Growing up in a dysfunctional home in Minneapolis, there were two things Joshua Turner turned to for comfort: the records he’d listen to on a loop and the atlas he’d pore over to pretend he was anywhere else. Turner’s all grown up now, but his sources of childhood refuge continue to play an integral role in his life. Under the name deM atlaS, he composes emotionally complex hip-hop records aimed at listeners who are in need of some sonic solace of their own. His recent debut, Bad Actress, represents the culmination of the twisting creative path Turner's been patiently following since his teens. He was a poet, a painter, and the front man for a rock band before he found his space in Minneapolis’ prolific rap scene.
The title, Bad Actress, came from Turner’s inability to hide his true feelings, and he packed the album with unguarded emotions centered around a lifetime of unhealthy relationships, struggles with mental illness, and an indomitable drive to overcome them. From the grime-caked Ant-produced beats, to the confessional lyrics, to the supercharged guitars laced throughout, Bad Actress is deeply rooted in Minneapolis’ singular hip-hop scene, where boom-bap never went out of style and raw honesty still beats flashy materialism. Turner’s soulful singing voice, and his ability to navigate from the acidic funk to acoustic balladry to minimalist gospel, make it clear that he’s one of the young talents who’s going to author the next chapter in the city’s storied musical history.
Following the release of Bad Actress, deM atlaS toured extensively with labelmates—and indie hip-hop stalwarts—Atmosphere, quickly building a reputation of his own as a must-see live performer. Their time together on the road led to the recording of a new collaborative song, "Bad Days Are Over", released in 2019. In contrast to his melancholic Bad Actress, the new track revealed an optimistic side to deM, as he reflected on his own growth, opportunities and experiences. “I really appreciate it and I don’t take it for granted," deM said of his exposure before adding, "because all of this could be gone tomorrow." deM atlaS remains humble as the buzz around him continues to grow.
Ahead of their two sold-out home shows at The Palace Theater, Atmosphere just released a brand new video for "Drown" (featuring Cashinova, The Lioness and deM atlaS). Directed by Tomas Aksamit.