With the release of his genre-hopping debut album, Slum Beach Denny, it’s time to add DENM to the storied list of Southern California’s musical ambassadors. And like his most recent predecessors- Slightly Stoopid and Sublime- the twenty-something musician, songwriter, and producer drops plenty of hazy daze optimism into his melting pot of youth culture and life experience, emerging with a 21st century soundtrack from SoCal’s sun-kissed sand, surf, and streets. “It might look overnight to some people,” says DENM, “but I’ve been working.”
Working, first as a producer, most recently as a songwriter and musician, DENM has been a highly sought-after creative force in the indie music scene for over a decade. He’s evolved, thankfully and successfully, from years as an admittedly troubled teen bouncing from beach town to beach town. And, as much as itinerant residencies in San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Isla Vista marked his personal narrative, they also fostered deeply authentic and eclectic sources of inspiration for the budding artist.
DENM taught himself guitar at 14, studying Jimmy Page on Led Zeppelin II, replicating every lick on his Alvarez acoustic- “the sickest present ever” from his mother. He devoured YouTube videos on production techniques and, in 2017, found kindred spirits in the Rock Mafia duo of producers, Tim James and Antonina Armato. He constantly grinded out new material, trusted constructive feedback from Rock Mafia, and chose positive vibes as motivation. “Instead of trying to prove people wrong, I want to make sure that the people that believed in me are right.”
Utilizing his “ghetto set-up,” recording wherever the muse took him, DENM began crafting his own repertoire. He built a personal studio- in a shipping container, no less- in Costa Mesa, Calif., where he assembled his raw tracks. Then, in Los Angeles with Rock Mafia, he polished his prospective cuts into gems. DENM’s songs were notably genuine and reflective, not just autobiographically, but of the multicultural influences that surrounded him; revealing, if not celebrating, the seedier side of SoCal. They also attracted a host of admiring peers; Dirty Heads’ Jared Watson, for one, guested on the album’s lead single, the reggae/punk cruiser “Califas.”
A devotedly independent artist, DENM signed with Ineffable Records in 2020; a strategic partnership that enables Slum Beach Denny to reach his ever-widening audience. For DENM, this first record is an immense source of pride; his coming-of-age moment. “Everything was fully realized: the vision; the mission. I wanted to make a soundtrack of life that everyone can experience: falling in love; good times; hard times; a little bit of everything.”
And it’s just the beginning.
“Expect more out of me. I’m going to write about my life. I’m going to write about make-believe. Whatever. We’re just getting started. Slum Beach Denny is album one,” says DENM. “I’m living every day. There’s inspiration everywhere. I’m expecting to do this for the rest of my life.”