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MELT with THE DEMIX at Quarters

If THE DEMIX is all over the place musically, his sprawling breadth of taste has benefitted the variety of sounds accessible amid Milwaukee’s nightlife. As the man otherwise known as Paul Demix says, “I don’t see my music, original or as a DJ, to be specific to any one genre or style. At the end of the day, I hope to present something that sounds unique and original, that oftentimes sounds like it’s going to tear your face off.” 

The sonic catholicity of his creations extends to his intuition as the curator of MELT (short for Milwaukee Electronic & Experimental Music), the concert series and umbrella for other shows Demix has presented over the past 11 years. The next MELT showcase—the first since COVID—comes to Quarters Rock and Roll Palace (900 E. Center St.) at 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26. Demix will be playing alongside adoptahighway, Liquid City Motors, and ~~ (tildetilde). 

“We have to go back to ‘the before times,’” Demix recollects of pre-coronaviral days as to MELT’s hiatus. “It was January 2020 for the MELT nine-year anniversary show. Then COVID happened.” Of summer 2021 dates he booked at Quarters and Cudahy’s X-Ray Arcade, he recalls, “They were great but for me I found I wasn’t completely comfortable in rooms full of people just yet—or being the one bringing a crowd together. So, MELT was always going to come back. It was just a matter of when I felt ready, and I am.” 

As for the series’ future. Demix isn’t writing anything in stone. “I’ve learned not to make predictions, but, at the moment, the plan is to do MELT the fourth Saturday of the month at Quarters; and we’ll see how long of run we do.” MELT has, however, already done plenty in Milwaukee for the broad swath of styles intersecting under its tent, from dance club genres and jazz to industrial noise and classical, to Demix’s reckoning. 

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Building Unity

“I like to think MELT, the event itself, has helped build some unity and new relationships here. MELT is definitely about bringing music together,” he declares. Strange as MELT’s sonic smorgasbord maybe to ears accustomed to more conventional sounds Demix’s way about unifying his fellow artistic outliers is derived in part by his work history in sectors of the mainstream music business. 

“At the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra I sold tickets, then did data entry, web design and some IT stuff; that’s when I developed an appreciation for classical music and started experimenting as a DJ and sample/noise artist and started using the name THE DEMIX. At Maverick, Madonna’s label, I did general office assistant work while it was starting to fold under the rise of iTunes and streaming, At the Pabst/Riverside/Turner (Hall Ballroom), I ran the website and email list for about five years and did graphic design,” Demix shares the points in his CV that have prepared him for the responsibilities of MELT. 

“Look, MELT is a small DIY operation,” he emphasizes. “My approach has been to be pro and treat people fairly and with respect, and I think that’s part of why people want to play MELT. 

“I wanted to provide a space for people like me to do their thing,” he offers of the motivation for initiating MELT as an avenue for other musicians refusing to fit themselves into preconceived pigeonholes. “Looking forward to bringing MELT back as a monthly and I am thankful for everyone that has ever played. I’m just a conduit, and MELT is MELT because of incredible talent we have around us. I am grateful that anyone is listening.” 

THE DEMIX’s latest single from earlier this year is this exploration of the lengthy confinements to darkness experienced by truck drivers, astronauts, pilots, intense practitioners of some forms of meditation and, per its title, the incarcerated. Here’s “Prisoner’s Cinema”…

Nov. 25, 2022

10:23 a.m.

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