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Moodboard: Dems

Having treated us to two free download releases earlier this year (thanks btw!), Dems are back with a new single titled ‘Canvas World’.  The London-based electronic trio have a knack for combining soulful composition with a slick visual aesthetic, and the video for ‘Canvas World’ provides a worthy addition. Encompassing a plethora of styles, it’s hard to pigeon hole the recent additions to Killing Moon roster, so we thought it would be a good idea to get the guys to send us over a moodboard.

Before we delve into Dems influences, here’s the trio’s first official single of 2013, featuring crystalline vocals courtesy of Claudie:

Charles Dickens

“The first ever song under the Dems monicker was adapted from a legal battle in Bleak House. The case was called ‘Jarndyce vs Jarndyce’, and it was essentially a never-ending court dispute, in which both parties are totally ruined, ultimately fatally, by the cripplingly bureaucratic judicial experience that goes on for generations. Such a great and weird story, which makes for a quirky song narrative.”


“Nestled in East Sussex, this amazing little village has been our getaway place to escape from the world and write our material without any disturbance from the wider world. We’ve used an incredible converted granary, far away from towns and cities, but conveniently next door to one of Sussex’s best pubs, thanks to some very generous friends of ours. For musical food for thought, check out the ice-creamery in the centre of the village, or for an even more British experience, dive into scones, cakes and…err…tea at Badgers Tea House nearby.”

Kung Fu Hustle

“We all watched this deep into the night at Dave’s studio during one of our sordid band slumber parties. It’s a kind of badly dubbed, awesomely shot, martial arts fantasy film. It’s probably quite marmite, in that some people will automatically dislike any film with endless roundhouse kicks, but there’s nothing Steven Seagal or Jean Claude Van Damme about this – it’s totally unique and imaginative. Having said that, Timecop is also a great film.”

Samuel Coleridge

“Dan studied Coleridge at University and all his poems were so image-laden and tripped out, that the stories depicted in them stayed with us. The direct influence behind our song and video of the same name was his poem ‘Christabel’, written in the 18th Century. His poem ‘Kubla Khan’ is also amazing so it would be cool to produce an homage to that one day. We imagine he would have been a rad guy to hang out with.”

Chris Cunningham

“From our first proper release, we’ve always envisioned directing and producing videos as being at the centre of our song-making process, which is fairly different to the way a lot of bands and artists conceive their material. Dave is the man behind our camera and in terms of his influences, director and visual artist Chris Cunningham is a massive inspiration – the man behind videos for Autechre, Bjork, Portishead and Aphex Twin and cutting edge installations like Flex is still going strong and pushing boundaries today.”

Richard Feinman

“Our car journeys from gig to gig include some slightly odd rituals to pass the time. We invariably pick up an edition of New Scientist on the motorway as soon as possible and, before you know it, Dave and Duncan start debating and trying to explain loads of scientific premises. It’s less awful than it sounds. Richard Feinman is one of those people who explains the big questions of science in a way that’s easy for someone with no understanding at all (ie. Dan) to get to grips with and his passion for the subject is legendary so all three of us love him. Some kind soul has kindly curated loads of his YouTube videos you can check out. Some kind of science concept album is definitely in the offing.”


“We can’t remember the last band practice we had that didn’t include communal gorging on the quintessential brain-food that is hummous. It’s no coincidence our studio is right next door to an express supermarket… Other Dems-friendly foods include croissants, fish and chips and vanilla lattes. But never all at once. Can you imagine.”

Greek Mythology

“Pantheons of superhero Gods and impossible quests to slay krakens are all well and good, but so many of the Greek Myths address incredibly relatable human qualities and challenges that can still resonate now. Our song and video ‘Desire’ was inspired by the story of Phaeton and Helios and we had a very ambitious plan from the start of combining the awe-inspiring fantasy magnitude of God-landscapes with realistic contemporary human emotion and impulses. We had a fantastic team of actors and stylists who helped bring it to life and it’s one of the things of which we’re proudest.”

Jon Hopkins

“Immunity has collectively been our favourite album this year; it’s great to see it recognized with a Mercury Award nomination. Hopkins is a modern day, less bummed-out Burial, his found sounds are next level and his delicate, slow-building eight minute soundscapes have made many a tube journey bearable. So excited to see what he does next.”

Trevor Paglen

Trevor Paglen – The Last Pictures from Creative Time on Vimeo.

“Also on the science tip, is the incredible visual artist Trevor Paglen. It was always an ambition for us to integrate live visuals with our shows, and for some time we’ve been collaborating with 3D digital process artist Matthew Plummer Fernandez. Paglen’s installations deal in big, heady subjects like Space and the Universe, which are right up our street, and anyone interested in this eclectic and still nascent field of work should look up other audio-visual innovators like Quayola and Michel Gondry.”

- James Embiricos

Dems debut album will arrive in 2014 via Killing Moon

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