In 2011, Andrew Clinco, drummer of the band Marriages, started recording his own music. When he wrote a couple of tracks and then listened to them, he didn’t feel like he was listening to himself. Clinco insisted that the inspiration for those songs came from an otherworldly source, claiming that it was as if another person had created them. That was the moment he decided to give his sound a new face: his alter ego Deb DeMure and solo project Drab Majesty were born.
Drab Majesty is more than just a musical project; it’s a methodical experiment in creative identity. The character Deb DeMure is an enigma that confuses all expectations of gender and personality. When DeMure’s imposing 6’ 4” figure takes the stage, Deb’s playful look, tempered by ominous body language and vibrating from the dreamy melodies transmits a lot of contrasts. The result is a perfect balance of outwardly conflicting messages, of highs and lows, of the drab and the divine.
DeMure’s grandmother was a big influence in his world. Once a week, he would take the bus from his home in Hollywood to his grandmother’s apartment in Beverly Hills. During these visits, Deb noticed the disconnection between the glow of his grandmother’s neighborhood and the isolated figures occupying the seats of the public transportation that took him there. They were survivors, in need of a voice. Drab Majesty became Deb's musical expression for all these people.
His first EP, Unarian Dances, was Drab Majesty’s manifesto to humanity. Emma Ruth Rundle helped Deb with the music video for the song “Pole Position.” That was the first Drab Majesty tune he wrote (included on the reissue from Lollipop Records).Focusing on the aesthetics of cult ritual and the power of music, Deb wanted an alternative way to share his music through meticulously composed lo-fi recordings using "mid-fi" synthesizers and other lesser-quality instruments.
Over the course of the next two years, Deb suffered a terrible robbery of his studio, struggles with substance addiction and the death of his beloved grandmother. Careless, released by Dais Records in 2012, is a compendium of songs about the struggle of living. At its core, the album is a collection of moody beats, isolated thoughts, and stimulating guitar arpeggios that, together, create something greater than the sum of its parts. “I die for no one, you try to simplify the ocean,” DeMure sings, “I cry for no one, you try to simplify the look in my eyes.”
With the addition of Mona D. (Alex Nicolau) to Drab Majesty's enigmatic portfolio, the following album, The Demonstration,constantly created new meaning and depth in the band’s approach. Starting off with the first instrumental song, Drab Majesty sets up ethereal scenery in which the rest of the album takes place. Deb DeMure’s powerful voice, the lyrics, and the beat of the hypnotic synth pop sound like contemporary magic spells. Mona D’s keyboard accompaniment completes an album that is more than a storytelling saga.
Drab Majesty’s singular hypnotic sound has continuously evolved.The new albumModern Mirrorcontinues the darkwave journey that started with Carelessin 2015 and evolved in 2017 with The Demonstration: dark, mysterious lyrics, powerful contrasts and enveloping synths, suspending the listener somewhere between psychedelia, history, and reality.
“Why should I just walk away / For you to come around another day?” DeMure asks listeners. “Waiting for the time we will collide / When I meet you on the other side?” Each song tells a piece of the story, in which everyone’s own self-identity has become distorted and dissociated through hastily expanding technology, losing touch with the origins of their own personalities.
With this new work, Drab Majesty continues their journey of self-reflection, nostalgia and love, giving the music world emotional synth pop anthems that examine a different and much needed new view of our modern world.
WORDS: MARIKA ZORZI
PHOTOGRAPHY: A.F. CORTÉS
Drab Majesty and HIDE at Music Hall of Williamsburg in NYC, August 2019 .