A GoPride Interview

Jason and deMarco

Jason and deMarco interview with ChicagoPride.com

Sat. July 15, 2006  by ChicagoPride.com

Jason and deMarco
photo credit // jerry avenaim, jasonanddemarco.com
Out and Christian artists Jason and DeMarco's passion for their purpose and refreshing exuberance toward their craft create a high-impact music experience that will surely make a difference in the lives of all who experience it.

The romantically-linked duo will perform at the Gay Games Closing Ceremonies at Wrigley Field on Saturday, June 22, 2006.

Before their Gay Games performance, we wanted to get to know more about the Los Angeles-based musicians.

CP: What have you experiences been like on the tour so far? How have your performances been, and have you has some spare time to enjoy the places you’ve stopped in?

JdM: (Jason) We believe we're here to usher in a new movement. I've always said Martin Luther King could have never done what he did if he hadn't been an African American. I believe that we could never have the impact that we have if we hadn't been born gay and become 'ok' with being so. People have to get over their prejudices and realize that we are all part of ONE HUMAN FAMILY. We need one another. Unfortunately, it takes tragedies and devastation for humans to wake up and realize this. Through our music, and our life, we hope we can help people understand that you don't have to agree with us, or even support our beliefs, but you can respect us as a fellow human being.

JdM: (deMarco) We've had the opportunity to travel the U.S. and Canada and take this message through our music. Unfortunately, we're in and out of cities so quickly, we don't have a lot of time to enjoy the cities we visit, but we try to make exceptions every now and then. Our favorite part about what we do is getting to meet so many amazing people in our travels.

We have friends all over the country.

CP: What have been fans' reactions to the latest album?

JdM: (Jason) "Till the End of Time" has been the most intense album we've ever recorded. It's taken a year and a half to complete. It's our first album now available in-stores Nationally and on-line. It's our fourth album together, and between the two of us, it's the 10th album we've recorded as artists. It's taken a lot longer to complete than we ever expected, but it's because it kept getting 'bigger and bigger'.

JdM: (deMarco) The album is produced by Alan Lett, with additional production from Grammy and Dove Award winning producer, Joe Hogue (LeAnn Rimes, Michael W. Smith, Carmen), Rhys Fulber (Sinead O'Connor, Josh Groban, Conjure One), and Eddie X and Luigie Gonzalez pda L.E.X. While we wrote seven of the album's twelve songs, additional writing credits on the disc include the two-time Academy Award, Grammy and Golden Globe nominee songwriter, Allan Rich, who has penned hits for artists including Whitney Houston, Backstreet Boys, and Patti LaBelle. "Our new music is romantic rock pop with big vocals and lots of harmonies."

JdM: (Jason) "We definitely feel this new album is taking us to new places musically and artistically". This album focuses on the emotional landscapes of life - most of the songs written from personal experiences about the ups and downs we've faced in our relationships. We feel it's much edgier than our previous work and believe it's the best we've done yet. It's a new sound - but still very much "Jason & deMarco" because of the vocals.

JdM: (deMarco) Our producer, Alan Lett, has an amazing heart and you can hear it all over this album. His sound was very refreshing and real, not over-produced, acoustic and raw yet still commercial enough for radio. He didn't use digital samples to try and sound like real instruments in his arranging, instead he recorded live drums, bass and guitars and filled in the gaps with really cool samples. And our vocals never got lost in the music. The vocals always got the spotlight in his arranging and naturally, Jason and I gravitated to that. It was almost like he wrapped the music around the vocal melody in his songs. Pop music is very of-the-moment. When you work on album, you need to be one step ahead of what America is listening to at the moment.

JdM: (Jason) Our fans are 'getting' us and the direction we are taking with this new album, and that makes all the hard work worth it.

CP: I’m sure, with your music having many different influences (Christian, gay, and so on), your fan base is also quite varied.

It must be great to meet your fans – have you had any memorable experiences when it comes to speaking with and meeting them?

JdM: (deMarco) We love meeting our fans - and their stories continue to remind us of why we do what we do. When we have teens coming up to us, telling us they were considering suicide until they heard about us and went to our site and read our story, it means more than words can say. We get countless emails from people telling us that through our music and story, they have hope.

CP: How has working together, touring together and performing together affected your relationship? How do you make it work?

JdM: (deMarco) Yes, working with my partner is very challenging. We’ve been together five years now and we’ve gone through a lot together. We’ve had many tests and haven’t always passed with flying colors. We’ve hurt each other, but we’ve also loved the other through those times and forgiven. We’ve learned so much about ourselves and our love has grown deeper and stronger because of it.

JdM: (Jason) That's the hardest part of what we do; trying to keep balance between our personal relationship and our business relationship. When we argue, it's mostly over important carreer decisions and sometimes it takes its toll on our relationship. There is always a new obstacle to overcome every day. It’s not like we leave and go to separate jobs everyday and then come home to each other at night. We're always together.

JdM: (deMarco) Our life is definitely never boring. I think the most important thing is that we must have fun. We must work hard but never take life too seriously or it'll kill you.

Regarding our relationship, we're stuck together, so we work to put our difference behind us and move on as quickly as possible.

We'd be miserable otherwise.

CP: Some people may have a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that you’re both openly gay and openly Christian. With Jason coming from a Pentecostal background, what would you say to people who may not be able to comprehend a harmonious relationship between these two facets of your life?

JdM: (Jason) Most people email me questions – trying to understand "HOW" we can believe what we believe. On our spiritual website www.spiritpop.com, I have an entire section devoted to being RECONCILED. It goes in-depth to my experience, why I believe what I believe, discussion of the bible and the passages used against GLBT people. I list many resources for people to search out. I think the main reason we don’t receive a lot of backlash is because we don’t put out hatred. We never claim to have "THE" answer or know "THE" truth. We simply say we can agree to disagree, but do so in love and compassion.

JdM: (deMarco) It seems that we’re trying to make a career in an area that's uncharted. The gay community doesn’t know what to do with us because we’re spiritual. The spiritual community doesn’t know what to do with us because we’re gay. Much of the gay community doesn't want to come hear us sing in a church but if we take our music to them in night clubs, some of our following from the community of faith disapproves because to them it means that we're endorsing drug and alcohol abuse and promiscuity. People need to chill!

We just want to 'be' and quit all the labels! We believe we can reach all people with our music. We've been held in a box for too long and we refuse to be put into another one. People need to learn to think outside of the box. There's no reason why we shouldn't be able to continue singing to our following in the community of faith while singing our dance remixes in night clubs to promote our mainstream romantic rock-pop albums. There will always be people and places that don't understand us, but most do, and these are the places we want to sing and the kind of open-minded and big-hearted people we want at our shows.

CP: How does your spirituality affect your music?

JdM: (Jason) It's interesting, because although we are Christian in faith, we are not "Christian" artists and our music isn’t Christian music. Personally, I feel almost all music has some element of spirituality. They say, "Music is the window to the soul." However, our new album is not a spiritual cd, at least it wasn’t meant to be. Something we have found very interesting is that people can interpret a song in many different ways, and even though the songs on the new album were written completely on a personal experiences, some people still interpret the song spiritually, and we believe its because of the misconception that we are "Christian" singers. It’s almost as though people feel like they have to listen to it that way. This new album will hopefully help us break free from the "Christian Music" stereotype.

CP: What is your process for songwriting? Do you feel a bigger attachment to songs that you’ve written yourself?

JdM: (deMarco) I think it depends on a song. You typically have an affinity for a song you write - because you've written it from a personal place. However, there are a few songs on our album that we didn't write, and they are favorites.

JdM: (Jason) We typically don't write much together. If we do, I tend to write more lyrics and deMarco is better with music. The story behind our first single, "Trying to Get to You," is really interesting. I wrote the majority of the lyrics on this song, but was stuck in several places. deMarco had begun writing another song with a similar theme to that which I was writing, but it just wasn’t working for him either, so we got together and used some of the verses from his song and rewrote them into my version and "Trying to Get to You" was born. deMarco wrote the music for the pre-chorus, which is probably our favorite part of the song since it tied the verses to the chorus so nicely.

CP: What have been some of the biggest highlights of your career so far?

JdM: (Jason) That's a tough question. We've had so many amazing experiences over four years of touring. Performing at the HRC Gala for Ang Lee was pretty awesome. We've also performed for KD Lang, and we have been part of events for wonderful organizations such as The Mathew Shepard Foundation and The Trevor Project.

Being chosen to be on "Love Rocks", the HRC's compilation CD to raise funds and awareness of Marriage Equality was also a huge honor.

We were alongside some amazing artists.

CP: Where do you see yourselves going – both artistically and career-wise – in the coming years?

JdM: (deMarco) I imagine we'll be touring less, but in bigger venues, singing to tens of thousands of people, raising a family, and playing life full, as always.

JdM: (Jason) Our primary future goal is to hopefully start touring with a headline artist in the music industry. This will allow us to get our names 'out there' and introduce us and our music to a new audience. Our schedule has been pretty crazy over the past four years touring, so my hope is that we can do short term tours - and then take some time off to enjoy each other as 'boyfriends' and begin a family. We also have visions of working to develop a Center for Youth who have been abandoned and rejected because of their sexuality. As we travel, we are finding many who want to be a part of this dream, and it becomes more obvious with every city that we visit that something like this is necessary. So many of our youth have no where to turn. We want to use our music as a tool to raise awareness of many of these issues, and create solutions. The music is great, but there's a much bigger purpose to everything we are doing.

CP: What’s something that people might not know about you from reading your website or listening to your music?

JdM: There's not much to hide - what you see is what you get. Our life is a pretty open book.

For tickets to see Jason and deMarco and more entertainers and legends at the Gay Games Closing Ceremonies, visit http://tickets.gaygameschicago.org

Interviewed by ChicagoPride.com