The musical duo of Aaron Katz and Callie Lipton, known as The Dejas, have made Salem their home over the last seven years and have contributed immensely to the enrichment of Salem’s music. The Dejas participation in hosting the ongoing Wednesday night “The Mix” Open Mic at Opus Underground, has helped foster a rich, diverse musical scene, and their work with Salem youth, encouraging young musical creativity, is recognized and appreciated by the town of Salem.
Their first album, “Speeding Softly,” brought the band both critical acclaim, airplay on The River, 92.5 FM, as well as licensing deals with CBS, MTV, TLC, the Discovery Channel and CW networks, among others. This year The Dejas have been nominated for Pop Act of the Year, by the New England Music Awards. (click here for link to vote, by March 1)
The Dejas have released a new EP, “Beauty Unraveled,” available by download online at their site on Bandcamp. It was recorded and mixed between October and December 2014 at newly constructed The Salem YMCA Music Studio, which is available for recording both by private individuals and is in use for a number of YMCA youth music programs. Andy Gerard recorded and co-produced the EP with Aaron, Callie and Kevin William Kline. Additional production and artwork was by Qwill.
“This EP is four songs of original Dejas material,” says Aaron,”the first product of ours since 2010. We’re excited to have this new forward motion…” Callie adds, “It’s a really Salem-centric project. The artwork, the engineer, the recording location all were in Salem so there was really a sense of community in that.”
Thematically, the new songs all come from a place of growth and transformation, struggle and renewal. Personally, both Katz and Lipton (who are musical but not personal partners) went through a process of embracing sobriety and a healthier lifestyle. “The overall theme,” Callie says,”is coming through hard times and getting to know yourself better, getting to see what’s beautiful in the world and getting to see the light, coming out of that. And that’s where the title came from, the beauty unraveled part of it. This EP is the most raw, vulnerable work we’ve made.”
The band opted to release the new material as an EP in order to work within their time and financial constraints and release what they considered their best work of the sessions – in other words, they didn’t put pressure on the project, but let the best material rise out of it.
The Dejas describe their music as melodic and ambient, and this “Beauty Unraveled” is vintage Dejas – awash with sophisticated, lush instrumentation, (Aaron Katz, vocals/drums/percussion/keyboards/acoustic guitar – Callie Lipton, vocals, acoustic guitar – Andy Gerard, bass/electric guitar/backing vocals, Kevin William Klein, guitars/bass/backing vocals – Matt Natti, didgeridoo – accordion- Richard La Essex, accordion – Jon Miller, backing vocals) that always sounds organic and lived in. Any of these songs could find regular rotation on The River. (92.5)The melodies are gorgeous, and Lipton’s gentle, sometimes ethereal voice draws the listener to an intimate place, where the songs’ emotions are keenly felt, perhaps no more so than on the EP’s closer, Rise Up. In it, The Dejas’ personal struggles transform into a universal message – which is what meaningful music is all about.
(c) The Dejas
To take these steps
to walk in the shoes
going the extra mile
to seek the truth
define your path
time will take its course
keep your head held high
rewards will greet you…
We’re gonna rise up
out of these hard times
we’re gonna see