By Intern Jesse Gann
Cal Dermody, 23, is a music producer and DJ from “Earth.” Growing up as a military brat, Dermody lived in numerous places across the states, and even Italy, before settling in Pensacola where he finished middle and high school.
Dermody went off to college in Mississippi and Nevada before moving back to Pensacola to finish his degree. He is currently studying Computer Information Systems at the University of West Florida. When he isn’t in school, Dermody hosts EDM events in the Pensacola area through the production company Floored Presents, where he serves as co-owner. You can stay tuned with Dermody on Instagram @iamcalmusic or listen to his music on Soundcloud and Spotify. Follow Floored Presents on IG @flooredpresents for upcoming events.
What started your journey as a producer in the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) world? Was it a festival?
I was originally motivated by my best friend Spencer Bagley to first go to a music festival. It was senior year of high school in 2015 and he bought me a ticket to go with him to EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) in Orlando because his mom did not want him to go alone, so he brought me along. I fell in love with the intensity and raw power of the stage and how much mayhem there is. When I was transitioning into college and was playing sports, I was a track athlete at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. I felt like I was achieving everything I could be doing already. The lack of progress in music though gave me more motivation. I relate the journey of sports to music in a sense that anything can be achieved if you put in the work. I am more competitive with myself in music than I was with sports. I spent eight years playing sports and upon getting into college. I quit my first semester when I could’ve spent that time making music. With music, I enjoy obtaining the creativity of music that was not fulfilling me in sports.
What was the biggest obstacle with transitioning out of collegiate sports into producing EDM more seriously?
So at USM, in 2016, I found myself surrounded by people who weren’t very like-minded. It was demotivating because nobody around me liked EDM. People would avoid talking to me because they knew I liked dubstep. I found myself DJing at a frat party and would often get criticized for playing my kind of music. Sometimes even heckled. “Bro you gotta turn that stuff off.” People would be very condescending towards me. “Oh you listen to that fruity space music?” Eventually, I moved to Las Vegas where EDM and music festivals are plentiful and continued to work on music after leaving Mississippi. I was taking recording technician classes at University of Nevada at Las Vegas, which drastically helped my technical skills of producing.
What is your process for creating your music? Favorite genre you like to work with?
Trap and Dubstep are my favorite to produce, but I am also really great at producing future bass music as well. The creative process comes and goes, and sometimes you need to force it out or it won’t happen. When you grind through the difficult stuff, everything comes together. The beginning is always the hardest part. The most difficult part is creating something from nothing. I really like to use external synthesizers and MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) devices. Mine are composed of two pads and a keyboard. I make beats on a beat pad and I like to make them from scratch. I’ll make the drums and synthesizers with my MIDI beat pad. After that, I’ll quantize my sounds so that the notes will be in place, and everything will be on beat. Then, depending on the genre of music I am producing, I will make a bassline. Once I have the bassline I like, I’ll duplicate it and create variables of the sound that changes the structure, once I have multiple bass sounds I like, I’ll mold them into different parts of the song in an appealing rhythmic nature. It is a lot of trial and error. I really like to play with the physical instruments of electronic music. I heavily rely on my piano too, I have been playing piano since I was a kid.
What is the biggest challenge that you have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I have been producing more and spending more time on school and family. I dedicated an old bedroom in my house to a full on studio. It has allowed me to dedicate more time and sometimes produce later into the night more. Due to the pandemic, I’ve played only two shows in October and November this year. The lack of social gatherings has been my biggest challenge though. It stifles my motivation when it comes to producing music because I feel like I’m not connecting with people, and music is something I use to connect to people with. I greatly miss the raw energy of a reacting crowd. That reaction helps me solidify that I am doing what I should be doing.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the future? Do you ever want to create beats for other artists in other genres or musicians?
I want to be able to play a festival circuit. I just want people to be able to have the same joy in my music as I do. I want people to be able to feel the same emotions I did at my first EDM show. I want to hopefully play at EDC Las Vegas one day and bring it all back together and help people feel the way I did when I was in the crowd. To be a well rounded producer, you have to know how to produce different types of music, so it would only be beneficial to work with other creatives. Some might call that a sell out, but I think it would only be more helpful. I would like to also see success in between my friends and I. I would like to see success in every aspect of my life amongst my peers, and we all can grow together and prosper.