by DJ Mätthew Griffin
For the last five years the Dejas, Callie Lipton and Aaron Katz, have toured the Northeast spreading their original music everywhere from house concerts to festival stages. In 2007, the Dejas won the Seacoast Eye on the Arts Alternative Band of the Year award. In 2009 the band released Speeding Softly, which soon garnered the Dejas many music licensing deals. The Dejas’ songs have appeared on The Beautiful Life, produced by Ashton Kutcher, the Lifetime movie Lip Service, MTV’s I Used To Be Fat, and the CW network’s Life Unexpected. The band’s future is bright, and the tight bond between Callie and Aaron is something that, to them, makes the band seem almost predestined. Through their music they express their connection to life’s varied experiences, dreams, and desires.
Noise: What are the Dejas’ roots and how did the band form.
Callie: We met at the University of New Hampshire in 2005. Aaron was playing in Percy Hill and had started a production company in Dover, New Hampshire. I answered an ad for recording and production of my singer/songwriter material. We ended up sharing our music with each other and there was an immediate musical connection. We have continued working together as the Dejas to this day.
Noise: How would you describe the Dejas music?
Aaron: The Dejas music is ambient, groove driven pop that combines both of our lyrical worlds with beautiful melodies and lush harmonic landscapes. Listeners have expressed that the Dejas music has the ability to move one to tears as well as to dance. We are a consistent duo, but we bring in other musicians to augment our vision.
Noise: Do you have any upcoming shows?
Callie: We are currently playing a Thursday residency at 43 Church in Salem, Mass. called The Dejas Present: The Session. Recently we have teamed up with Michael Feingold of Erykah Badu, Jay Z, and the Roots and keyboard player Ben Zecker.
Aaron: At The Dejas Present: The Session the shows are centered around Dejas material but local talent is also showcased on the stage. Artists submit song ideas to the Dejas in advance, and if chosen, we will learn the material and perform it with the guest artists the following Thursday. The Session also incorporates North Shore visual artists. Every Thursday a new visual artist is chosen by the new, hip store in Salem, The Witch Dr. The art displayed is a beautiful backdrop on the stage. Artists have been successful in selling paintings and have benefitted from increased exposure to their work. These Session nights are about music, food, art, and great people hanging out by the beautiful fireplace at 43 Church. So many different kinds of people come out every Thursday and it’s amazing to see and feel the sense of community on these nights. The room is always full of the most incredibly positive vibes!
Callie: The Dejas, along with Social Palates & Moon Haven Productions are putting on a wild New Year’s show called Past, Present, Future. It will be taking place at the Lyceum Hall at 43 Church in Salem, Mass. This is the exact place where Alexander Graham made the first telephone call ever from Salem to Boston! Pretty Cool! Our band and our good friend Qwill, who is an incredible musician, will also be on the bill for the night as well as some local DJ’s from Salem. It’s going to be one of the biggest and best New Year’s Eve parties in town! There will be light hors d’oeuvres, awesome drink specials, dancing, and even a “time machine”! This event goes from 9:00pm- 2:00am and it only costs $20 to get in, so you will most definitely get your money’s worth! We promise you good times!
Aaron: Then on February 9th we will be opening for the incredibly talented Chelsea Berry at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, Mass. This is a beautiful venue right on the ocean and the backdrop behind the stage is a huge window overlooking the water. The show is at 8pm and the tickets range from $20-$35. You can buy your tickets at the Shalin Liu website or at the door but this show will most likely sell out… so we would recommend getting your tickets soon!
Noise: Where are the Dejas based?
Callie: We are now a Salem-based band. We’ve lived here for three years and have loved being a part of such a rich, diverse, and creative community. We recently got voted favorite Band in Salem by a public poll done by the North Shore magazine, Art Throb. Not only do we perform at many of the music venues and festivals in town, but we also have our own recording studio in downtown Salem. The studio is located at the Creative Salem office space at 265 Essex Street. Creative Salem serves as a creative hub that helps individuals and businesses network and grow, thereby helping the creative economy in Salem. At our studio we provide music lessons, recording, and also production work. If you are interested in working with us please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Noise: What makes the Dejas different from any other musical act out there?
Aaron: When we are not playing shows or promoting events, we run a number of music programs in Salem. We have been active at the Plummer Home for Boys for over three years and have recently started getting more involved in the Salem community by starting music programs at the On Point facility, the Boys and Girls Club, and the YMCA. In our programs we teach the kids to play instruments and write, record, and perform music. It is inspiring to see a child’s face light up when they play that first note on the instrument of their choice. From that point on the journey is theirs. We take great pride in helping them find their own voice and the joy that comes from self-expression.
Noise: What’s the best way to stay tuned in to the Dejas news?
Callie: The Dejas Facebook page has been the best tool for us to connect with our fans. We have all of our shows posted there, and we keep everyone updated about band news. You can hear our music on the Dejas Facebook site and also purchase songs on iTunes and CD Baby. There’s plenty of music videos and recordings of live performances on our YouTube channel too, so definitely check that out! Our Dejas website is currently under construction, but it will be up and running in the next couple of months! You can also connect with us on Twitter and Sonicbids.
Noise: Are you involved in any other musical projects outside of the Dejas?
Aaron: We like to keep it fresh and interesting by writing and performing in a variety of projects. We recently wrote the music for a midnight horror film/ rock production called Scary Mary and the Audio Corsette. In the band, we wear crazy wigs and get to experience loud volumes and the over all rock ‘n’ roll.
Callie: Aaron and I have also been working on an ambient hip-hop project with local rappers and spoken word artists. I have learned how to play the bass for this project and it’s been an amazing experience being able to express myself in another outlet with a different instrument. It’s been cool to step away from being the lead singer, and instead my role is to deliver the steady foundation for the music. At some point in time, I would like to incorporate me playing the bass with some of the Dejas material! It’s definitely an amazing, important, and powerful instrument and I’m completely in love it with it!
Noise: How are you gaining an audience as a band and maintaining growth and exposure?
Aaron: While Salem is home to the Dejas, we have toured the Northeast and plan to get back on the road after the release of our next album. Living in Salem has been so good for us because it is a small, but very interesting city. The combination of history and mystery brings over 200,000 visitors to town a year. In some way, it is like touring without touring because the crowds come to us! In Salem we are able to reach new fans without ever having to leave town.
Callie: The Dejas are also reaching greater audiences through licensing deals with CBS, MTV, TLC, the Discovery Chanel, and also the Lifetime network. We recently were asked to contribute our thoughts about music education toTed Talks on a wide variety of topics—from the influence of technology, to the importance of compassion when working with students.
Noise: When will the next Dejas album be out?
Callie: We are in the middle of pre-production for the next album. We have grown a lot since our last album, Speeding Softly. We still will have that beautiful undertone of sound, but were going to give it a little bit more power, and it will have some different spices and flavors. Our music is always expressed as a contrast, it’s dark yet beautiful, sad yet happy, chill yet danceable. We are super-psyched to get some more Dejas music out into the world! We will most definitely keep everyone posted about the album release date as it comes closer!
Noise: Where do you see the Dejas at in the future?
Aaron: We plan to continue to write and release music, tour nationally as well as tour overseas. We will always remain community activists/youth mentors and work to use our talents to light up the places we live and the people we love.