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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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DENM Just Wants to Make the World Feel Good
Friday, April 05, 2019

Throughout the day a lot of things can irritate us – overflowing inboxes, annoying bosses, long lines when we’re in a hurry – but Huntington Beach-based artist DENM has an important message to help get us through even our toughest of days – “Life’s too short to stress out.”

The reminder to enjoy life, and live with no regret, comes directly from DENM’s latest single, “Life’s Too Short,” and with its breezy flow, and warm musical vibe, the song is a perfect summer pick-me-up.

Wanting to know more about the song, and the man who made it, I caught up with DENM to find out about what used to stress him out, how well he takes his own advice, and the story behind the incredibly fun video for the song.

Let’s start by talking about your new single, “Life’s Too Short.” In it, you sing, “Life’s too short to stress out,” but from what I’ve read you were actually stressing out quite a bit at one point, even considering quitting music. What led you – while you were collaborating on tracks with major pop artists, and producing for a number of bands – to feel so uninspired to continue in music?

I think it just had to do with where I was at in life. Having moved from Isla Vista to Huntington Beach, I had nothing down here, (not even) any friends. In Isla Vista I had friends, a studio, clients, and a touring band. We were just kids doing what we loved, but when I moved, the band stopped touring, I didn’t have a studio, and my music seemed like it wasn’t going anywhere. Like no matter how many songs I made, I felt like I couldn’t make a good one, and all my savings from producing, and touring, and what not, began to dwindle down.

When we moved I applied for warehouse spaces like 40 times, and got denied, so I couldn’t even build a real studio. We basically got super broke – like had to borrow money just to stay alive – so I was just trying to keep my head above water, and do like random remixes, or produce songs for others, or myself, that I didn’t even believe in really, but they would help us stay afloat for a month.

As an artist, feeling like I was making music strictly for other people, and not being able to make music I truly wanted to make, took a toll on me. I was sorta forced into making music I didn’t even like, and it became soul sucking for me. It was like I was just chasing a check. I got kids, man. This ain’t just a hobby for me.

Me and my girl had our first kid when we were in college. Well, she was in college, I never went {laughs}, but we were college-aged, so from the beginning it was necessary for me to get paid. If music wasn’t gonna be cutting it, I’d work at Walmart, or whatever, but I was put on this earth to make music. I’m really really good at it. I live and breathe music, but my music wasn’t making money, cuz I was stuck mentally, and creatively.

It was a really low point for me. I was drinking way too much, basically just numbing myself from the fact that my whole world was falling apart. I felt so sad that all these years of hard work were about to be for nothing. It seemed like it was all just coming to an end.

My depression that I’ve dealt with my whole life had started creeping back in, and (it was) getting really hard for me to see any hope in the situation. I just felt worthless. I couldn’t succeed at the one thing I was good at, plus I’m not even qualified to do anything else.

I got kicked out of every school I went to, I failed nearly every class, and got fired from every job. I just didn’t fit anywhere else, so I felt brokenhearted cuz my dream was dying and life was caving in on me. The stress of past pains and present failures were drowning out my voice.

I sat with my guitar, cuz that’s all I knew how to do. I just began playing some chords that made me feel something, and started singing a melody – “If all we are, is all we get, then imma live with no regret.” (I was) like, man, if I actually am all I get, like I get nothing else other than me, then I better learn how to accept myself for being just me, and not for what I can accomplish.

I’d felt like I would only be loved or accepted based off of what I could do, not just for who I was, and I’m still on that journey, but it began this whole paradigm shift inside of me. It began the journey that I’m on now of learning how to love myself.

Once you’d written the song, did a huge rush of creativity follow?

Honestly, yeah. I wrote like 8 songs that month, 3 of which are on my record, which is a pretty crazy ratio for me. {laughs}

I’ve been writing this album for over a year now, and 3 of the songs came from one week of writing. That’s nuts.

When it comes to the lyrics of “Life’s Too Short,” how difficult did you initially find it to take your own advice?

I still find it pretty difficult. {laughs}

I was talkin’ to my best friend about this on the way to the studio this morning, like, man, I sing this song about not being stressed and everyone prolly thinks I’m just some happy go lucky guy, but honestly I’m just preaching at myself cuz I’m stressin’ out all the time.

I’m dealing with all this internal healing right now. I stopped drinking to deal with a lot of the trauma from my past, and just getting my heart and mind healthy, cuz I wanna be able to sustain my career and my marriage and my family. I don’t want it all to fall apart cuz of fame, or something stupid, so I’m dealing with my shit now, before it all takes off, and it can be real stressful, so I’m listening to my own music to get me in the right head space.

When you sing, “I’ma live with no regret,” it seems like an epiphany, of sorts. Was there a time you dwelled on regret, and if so, how did you eventually come to move past that mentality?

I’ve done a lot of really bad stuff in my life, and had some pretty shitty stuff done to me along the way, as well, but just how I grew up, the violence at home, and finding family elsewhere, and the culture that came with it … there are some years I literally only remember little blurry things. The drug use and the violence got pretty out of hand.

In high school I basically ended up kicked out of every house I lived in, and every school I went to.

I went through 3 rehabs and lived in a halfway home run by a church by the time I was 17. That’s when I began to try and straighten out, but there was so much I had suppressed, and just tried to move on from, I found myself getting really angry, or something would randomly trigger me and I’d feel like I wanted to die, and I was so upset and alone and unloved – all things I felt when I was younger.

Basically, I started using drinking as a tool to avoid all the horrible things I felt, and it only got worse, so I decided to make a much needed change. Now I’m just dealing with it, cuz I don’t wanna live with regret. I don’t wanna live in anger. I wanna have my heart feel free. I want to love deeply, and without any insecurity. I want to feel loved, cuz I know there’s people that really love me, so I want to learn how to love myself, so I can really accept their love, too – like I’m worth being loved.

There’s my family and friends that I love dearly, and I want to be better for them, so I’m doing it. I’m getting better. Living with no regret.

In the video it looks like everyone is having a blast. How did it all come together? Were you just like, “Let’s kick it in the yard with the skate ramp”?

That’s literally how it happened {laughs}, just me and my friends doing what we do sometimes.

We don’t all get to kick it as much as we’d like, cuz I’m doing music all the time, and everyone got their own hustles they’re trying to do to get by, so I was like, “Yo, you wanna go skate at Eli’s, and just bbq and drink some beers? We’ll just be ourselves and film it,” and basically everyone was like, “Uuuhhhh, yeah let’s do it.”

The funny thing is, we had a bunch more people who planned to come, but cancelled last minute. Everybody bailed but my best friends, so there was really nothing fake about it – no hired extras, no big party, literally just me and my friends skating, playing music, drinking beer, and eating tacos. And it came out dope! 

“Life’s Too Short” is the first of four singles you’re going to be releasing from your upcoming album, which is due out this summer. What can you tell us about the project? Is it all a similar vibe?

Sorta similar, sorta different. They all have this very ‘90s SoCal, West Coast aesthetic to them. Maybe not sonically, but the overall feeling of what it was, like what bands like Sublime, and No Doubt, and Sugar Ray were doing back in the day. Just good vibes and party music. Music you wanna play during a BBQ, or a day party, or at the beach.

I just wanted to capture the essence of how I grew up in San Diego in the ‘90s and 2000s.

Overall, I just wanna make the world feel good. I just wanna be happy, and have a good time. Life is a gift.

If you could set up a tour with any artist, or band, who would you want on the bill with you (and why)?

I don’t know if it’d be a good fit, since I’m not really a rapper, but I think (touring with) Post Malone would be pretty lit {laughs}. Who doesn’t wanna play arenas?

I’m excited to see who responds to the music, where my fan base is, and sorta base my touring off of that. Hopefully some superstars dig the tunes and wanna bring me on tour, and then I’ll eventually get to do my own headline shows! That’s what I’m really hyped about.

I feel at home on stage. I’m ready to put on unforgettable shows for people. I wanna party with the whole world, and make them feel good. 

For more DENM, check out iamdenm.com, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:00 AM  
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