What began as a documentary, chronicling the steps to becoming a recording artist, became a guidebook to stardom. DEMOS, created by Kevin Nottingham and Kareem Fort, answers questions about breaking into the music industry like ‘Should I put out a mixtape or an album first?’ with advice from established hip-hop artists like Jean Grae, Talib Kweli and Naughty By Nature as well as industry professionals.
Parlour chatted with the DEMOS team, including executive producer Fort and producers Hassahn Phenomenon and Velv Somersault, about the documentaryâ€™s audience, misconceptions and the keys to success.
PARLOUR: What kind of insight does the hip-hop talent in the documentary offer the viewers?
Velv: Theyâ€™re all giving great advice on how to achieve success as an independent artist, how to put your music out there, get people to listen and buy it.
What is the biggest misconception of breaking into the industry?
Hassahn: That there is one way to do it. There is definitely a formula to building a buzz but there are several ways or avenues to utilize on your journey. The most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t happen overnight. By the time we begin to see an artist rise, there were already years of hustling in the works.
What about people that feel this is a cheat sheet for artists on how to make it?
Hassahn: I hope not! Itâ€™s not like people can watch it and the next day they become one of the top successful artists in the game. You need the drive to do it. This documentary will not give you your drive, it will give you some insight and advice on where to go, how to talk to people, gain contacts and everything necessary to become a successful artist. DEMOS will become a great resource for not only artists that need some direction but for more experienced acts who need new and innovative ways to stay in the public eye and expand their brand even further.
Filming documentaries usually produce lots of footage, what are you doing with the extras?
Hassahn: We will use the extra footage as bonus footage for the DVD and marketing purposes. We may even post some of it online just for people to enjoy our journey as much as we have.
When can we see DEMOS?
Hassahn: DEMOS is slated for a late summer release, August at the latest. This film will definitely be a must see for anyone that has ever aspired to live a dream. Weâ€™re filming until mid-March.
Velv: We are working on a few releases of associated projects with DEMOS. We will be releasing a few mixtapes along with a soundtrack within the next few months. Be on the lookout for the next trailer and promo materials on your favorite blog soon!