10 Questions with ... Demetrius Benoist
April 5, 2016
1. What made you want to get into the music business? Who were some of your early mentors?
As a kid, I dreamed of being a rock star in a rock band. I learned one important truth early on, that I couldn’t sing a note and sucked at playing guitar. Looking back, there have been so many people that have helped me along the way. I’ve learned a lot on the fly through many failures and a few successes. In the end, I just try to soak up as much knowledge as I can from all the people I meet on this journey.
2. What was your first job and give us a rundown of the labels and positions you've held over the years?
Back in 2000 my first music-related job was managing a local disco funk cover band. I thought it was the coolest thing at the time ... I started off booking them gigs at dance clubs around Florida. That morphed into me working as a talent buyer for a few different venues. Which opened the door for me to start working as a concert promoter working with touring acts, booking agents and managers. At some point, I decided to get into artist management and ended up working with several bands and a few indie labels. After being involved in the process of releasing a few records, I knew that I wanted to work for a label. When Napalm Records offered me the opportunity to work for them as A&R, I jumped at the chance and have been there ever since.
3. You have been doing A&R for Napalm and recently added promo duties for the label. What's the biggest challenge for you adding the promotion gig?
The biggest challenge is trying to get music and program directors on the phone ... LOL ... This business is all about relationships. Being the new guy, I don't know anyone, so it's all about meeting people developing those relationships.
4. Let's talk about some of the bands on Napalm starting with Otep. This latest single "In Cold Blood" is probably the most accessible Rock Radio single the band has done. What's the latest with this project?
I think a lot of people have been really surprised by the first single, it really is a new direction for Otep. One of the smartest things I did and can actually take credit for, was to put Otep in the studio with Howard Benson. I felt they needed to take that next step in their evolution, and working with Howard would put them on the right path. We are all really excited about the new album "Generation Doom" coming out April 15th The band will be touring the US starting April 8th through May 28th I can already see early on that this record will connect with the fans, new and old.
5. Let's talk about some of the bands on Napalm starting with Otep. This latest single, "In Cold Blood," is probably the most accessible Rock radio single the band has done. What's the latest with this project?
A lot of people have been really surprised by the first single; it really is a new direction for Otep. One of the smartest things I did and I can actually take credit, was to put Otep in the studio with Howard Benson. I felt they needed to take that next step in their evolution, and working with Howard would put them on the right path. We are all really excited about the new album "Generation Doom" coming out April 15th The band will be touring the U.S. starting April 8th through May 28th I can already see early on that this record will connect with the fans, new and old.
6. Otep is also going out on tour this Spring. For those who haven't seen them live, what are some of the highlights of their upcoming performances?
Otep Shamaya is polarizing and controversial. Not afraid to stick a middle finger in your face. That unpredictable intensity is what makes it all worth seeing.
7. Are there any other Rock bands that Napalm will be releasing to Rock radio in the future that you can tell us about?
We have a few other rock bands in the pipeline but I've been sworn to secrecy.
8. You've been in the record promotion business for a short time. What are the most important tools/resources you use to stay on top of the Rock formats' growth and constant daily changes?
All Access and Mediabase are two that I use the most. I also have been known to pick a few brains, read a book or two, and even watch a few how to videos ... LOL
9. Let's talk about the Active Rock format as a whole. What's your take on the state of the format today?
I'm keep hearing people say rock is dead. I don't think it's dead, but I do think it's been playing it safe for a few years. I believe we are at a crossroads in rock music and the time is right for rock to get angry and unpredictable again. There are a lot of young, up-and-coming bands, that are poised to take that next step. The real question, which one of those bands is going to stick their middle finger in the air and inspire the next generation of fans.
10. Finally, I know you're from the Cleveland area and a big Cavaliers fan. How far do you think LeBron James and the Cavs can go this year?
They are going all the way of course. Someone has to break this Cleveland curse...
What do you like to do for fun and relaxation when you're not in "work" mode?
Is there really such a thing as not being in work mode? When I do have free time, I love spending it with my family and friends. I love the outdoors, nothing like a little hiking, fishing and biking. I also occasionally like to sneak off to the movies by myself. Yes, I am that guy, the one who goes to the 10a showing. The truth, I don't work a day in my life. I love what I am doing and there are never enough hours in the day.