Ever wondered who produced hits such as Kwesi Arthur’s recent single, “Why (Nana Ama)”, “Superman” by Twitch, Kwesi Arthur and Kidi, or Herman Suede’s “Be Mine”? The brilliant producer in question is Yung D3mz and this interview presents us with an up-close and personal view of the young producer making in his mark in music.
Photo Credit: G.Sarkodee
Ayeyi: Hey Yung D3mz. Hope you’re doing good?
Yung D3mz: I’m doing great. Quarantine got me bored but we dey, lmao
Ayeyi: (laughs) Chale we dey. So in music circles, you are known as Yung D3mz. Why did you choose that name?
Yung D3mz: Well, in high school, demz was my nickname. My friends used to call me that even before I started making music proper. I kinda just got used to it. I added the Yung ’cause a friend in the studio called me that, so it stuck. I added the 3 ’cause I was born on 3rd May, and it looks like an e. So Yung D3mz, lool.
Ayeyi: Interesting. When would you say you began music production and what gave you the motivation to stay with it?
Yung D3mz: I started in Grade 11, or SS1, right? But way before that I had tried when I was 12, but the software was confusing as fuck. I’d say I picked it up seriously in early 2017. I was motivated for a number of reasons. One because I loved music, and being an avid listener, production always intrigued me. I play instruments too, and I’ve been writing songs since I was 11. So it felt like I’d naturally gravitate towards it eventually. The second reason is that music kept me happy. In elementary school, I used to get bullied, so music helped me focus on my energy into a passion. I stuck with it ’cause it made me happy as fuck.
Photo Credit: G.Sarkodee
Ayeyi: Ouu so you have been doing this for quite a while. It is evident that you are a music lover. How would you describe your sound?
Yung D3mz: I don’t even know. I can’t really pin it, haha. I’m really versatile but I’d say I have a very smooth sound, but it’s also kinda raw and built up. Melodious instruments, raw drums. Yeah…that’s it. I love old school vibes mixed with new. In a lot of my production, you’ll hear me using sounds from the 80s, 90s era. I even put effects on sounds to make them sound vintage as fuck. But it’s still the new school.
Ayeyi: I like that. A blend of the old and the new. Now, producers usually have identifiable tags on their songs. For example, I know Juls produced a song when I hear, “Juls baby” or Kayso was the producer when I hear, “This be Kayso from Tema.” What is your producer tag?
Yung D3mz: My tag is “ay yo D3mz f*ck it up.” I picked it up from a joke freestyle I did on one of my beats but I censored the f bomb because it’s not radio friendly, lmaooo. I have another tag “listen as Yung D3mz sounds am” but that’s for special songs only.
Ayeyi: I’d certainly be looking out for those tags now whenever I listen to songs produced by you. Moving on to relationships in the industry, you have a pretty strong relationship with Ground Up Chale and have produced songs for Kwesi Arthur, Twitch and others. Can you please describe your relationship with Ground Up Chale?
Yung D3mz: Ground Up Chale is family. Officially it’s an online media platform aimed at helping upcoming acts, so it’s not a label. When I started producing, they took me in, groomed and developed me as a producer. I formed a strong bond with guys like Kwesi Arthur, Twitch, Kofi Mole, Quamina Mp, Almighty Trei, etc. We spend time together in and out of the studio so it became like a brotherhood to me. And yeah, also Day. That’s my homie right there. We’re all from Ground Up’s platform. Also ’cause they are in Tema, and I love my city, so I support what they’re doing.
Ayeyi: It must be a great feeling knowing you have a family in the industry
Yung D3mz: Yeah it is fantastic. They’re lit guys (laughs)
Photo Credit: G.Sarkodee
Ayeyi: When you enter a studio, what is your creative process?
Yung D3mz: With me, I like to ease into it. I don’t put pressure on myself. I don’t see it as a task, it’s more like a reflex. I usually approach it with an empty head and with that I just start by building my drums and come up with stuff along the way. Sometimes, I get songs I’m inspired by and create similar vibes. The ideas can be random too. I take a lot of voice notes during the day and turn them into beats later. I’m very inspired by colour, and I’m synesthetic. So I associate notes or key ranges to different colours. Eg: C is yellow is or orange. G is blue, F is green. It helps me put my mood into musical form. If I’m not in the mood, I’m not in the mood (laughs). Just go with the flow and have fun is my motto.
Ayeyi: Wait what…You are able to see colour and associate it with musical notes? That is incredible!
Yung D3mz: Haha, yeah. I kinda grew up thinking that’s a normal human being feeling
Ayeyi: In your opinion, what is the one thing every song must have for it to be solid?
Yung D3mz: Soul. Every good song must have soul. Tons of people can sing or rap but give them a beat and they can’t make it special. That’s ’cause it lacks that element to change energy, to evoke feelings. Ever wondered why you can love a song in a foreign language you don’t even understand? It’s ’cause you can feel the energy of the song
Ayeyi: Pretty accurate. Apart from music production, how else are you involved in the music industry?
Yung D3mz: I’m also into songwriting. I love helping people write songs. It’s the thing I started with so I’m definitely into the scene right now. Eventually, I might drop my own songs. I’m very much into the business aspect of music; learning the ropes. In a few years, I’ll register my own imprint/label, if things go as planned. I’ve also been learning a lot about the economics of music, marketing, distribution and all the legal ramifications. It’s very important artists know this stuff, e need waa.
Photo Credit: G.Sarkodee
Ayeyi: Music producer, songwriter, artiste, and learning the business aspect of music. That’s versatile. In terms of inspiration, what other producers, songwriters and/or artists inspire you?
Yung D3mz: I look up to Kanye West and Pharell a lot. They embody all aspects of art and make money out of it too. They do what they want, and that’s the dream to be honest. I love Travis Scott for that too. 6lack’s music is probably the reason why I make music. The Weeknd is one of my biggest influences. Of course, I have my afro side of music, lol. I love Burna Boy, Osibisa, Kiki Gyan. Wizkid, King Promise and of course I looked up to Kwesi before we linked up; I still do. Same with Manifest, solid guy.
Ayeyi: Quite a number of people. Is there any artist you want to work with but have not had the opportunity to work with?
Yung D3mz: Yeah, actually. I’m yet to directly work with Sarkodie. It’s crazy ’cause I’m a hip-hop producer and he’s the goat of hip-hop here. I don’t think it’s a reach for me ’cause it’s gonna happen eventually. A lot of the people I work with have co-signs from him. And he posted a snippet of him jumping on one of my beats a few months back. I’d love us to get in the studio proper.
Ayeyi: Sarkodie is a crazy artiste! I can’t wait to hear your collaboration with him. How do you want your musical career to look like moving foward?
Yung D3mz: Yeah, Sark is a legend. I’d definitely want to be established in the next few years. Dropping better music, crossing borders. I want to be one of the heavy hitters on the continent. Of course, every new comer wants to be a superstar, but I know that I will be. I’m in the right space, with the right people. Eventually, my talent will be recognized. It’s only a matter of continuing the work I’m already doing. My career is inevitable, lmao.
Ayeyi: I love your confidence and I believe so too. For those reading this interview and would like to listen to your music and follow you on social media, what platforms can we find your music on as well as social media handles we can follow you on?
Yung D3mz: Thank you. My music or productions are everywhere on all streaming platforms. I go by Yung D3mz on SoundCloud. On Twitter and Instagram, @yung_d3mz. There’s always links in my bio you could check out too.
Ayeyi: Yung D3mz, thank you so much for agreeing to have this interview with me. Your music is fire and I can’t wait for you to become a household name
Yung D3mz: No problem at all. Thank you for interviewing me, it’s been a pleasure (smiles)
Photo Credit: G. Sarkodee