Sebastian Demian is the director of Dem Passwords, an oddly-named art gallery-cum-music venue that is dfficult to find. It's located beneath a West Hollywood hydroponics store, but it's not accessible from the street, so you have to enter through the alley. When I walked up recently, a small group of the most stereotypical hipsters I have ever seen were getting sauced in the parking area.
Along with Ethan Higbee -- who owns the spot -- Demian is at the center of a quite-exciting emerging scene at the north end of Fairfax. Dem Passwords hosts DIY music sets from artists like Andrew W.K., MTV Riff Raff, and LA Vampires, the latest project from Pocahaunted's Amanda Brown. You also might see rapper Lil B hanging out there, because Demian is his manager.
Well, "manager" is too square of a term for the new agey B, but Demian is the guy who handles his business and directs many of his videos. "B and I don't put any limitations on what's possible, we're really shooting for the stars," Demian says. "We're not bound by the traditional boundaries."
"He's very self-contained and smart," says Lil B of Demian. "He's super positive and uplifting, somebody like no other."
So many good vibes emit from Lil B and Demian that they threaten to knock you onto your coccyx. Right now the latter is stationed in Dem Passwords' tiny back office, holding a big bottle of Stella and a blunt. His long, wavy, light-brown hair is tucked into the back of his t-shirt, on which is depicted a red penis spurting semen. The penis was drawn by Lee "Scratch" Perry, the Jamaica-native who produced Bob Marley and pretty much invented reggae. Demian is Perry's North American tour manager and, along with Higbee, helped create a documentary about him called The Upsetter. They also worked on the Lil Wayne doc Tha Carter, which, if you ask me, is among the best hip-hop films ever.
Demian rattles off these projects in his affable way, as calm as one of those bubbling-water-with-stones plug-ins from Brookstone. Though he tends to ramble, it's almost impossible to disagree with the guy about anything; he'll always find common ground.
Still, the question remains: How did this 32-year-old dude who arrived to town ten years ago by way of Richmond and New York end up kinda sorta running things?