Concerts

DEM Celebrates Release Of Forward Ever

DEM has been holding it down representing Houston’s small but mighty reggae community since 2016. During lockdown the band sat down to record their first album and is now celebrating the release of their first full length album, Forward Ever, on Splice Records with a full evening of performances on Saturday, December 4 at The Continental Club.

“Continental has the best vibe for me,” says lead singer Louise Morales. “That is the best spot in town to do something like this and it deserves to have something like this because it’s been doing it for years.”

The night will start off with a DJ session by Los Skarnales front man Felipe Galvan and his Pachuco Boogie Sound System. Lion Heights from Austin will be performing before DEM takes the stage to perform their new album in its entirety along with two unreleased tracks and special guests including Kam Franklin of The Suffers.

Morales and his band are pumped to finally bring this album to the people. Though they have been performing the songs live for over a year now, while on tour earlier this year and during their weekly brunches at La Grange, seeing it all culminate into a CD and vinyl release while comfortably celebrating with their fans and friends brings the whole experience to another level.

“The frequency of the music has been evolving as we've been playing it more and more and as we've been anticipating the release of this album, speaking about it and sharing different things. It feels like it's reached the point where you can feel the trembling of the ground before the volcano erupts,” says Morales.

Forward Ever is a direct hit of positivity and good vibrations to the brain. Each track is crafted with the listener in mind offering smooth dance able rhythms and reflective lyrics. “The overall plot or ideas behind my music has always been to uplift or to engage in a matter to provoke critical thinking,” explains Morales.

“The overall plot or ideas behind my music has always been to uplift or to engage in a matter to provoke critical thinking.”

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He describes the band’s experience in recording as a completely immersive experience where though they were there to create freely, they also worked hard to stay on track. Morales took his role as bandleader to heart making sure everyone's needs were met while maintaining a balanced environment and tight schedule.

“It was really critical thinking and it worked out to be the best thing. It was such a beautiful experience,” he says, describing how the entire band continues to refer to that recording session with warm regard. “It was such a beautiful session and such a natural vibe,” he adds.

“Whenever I first heard the album in its entirety it made me feel emotional. It was a good feeling because I felt like we captured that vibe,” says Morales. “To put something out into the market with everyone’s fingerprint has a huge significance,” adds drummer Sel Philips Caveraz.

Forward Ever features ten original tracks including three dubstep versions of tracks on the album which serve as a sort of cool down from a work out and a nod to the reggae artists of the past who often featured entire B sides of the same song from side A done differently.

Describing his descent into reggae Morales describes how it began by hearing Sublime and Bob Marley through a cousin as a pre-teen. Though initially he wasn’t too impressed, as he felt so many songs sounded exactly the same, with a little time and further exploration into the genre he got really turned onto not only the sounds but the message.

“I started discovering what was my niche, my little section or genre of reggae that I really liked and I really enjoyed the lovers rock,” explains Morales. “With lovers rock you can write about everything. You can make it really social and you can make songs about personal experiences and love.”

“I started to get to know roots reggae when I met Louise. I went deeper and deeper into reggae music listening and adopting those rhythms with my own influences of Latin and African rhythms,” explains Caveraz who is originally from the Dominican Republic.

“I’m not too far from those rhythms but they have another timing and a different feeling and that is where I got into the more original reggae rhythms that are so beautiful. Imagine the rhythm of the heart, it’s the same heartbeat we all have and there is no way around that.”

Though Morales started DEM as a solo acoustic project, he slowly but surely went on to accumulate some of Houston’s finest musicians, mostly through admiring their talents for himself and then approaching them to work together.

DEM consists of Morales, Caveraz, Pat Kelly on drums, Kevin B.(The Suffers) on guitar, Liam Haney (Third Coast Roots) on bass and Allison Lopez on saxophone.

“It was all natural,” says Morales of the culmination of his band. “As the sound was evolving the puzzle pieces were coming into fruition. As you unlock the level of understanding, you're rewarded with another puzzle piece to resolve or complete your ideas or what your goal is. It seemed like it had become that way as I met my friends and the musicians in these bands.”

“Pat has been the one that has really helped to guide this band and give ideas and perspective because perspective is a big thing. Pat has been playing this style of music for years,” says Morales describing how he had been admiring drummer Pat Kelly’s work for years with many local bands, including The Suffers.

“Being in a level where you get inspired by somebody and then you reach them, it's a big thing for me. I’m growing with the peers that inspired me locally and not only that I'm also making music with my peers that continuously inspire me and I connect with them.”

“Everywhere we go people always say the same thing, ‘Oh my God the band is so amazing!’ and I believe it. I feel it and I hear it. I feel like I'm the weakest link of the group. The only thing that I can do is sing my heart out,” says Morales adding, “It’s really just each one, teach one. Everyone really pushes each other, everyone is really communicative.”

DEM will perform with Lion Heights and DJ Set by Pachuco Boogie Sound System on Saturday, December 4 at The Continental Club 3700 Main, 8 p.m., $12-20. Forward Ever will be available for purchase and streaming that same day.