After heavily influencing the dubstep scene under the moniker RUN DMT, John D Robbins is back better than ever and choosing to revisit the underground bass landscape on his own terms. Today the talented producer has officially unveiled his new project, deemster, alongside a debut album released via Gravitas Recordings in Topsail. As you’ll hear below, this new project is an ode to Robbins’ initial inspirations within dance music, as well as his newfound hometown of Topsail, NC. We were lucky enough to sit down with the artist himself to talk about his new album, artistic growth since RUN DMT, and what the future holds for his new sound and project. Check out the interview below and be sure to turn up your speakers while streaming Topsail.
Deemster – Topsail | Stream
Run the Trap: Talk about how you’ve evolved creatively (as well as personally) from your last
Run DMT release in 2017 to now with Deemster 2023. What’s changed the most for you as an artist, as a person?
Deemster: After I put out Revolutionaire in 2017, after a year of work with only a couple of people involved to help, I was almost immediately burned out on everything remotely having to do with RUN DMT. It wasn’t until I got married and moved to coastal North Carolina in 2021 that I even had a spark of something that felt really good to me, creatively. The deemster project is really just me having genuine fun making music and DJing like it was when I first started. These small benchmarks that I took for granted doing RUN DMT are now this welcome pat on the back for something that truly feels like my own. It has also been great working with Gravitas on this project. They have been very supportive since day one and I really appreciate their faith in this voyage.
Your debut LP as Deemster, Topsail, incorporates breaks, jungle, trip-hop, and a ton of other influences. Where did you draw sonic inspiration from to craft such an eclectic project
This was the music I loved starting as a teenager in the late 90s. All of the songs in Topsail bring me back to long drives in the car with friends listening to RJD2 and Cold-Krush Kuts or learning how to scratch on the floor of my dorm room. I was lucky to meet people along my journey who opened my mind to all sorts of music and culture. It directly inspired me to learn to Dj and make
electronic music in a more creative way, with a score of influences. My love for the culture and music never stopped growing, and this record is really a summation of that love.
Much of the production on the album seems to pay homage to the late 90s/early 2000’s electronic music – can you speak to this influence on the LP and your thoughts on this era of EDM in general?
What I really appreciate about this era of electronic music was the ability of these producers to tell a story and transport the listener to a special place through music. Chemical Brothers and Funki Porcini we a couple of my favorites that were very good at accomplishing this in different ways. I really want to bring that same story-telling spirit to everything in the Deemster project.
The album’s title gets its name from Topsail, NC, a place that holds a special place in your heart. Why did you decide to call the album this and what’s the significance of Topsail?
I live just over the bridge from Topsail Island and it’s where we spend our weekends in the spring and summer. It’s just a lovely place from North Topsail down to Surf City, and when we moved out here, it was like a weight was lifted andI was finally in a place that felt like home. I love the sea and this is the first time I have ever lived this close to it, so it’s very inspiring to me creatively.
Now that you’ve debuted this new project, what’s next for Deemster this year? What can fans expect?
I actually have a full album I am currently finishing up. It is very tonally different from Topsail, in that it deals with the topic of life and death and the duality of existence, so expect an emotional rollercoaster. I want to approach these releases like movies that are their own journies filled with their own emotions and vibes. I have never been good at making the same thing over and
over, so I want this project to fully embrace and utilize my scatterbrain to try to tell a story and connect with people.