are at the Palace Theater. Hometown shows are different. It’s nice to play off
of that extra energy and feed off of that. ♪ I don’t know what
you could say ♪ ♪ To make me wanna get
up and start my days ♪ ♪ Put everything I had
into the wrong place ♪ ♪ Gave it all away so
I gotta walk away ♪ The last song is
called gratitude, I like to close off with
that song every night. Sometimes I feel like
throughout some songs, I perform them a certain
way and I put on this face, and this mask, but that
song especially is the song that I can take off the mask, and I can just let
it all hang out. ♪ Gratitude can’t
get you nowhere ♪ ♪ Now my love is going away ♪ ♪ Going away ♪ ♪ I got an attitude like
you ain’t seen yeah ♪ ♪ Now my love is going away ♪ ♪ Going away ♪ I like performing because
I really feel like I’m purging something, I’m
getting rid of something. I’m not thinking,
I’m just present. There’s no better feeling
than people cheering for you. Especially when you can help
other people face their stuff, and have a good time or
get lost in the experience, in the moment. That’s really great
to be a part of and that’s what I
love about performing. (crowd cheers) Feels good to be home, don’t it? After shows, I like
to go out in the crowd and I just talk to people. I don’t like to sit in
the back of a green room for the rest of the night. Definitely like to interact
with people and feel that love. Peace. (electronic music)

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