We had the good fortune of connecting with Dimitris Menexopoulos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dimitris, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I didn’t really begin with a concrete business plan. The main thing that I had in mind since day one was that I passionately wanted to become a first-rate professional musician, no matter how hard I had to try. So, from the age of 16, I have been constantly exploring, composing, recording, and later, releasing music. I play most of the instruments in my works myself and I am in complete charge of their production. I believe these are key elements in developing a personal sonic identity, even though it takes much time to learn how to do them properly. My first album came out in 2014 and other major releases followed in 2017, 2019 and 2020 respectively. I am continuously updating my ideas and expanding my skills. I also try to collaborate as much as possible. I cannot stretch enough how important it is to collaborate nowadays! Especially since Covid-19 struck, around 75% of my work comes from remote collaborative projects, like games, films, virtual fashion shows and so on. In the end, I believe the occupation becomes a business when you can see a horizon of professional projects arriving and are able to plan ahead. Everything that I mentioned, among other factors, contributed to my being able to call what I do a business. It has happened gradualy through the years and it is a process that constantly evolves.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
As I grow older, it is being made increasingly clear to me that the most valuable asset any type of creator has is original ideas. So, I always try to let mine rise to the surface regardless of whether they seem to be complete of not at the stage of conception. This was the reason I refused to take formal music lessons during my childhood and teenage years and decided to experiment with Music and Sound all by myself. I took full ownership of my learning path during this early chapter of my life, both technically and conceptually and this contributed significantly towards the development of my artistic identity, which is ultimately what I believe sets me apart. Because I wanted to work at the intersection of Music, Science and Technology, there were things that I couldn’t do by myself while I was still living in my hometown of Thessaloniki in Greece, because I didn’t have access to advanced equipment and other music professionals with a similar mindset. This led to the decision to pursue studies on Electronic Production and Design at Berklee College of Music in Boston, as I could keep my musicianship uninfluenced by conservatory dogmas while surrounding myself with state-of-the-art technology and top-notch musicians. This is exactly what I received from this program and some of my most trusted collaborators and friends I met during this phase. After, finishing this academic study cycle, I moved to London to work as a freelance audio creative and pursue postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Art. There, I finished an MA program called Information Experience Design, following the Sound Design pathway. This was also a very important decision that aided my professional growth, because I enriched my practice with a data-driven skillset and expanded my network with non-musician artists and designers. This also opened up a lot of new collaboration routes that are flourishing. Of course, this whole path was not linear and there were many difficulties along the way. Especially in the beginning, it takes a long time to establish a steady project flow as a freelancer of any kind. My case was not an exception. During my Berklee years, I was working three jobs alongside having financial aid from my scholarship and my family. And there were times when this took its toll on me psychologically. Nevertheless, I kept pushing and as my practice and my network matured overtime, the work flow became steadier and now I have the ability to land some high-profile gigs and plan ahead. The most important lesson I learnt from this is that success goes beyond talent and hard work and that in many cases, it takes a long time for certain decisions and actions to show their true value. Through my work, I try to communicate the importance of time and constant evolution in life. This is why, if by engaging with my musical and sonic creations, a listener finds inspiration towards progressing in their life in any positive way, I am convinced that my investment in the creative audio profession was the right choice.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve been based in three different cities in the last 5 or so years, the current one being London, so I will answer it in mind. As you surely know, London is an inexhaustible place and it would take forever to fully explore it, but surely I have certain favorite spots. As a museum lover, I would definitely take my best friend to the National Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum and Tate Modern among many others. Additionally, London’s theatre culture is among the most developed in world, spanning many genres and having a large global audience. I would recommend checking the performance schedules of the Royal National Theatre and Sadler’s Wells Theatre among others. Regarding eating delicious food accompanied by a nice walk, I would recommend the famous Borough Market near London Bridge. There, one can find high quality goods from all over the world and grab a bite on the fly, being surrounded by a picturesque setting. As for drinks, there are amazing hidden speakeasies around the city, which I will not reveal because discovering them is part of the experience. Lastly, as a fan of the Goth subculture, I would recommend spending a night at the historic Slimelight, the oldest running dark scene nightclub globally, situated in Angel. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
If it weren’t for the influence and support of certain people, things would be very different for me professionally. Let’s begin with musical influences. It was the work of the mid-70s electronic Music pioneers, such as Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre and Klaus Schulze that deeply inspired me in the beginning and this inspiration remains as alive as ever. Then, I have to recognize the positive impact of certain mentors that I met during my studies, like Dr. Costas Papazachos, Matthew Davidson (a.k.a. Stretta), Dr. Richard Boulanger, Jean – Luc Sinclair and Dr. Dylan Yamada Rice among others. They all gave me advice that proves valuable in every important career and life decision that I need to take. Then finally, I of course have to thank my family and close friends for their crucial aid in every step of the professional and personal growth process. They have been critical evaluators, emotional and even financial supporters in all areas of my activity, especially in the very beginning, when it was most needed.
Personal Photo by Rob Chang Chien Additional Photos by: 1) Greg Blazewicz 2) Alex Kantoros 3) Still from “New Dawn” live-stream concert 4) Alex Kantoros