Published on December 11th, 2022

Drab Majesty by Nedda Afsari

What’s in an alter ego? Consider Deb DeMure of the Los Angeles dark dance duo Drab Majesty — or peek past that identity to find DeMure’s offstage self: musician and performer Andrew Clinco. Together with Mona D (offstage, Alex Nicolau), Clinco as the white-wigged, painted, ghostly DeMure has created in Drab Majesty something out of a dream that the past has of the future, or the present has of the past. Off-kilter and soothing.

In an interview with PureHoney, Clinco as DeMure or vice versa explains why visual style is so integral to their music: “It’s important to transport your audience and allow them to feel like they’re witnessing something special and unique compared to what they encountered previously in their day. If the music requires it, live performance needs to be something that makes the audience forget about your earthly body.”

This is their first visit to South Florida. When we asked what the region evokes for them, they volunteer “nonexistent winters.” Clearly open to new experiences, they share a story about one night on tour, leaving a bar in Leipzig, Germany. “It was late,” Clinco recalls. “We got a taxi back to our hotel and immediately noticed the classical music the driver was playing. It was a soothing surprise in contrast to the loud bar we had just come from. Considering we were in Leipzig, Johann Sebastian (JS) Bach’s resting place, we asked the cabby if he was a fan. And oh boy was he ever.

“At the first mention of Bach, he immediately shuts off the time clock and says we’re taking a quick detour. He flips a u-turn and starts barreling down the street at Mach speed … he’s taking us to Thomaskirche, the church of Bach’s gravesite. As we approach the church he takes the liberty of driving up on the sidewalk and drives us right up to the front doors to the massive Bach sculpture.” Adding, “This is definitely not an area where cars are supposed to be. 

“The cab driver says, ‘This is where he sleeps.’ We get out and take some photos and the man proceeds to walk us around the perimeter of the church giving us a lesson on Bach and also the Andalusian Arabic origins of the guitar. A 10-minute cab ride has now turned into a 45-minute long music history tour. And oh yeah,” they add, “we were tripping on LSD for the entirety of this experience.” That’s one way to forget about your earthly body while still being part of our collective history.

A friend who told me she got tickets to the show the moment it was announced describes the first time she stumbled onto Drab Majesty: It was “Not Just A Name,” off “The Demonstration” album. “I was sitting in a car dealership as a very bored teenager and I remember it striking so intensely,” she says. “Feeling affirmed by themes of existentialism, but in a way kind of romantically.” The music achieves a kind of lying under a blanket in the sun with your eyes closed feeling. Where everything is reduced to the hot, orange-green color behind your eyes.

“Unarian Dances,” their first and self-released album from 2012, set the stage for the beautiful contrast of driving beats and wavy synths they create for each release. The vocals projected through the course of their work are like woven light — bright and shadowy, a lyrical crosshatch full of questions and answers.

“A Dialogue,” the first track on their 2019 “Modern Mirror” LP, is like a Shakespeare sonnet, with its own special form. The music encourages us to wonder what they see in the mirror: Is it a veil between realities, or times, in which earthly and spirit bodies are seen together as one? Is it the moment in time when we let go of the past, in order to move ahead to where we belong? Out of the dealership, onto the highway? Out of our bodies, into the bright, white void? With our eyes closed so our consciousness can open, Drab Majesty show us what it looks like when dreams become reality.

Drab Majesty, with openers Donzii perform 8pm Sunday, Dec. 4 at Gramps in Miami. drabmajesty.bandcamp.com ~ Carly Cassano