Mixtape: James Demon

Joining our mixtape series is James Demon, a musician who has devoted his life to cultivating soulful and otherworldly sounds. From an early age, he honed his vocal skills and learned to play the cello, nurturing his innate musical talent. Born with a profound sense of melody, James’s musical journey was shaped by the 90s rave culture, where he embraced the pulsating rhythms of Techno and Happy Hardcore. His early experiments began with a collection of vinyl records and a pair of turntables, delving into a range of genres from electro to minimal, and from electroclash to EBM, though he found his true calling in the dark, experimental realms of Techno.

By the early 2000s, James was a fixture in the club scene across the United States, captivating audiences with his deep, mesmerizing beats. His move to Berlin in 2013 marked a significant phase in his career, where he immersed himself further in the electronic music scene, performing at well-known clubs such as Wilde Renate, Griessmuehle, and Kit Kat Club. James’s sound is enigmatic and challenges conventional boundaries, focusing on connecting listeners to the sacred dimensions of music. His sets are more than just performances; they are rituals that break through linguistic and cultural confines.

When sitting down to make this mix I wanted to make something special that takes the listener on a hyper journey through different styles of techno while still taking some influence from pop music and post-punk. I’m not a huge techno purist so I always try to convey a fun message as a DJ. I never want to be too serious in life or as an artist, so I try to be as playful as possible when curating a mix or playing in the club. I also find it important to be unexpected with what I’m mixing and I don’t want people to have expectations of what I might play. Even though my focus is on high- energy club sounds, I’m not afraid to throw some surprises in the mix and jump around in the BPMs. I think this mix conveys that ideology while still telling a cohesive story with mystical references thrown in to stay true to my ethos.

In 2016, James launched Occultists, a record label merging his love for the mystical with the rugged energy of Techno. He aimed to create a platform for emerging artists blending electronic music, Post-Punk, and Dark Wave, establishing a conduit for the arcane within the Techno community. This project envisioned a sonic domain inhabited by witches and esoteric elements, crafting an etheric backdrop for transcendental dance experiences. The roster of Occultists, featuring artists like Lucia Luna, Mystic Future, and Dugong, offers a diverse blend of music defined by its dark, ethereal nature, characterized by chilling synthesizers, harmonic riffs, and brisk tempos.

Continuing his musical evolution, James released “Dark Sacrament” on Coincidence Recordings in 2022 followed by “Night Child” in 2023. His music often incorporates spellbinding basslines and atmospheric synths, creating enveloping soundscapes that captivate listeners fully. Inspired by horror films, James strives to push boundaries and explore the enigmatic in his productions.

Today, James Demon is celebrated for his thrilling performances that seamlessly blend music, art, and mystical rituals. His artistry balances contrasts—light and darkness, feminine and masculine, soft and hard—culminating in a harmonious expression of creativity. His music, featuring haunting melodies, pulsating beats, and intense snare drums, has cemented his status as a pioneer of unconventional, avant-garde electronic music.

Upcoming releases and events
May 31st – 1st album single “Love Song For Dark Romantics” featuring Xx Isis xX out on Occultists
July 26th – 2nd album single “Vexed” out on Occultists
September 13th – James Demon – Unhinged Minds’ album release out on Occultists
July 19th – Occultists Label Showcase at Wilde Renate Berlin featuring James Demon and Occultists artists

Photos by Ema Discordant