DEMONDICE Interview @ Anime Central 2022!


At Anime Central, we had the chance to sit down and chat with underground rapper DEMONDICE!


Welcome to Chicago!  Have you been here before?  Is there anything you would like to do in Chicago?

Last time I came here was 15 years ago, so I barely remember it to be honest.


I went with a friend for a friend's birthday.  So I barely remember anything about that trip except the hotel was really bad and I had to share with her family so it was really awkward. 

I did get to eat deep dish pizza yesterday, which was super good!  I'm planning on doing a little more sightseeing after the con, so yeah, I'm looking forward to that.  To be honest I'm not really sure what to do, so I'm going to do what I usually do and look up some places on the internet!  Trusty Google-Sensei will probably help me out.  

There's a really famous local place called Portillo's.  It's like Chicago street food, like a beef dip sandwich.  It's really highly recommended here.

I feel like I've heard that before, now I want to try it.  Thanks for the recommendation!

Concert, Collabs, and Criticism!

Awesome concert last night!  You seemed to have a great time up there.  Is there a part of the performing process or the recording process that gets you really amped up?  


Thanks so much!  I feel like when I'm doing concert performances, I'm always nervous until I get on stage, and even then I'm still a little nervous.


But it immediately goes away when I see everyone excited and cheering and happy.  I see people wearing my shirts and my masks, and I realize, "Ah, yes, fans are here."  

Back when I was performing in Japan, a lot of times I'd open for other bands.  It's not easy being the opener, because the people in front, they're not there to see you, so it's super nerve wracking.  Recently though, because I've been headlining stuff, it's been a lot less difficult for me to handle.  So I feel like the thing that gets me most pumped up in a concert is seeing fans that are excited to see me.  

Speaking of the concert, you got to have Teddyloid as your DJ.  How'd that happen?

So with Teddy, I've known about his work ever since [2014] with "Me!Me!Me!" featuring Daoko.  I've never imagined in my wildest dreams that we would collaborate at all, as my back DJ, or like in… anything.


But I knew him basically, from a friend of a friend.  The group I'm touring with now also has Teddy touring with them, and that's how I met him.  So that's really cool - he's a really awesome guy who really knows how to make the show more hype with the DJ scratching disks and all that.  I'm super glad to have made that connection with him.

Speaking of collaborations, you've collaborated with many different talents, from Teddyloid to moistcr1tikal.  Are there any other talents whom you'd like to collaborate with?

There are so many, to be honest. 


With my personal music, as DEMONDICE, I feel like it's my way, my rules, the way I want to do things.  I feel a lot less pressured to like, pick and choose who I work with for other stuff.  There are a lot of youtubers that I'm personally open to work with, like Sykkuno for example, I think he's really cool.  I'd like to play a game with these guys on stream.  Super casual, you know.  I'm trying to open myself up more to stuff like that.

In terms of music and stuff, I'm extremely open to anyone whose music I really vibe with.  But it's hard to make connections unless I know someone personally, or a friend of a friend, because I'm actually a really shy and introverted person, and also extremely busy.  So as much as I want to collaborate with people, the list of collaborations is very long, so before I can think about who to collaborate musically with next, I need to pause for a minute, and then go through the list first, then think about, "Hmm, I want to work with this person,"  I'm trying to limit myself more before I overwork myself again.  

With all these different hats you're wearing for all the different work for DEMONDICE, how do you manage your time so well?

Ahh, so see that's the thing.  I don't. 


But I get what you're saying.  Like "How on this planet earth do you have time to do all these things?"  The simple answer is that I like being busy.  And it just so happens that creating music, art, planning merchandise, designing shirts, even streaming, all are things I consider hobbies that I am lucky to do for work.  Sometimes if I do too much of them it gets a little not fun, but for the most part it's really fun.  So that's why I seem like I'm busy all the time, but really, I'm just playin' the whole time, and I'm lucky it gets to count for work.  

On the opposite end, how do you handle criticism?

Well, criticism is criticism, and if I believe it can help me, I don't want to get offended.  So I try to analyze, if I really look at myself, can I fix this about what I'm doing.


For example, my streams weren't super prepared for, or something like that.   All right, that's fair criticism.  I can take that and learn from that. But just general hatred is like, super unfounded, and the only thing I can really say is that you need to mentally prepare yourself for it.  It took me a really long time to get used to it, because I grew up a really sensitive kid.  I was bullied quite a bit when I was young.  And it was really rough for me to deal with it, and I still wonder mentally, what the consequences were from that, but all I know right now is that I'm fine.  I don't think too hard about it these days, just kind of let it roll off.  I try to remember the good things that people say, because I think it's a wild minority that likes to project their feelings onto other people who are just enjoying the music.  Not everybody has to like what I make, that's cool.  It's just you don't need to let everyone around you know that you hate it so much.  At least, that's how I feel about things that I like personally, so maybe that's just how I see it.  

 But yeah, I think I've got a lot better about it over the last year.  So honestly, it's progress!

Good Morning, Japan!

So how did you end up becoming a rapper in Japan?

 I used to go to Art School.  When I was there, I was really into animation.  And at the time, my roommates found a bunch of really great animated videos from Japan.  They were from a Japanese electro-swing group called, "FAKE-TYPE", and I listened to their music, and actually didn't like them at first.


And then, for whatever reason, I downloaded their music anyway– I don't know what was wrong with me, but the more I listened to it, the more I started to like it.  And then I started listening to it all the time, and they became the only band I listened to at all, which is crazy, like a weird tsundere relationship.  But eventually, I grew to love their music so much I would look for translations for songs, and then they really started to resonate with me.  I realized, I need to go to Japan to see this band because I love their music so much. 

So all summer I worked a terrible job at [redacted], and I saved up all my tips that summer so I could make one trip–it was only 4 days–so I could see them perform.  And I didn't know how to read Japanese at the time, so I watched them perform at a hobby store underground.  It was really a small show - hardly even a concert, I think you couldn't really call it a concert.  But I didn't read that, because I couldn't read Japanese, so I thought, "Wow this is really small, I went to Japan for this,"  But it ended up being the best decision of my life, since the band is now really good friends of mine, we work on stuff together, and they introduced me to this whole world of music.  Without them I wouldn't be where I am today.

When you moved to Japan did you already have your pre-established group of connections there, or were you like, "Well, I'm here now," 

Well, thankfully I had a lot of Japanese friends from Twitter who were involved in the Nico Nico Douga Japanese rap scene.


They were teaching me Japanese, because we all liked the same music.  I didn't know how to talk to them, so I was always learning from the things they'd say to me.  They became my great friends, and all of them were very excited to meet me when I went to Japan.  

The same thing with the performers, too.  They were all underground guys, and when a foreigner shows up to their show, they're like, "Whoa, what the heck?"  And so a few of them immediately took me under their wing to learn how to rap better–they're like senpai for me, essentially.  Thankfully I had a bunch of friends in Japan to help me through it, because I'd have been very lonely otherwise. 

So you've made videos for FAKE-TYPE before– it started off as a fan MV and turned into an actual MV?

That's right!  

How'd that happen?

So that was actually a project for my motion graphics class in college, and essentially it started as storyboards.


I got an awesome grade on the project, but decided to finish it afterwards, because I thought, "eh, why not."  So I posted it up, and saw that they liked it, and when I met them, they were talking about it and said it was really amazing.   

And over time - oh, also I didn't start off making music videos for FAKE-TYPE, it was TOPHAMHAT-KYO of FAKE-TYPE when it became his own personal album.  He didn't want to ask the usual people who animate FAKE-TYPE's videos, so he asked me instead. It was the happiest day of my life.  So I made the animated music video for "Princess" - at 20 million views, it's the biggest MV I've ever created!

Since then I've done official music videos for FAKE-TYPE as well.  It's been pretty awesome.  

There is a whole storyline of the characters you created, right?  Eventually, you even became a character in the music videos?

That's right, I did!


That was TOPHAMHAT-KYO's "Princess" series.  In the third video, things got really meta, so to speak.  The entire "Princess" series is very meta, because you start off with a basic story in the first one.  And in the second one, TOPHAMHAT-KYO involves himself, and how that music video that blew up changed his life, and how he made himself into a character.

Then in the third video is about how to deal with the fact that his life has been changed by this fame.


He feels like his own character has taken over his life, he wants to kill her, and meets me in the process, the person who created the original video for him.  So it's incredibly meta, which I think is cool, because when the original "Princess" video blew up, nobody knew it would get as meta as it is.  I think it adds a special layer of intrigue to it.  Usually I don't like making sequels, especially threequels, but for whatever reason it works out here because it just keeps getting more and more meta.  We'll have to see what the finale is like, if we'll end it at four.

How do you draw the line on what you do for other people? (i.e. how much is your own influence and how much is the artist's idea?)

Yeah, it's tough with videos for other artists because their input is extremely important to me.  This whole meta idea was completely TOPHAMHAT-KYO's idea.  He asked me permission, "Is this ok if I put you in here," He also likes to write very meta songs, lyrics and storylines.  



As for me, I'm also really interested in that stuff, I don't feel like I handle it as well, though.  I'd like to work on it more because the DEMONDICE story is very all over the place and scattered.  I kind of like it that way because when I started off as DEMONDICE I had no idea of how things would proceed.  Instead of trying super hard to force or shoehorn in a story right now, I'm just letting it flow as it is.  Each album has its own concept.

Shut Up, Get Happy

On your recent EP, "Shut Up, Get Happy", I really enjoyed the song, "Wanting, Getting, Wanting."  The whole dark feel with its powerful message and chorus really leaves an impression.  What were your thoughts when writing this song?

I started writing it, and immediately felt like a jerk while I was writing it.


I was like, "Man, this makes me look like such an asshole."  It's because a lot of times, when people get really big, there's like this fake humbleness period where you're like, "Oh no no no, I don't deserve any of this," and it's difficult to deal with.  A lot of times, when people ask you how you're doing, you feel like you're supposed to sound grateful, because you should.  All of these great things are happening to you, and in order to avoid backlash from the general public, you play it humble and cool, and "I'm so grateful" and whatnot. 

But what if you don't feel super good.  What if there's a lot of mental trauma you're going through.  Are you supposed to smile?  And shut up and get happy? (*Laughs* I said the name).  Can you at least–not supposed to– but can you vent the way you actually feel, be honest, drop the fake humble act and let people know that you're not feeling ok.  Despite all the great things that happened, you still appreciate them, but all the sad things that happen don't go away.  

It's a very honest album, and with "Wanting, Getting Wanting" it was me expressing that I always have these dreams that I go for, and when I get them, I don't even have time to celebrate, because I'm thinking about the next goal.  "Oh, it's great that I got this thing I've been dreaming about, but what about the next thing?"  And I realize it - it's the worst, being self aware of the fact - and feeling bad about it.  It's really quite the mental struggle.  I'm glad that I can vent it out in a song, regardless of what people may think about me for being that brutally honest.  I'm glad that I did it just for myself, because I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders after writing that song.

I think your thoughts and feelings came through very well!

Thank you so much - it's a song very close to my heart.

I heard that you have an announcement for Alkatraz coming out, but I imagine there isn't much you can tell us about that.  Is there a type of project or media that you haven't done yet that you would like to try out?

The Alkatraz thing, I hope people look forward to it.  I can tell you guys it's a piece of merchandise I want to do.


In terms of stuff I want to make, today I saw someone come in with a vest just full of badges, and I thought, "Why haven't we made DEMONDICE badges yet?"  It's mostly merchandising stuff we're focusing on. 

Back in the day I tried to make my own design company.  I got really into Omocat, one of my favorite clothing designers, and I thought to myself, "Why don't I try making a design company, because I love fashion.  However, you can't just do that.  It's another thing where like you just say you want to do it and do it.  Like, "Oh I like to draw, so I can make clothes,"-- they're two completely different things. 

But now, I would seriously like to try.  Because I feel like I can use my artistic skills for something else in the DEMONDICE brand besides just music videos, so I'm kind of trying to think up a DEMONDICE clothing line, or something like that.  It's something I'm interested in trying in the future.  

With all these different operations, did you consider getting more people to help, or is it a one-person sort of thing?

In the beginning it was just me, and I didn't really know what I was doing.  Right now I have a really great team behind me, of just a few people doing a great job.


I also have a lot of connections with people, like a friend of a friend who knows how to do this, etc.  I'm super lucky to be in a position to make connections with people.  So even if my team is small, the friends I've made have opened up so many opportunities for me, so I'm super grateful to them.  And yeah, for the most part, I do like to keep the teams small.  I don't want DEMONDICE to be something like huge and super corporate with a gazillion people working at it.  I'm pretty happy with it the way things are right now, and try not to stray too far from that.

You've got quite a few albums on you at this point.  What do you think the biggest shift is in your writing/recording process from back then?

That's a  tough one.  I feel like creatively, I have to be careful about not using the same rhymes as I have in the past.


That's one thing, because when you start off, and you haven't made anything, the whole world is open.  You can write anything.  Now I'm analyzing my lyrics, and I'm like, "Have I said this thing before?  Did I say this a different way?" I have to use a little more brainpower to be more creative, what direction do I want to go from here, that hasn't covered something I've already done, because I don't want to make the same music over and over again. Which is why all my stuff sounds so different, that's basically the motto I live by - "I don't want to make the same kind of music all the time, with every release."

So there's that, for sure.  I feel like my production quality has gone up a bit, but there are some lines of lyrics that I listen to in my old stuff, that I think, "Damn it!  I wish I saved that stuff for today,"  There are also some lines in past releases where I cringe so hard that I can't even believe it.  So there was a big mix back in the day of lyrics that sucked, and lyrics that are super great.  I wish I could pull the great ones and use them today, but I just gotta come up with more.  It's been kind of mentally exhausting to come up with new material because I've been so busy these days, and I can't really force it out, even if I keep trying, so that was another reason why "Shut Up Get Happy" was an EP and not an album.  I didn't want to force myself to write a bunch of songs when I'm this mentally exhausted.  I'm trying to pace myself a bit, keep the creative juices flowing, y'know.

Are there any other genres of music that you are looking forward to working on?

Let's see… It depends.  I'm doing various works right now, but with DEMONDICE I want to get into the more raw sounding and dark side of things.


I know that it's very edgy, but you know what? I just embrace it at this point.  It's my brand.  And personally, I like the direction I'm going.  I like the feeling that I can let loose and really vent my emotions in those albums.  So that I can work on other projects and not be such a downer.  But some people really like the downer that is DEMONDICE, and I'm glad that they do, so I appreciate it. 

You have a lot of variety with the tones of your songs, from "Dark Hour" to "Hellbento" or "Gang Gang Kawaii."  Is there a sort of different approach for these tracks, or do you just go for it?

The funny ones come out a lot quicker than the ones that are more dramatic.


Mostly because, it's not that I don't care as much about them, but I'm a lot less worried about embarrassing myself by being cringey with the funny ones.  It's because you can always turn around with the excuse "Haha, I was being cringe on purpose, it's a joke," etc.  I feel a lot less pressured with those, so I write those a lot quicker.  In terms of the more dramatic ones, I try to stay more realistic. 

Recently I've been thinking a lot about words that don't sound good.  Even though in normal speech they sound good, like when you're speaking, sometimes in music they just don't work.  When I started writing music in the beginning, I never thought about that kind of stuff.  But these days when I'm writing like, something that's very strongly hip hop influenced, I'll think to myself, "Get my ducks in a row," that's not very hip hop-ish.  Like maybe let's not use that there.  I mean, some people like that quirkiness, but for me, I'm trying to shift a bit more to not being so silly, and trying to focus on vibe and feel.  I think it's just like a professional progression of my writing style.  I've been thinking about words a lot recently as the best way to put it.

How did the pandemic affect your recording situation?  How did that work out for you?

The pandemic primarily affected the live venue scene situation because a lot of times, my senpai would invite me to perform at their events at their favorite venues up in Tokyo.


Unfortunately, the pandemic shut down a lot of venues, and made a lot of listeners really not want to go out in the open to the shows.  A lot of the scene has changed dramatically because a lot of the people who like to go see the shows before the pandemic hit can't go, or just aren't interested in the music because the live scene just wasn't there to keep the love alive, to keep the music and our community alive.  And so that was the biggest aspect that was affected.

In terms of recording, I've always recorded in my own home setting, so that's never been a problem, but the live situation is really unfortunate. 

Lightning Round and Good Night, America!

Hints on where you'll be touring next in the USA?

I have a special Nightmare Before Christmas thing I want to wear somewhere.  It's got Jack Skellington on it, so if you see me at a convention someday, I might be wearing that.

That seems very on brand.

I know, right?

Do you have any messages for your fans that you couldn't say during the concert?

Sure!  Thank you for loving what I do, I appreciate every single person that comes to support me, I'm incredibly happy you let my music be a part of your life.  I'd like to keep going farther from here, and if you guys are willing to accompany me on my descent into hell, I'd be very happy.  Hopefully it leads to a good ending for us. I think it will! 


GamePress Operations Manager.

Loves going to conventions and interviewing cool people!