By Damla Bek
Demitri Kesoglides, more commonly known as DJ Sanity, is a Baruch College alumnus making a name in the realm of electronic dance music (EDM).
EDM refers to both the genre and its offshoot culture. The music tends to consist of bass-heavy dance tracks whereas the culture is more concerned with unity in hedonism. In that vein, EDM is a self-indulgent group experience.
EDM also branches off into a seemingly infinite number of subgenres, each of which is a world unto its own. This is not unusual within a culture that, by necessity, celebrates individuality and self-expression.
Sanity began his venture into DJing five years ago. Now 24, he has accumulated a sizeable following. Much to the delight of his fan base, he released his first EP, A Train is Coming, on Jan. 22.
The two standout tracks on the album are “Zession” and “Homesick.” The former is the kind of song you might find at the apex of a particularly high-powered action flick. It is an intense, twisted, out-of-body trip, and Sanity builds and breaks the tension as he pleases. The latter is collaboration with his brother and Baruch junior Kristopher Kesoglides. This track is odic, a sure-fire hit that will get the crowd pumped up and moving. Where “Zession” allows the listener become lost in the serpentine beat, “Homesick” is a feel-good homage to the intimacy that EDM evokes.
Also of note is “Wash Yo Ass [Sanitize].” Both the original and the Kapo remix are fun, energized songs that essentially emphasize the importance of personal hygiene. The video, released in December of 2013, stars the younger Kesoglides as the self-proclaimed “ratchet bread man” scrubbing filth off offensive parties. Sanity knows how to keep it light while still keeping it real.
Sanity recently announced that he would be making his official record label debut this spring. This EP, to be titled Homesick, will be a fresh take on A Train is Coming and will feature both the original as well as the revamped versions of “Homesick” and “Zession.” The album will be available via all the major distributors, including iTunes and Spotify.
On what will be known as “Zession (Life Lessons),” Sanity enlisted president of Baruch’s New York Music Industry Association Alessandra Licul and rapper Matt Eclectic to provide vocal work. The lyrics, provided by the respective artists, push the overarching idea that “what doesn’t kill you makes you vengeful.” He showcased this track to an ecstatic crowd when he returned to Baruch on Thursday, March 12, to DJ Women in Business’ fifth annual fashion show, Style Your Success.
All throughout the night, he kept it high-energy, playing infectious, poppy mixes as the models walked down the runway. And then, in an impressive display of collaborative musicking, Sanity, Licul and Kristopher performed “Zession (Life Lessons)” and “Homesick.”
Sanity was beaming as his two partners in crime brought his track to life on the runway-turned-stage. He went on to thank them post-performance, insisting that Licul crushed the vocals and that his brother’s guitar work gave him chills the first time he heard it. If the crowd’s reaction was any indication, the new EP will kill upon release.
Sanity is a Baruch success story in the making. After he graduated with a B.A. in management of musical enterprises, he received his master’s degree in music business from New York University. His strong academic background is but a reflection of his dedication.
“Baruch is my home. I want Baruch students to see that you can balance your passion and your education,” he shared. Sanity is knowledgeable about the technical aspects of his trade—that is a given—but he also puts his heart into what he does.
Timing is another important aspect of Sanity’s success, as he began his foray into DJing just as EDM began gaining traction. Nonetheless, he remains cautiously optimistic about the direction EDM is moving in.
“[Electronic music] still has to grow as a genre,” said Sanity thoughtfully. “People are still feeling it out. But right now, that’s a good dilemma to have. With mainstream initiation always comes a negative side.” In five years, he hopes to see EDM level off into consistency and maturity.
Sanity is a self-made man. He possesses a keen business mind, one that pushes him to promote his personal brand. He is inked up with matching star tattoos on his forearms, his emblem of choice. He wears his heart on his sleeve and his logo on his snapback.
Gesticulating passionately and using endearingly goofy-yet-accurate sound effects, Sanity offered his advice to aspiring musicians with a genuineness that is all too rare in the circuit.
“It’s okay to have an ego, but don’t ever have a superiority complex,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself where it inspires other people. Share your story.”