"There is no place for us to go but up." So concluded Glnody, one of the 39 students of the Heaven's Gate religious cult, in an Earth Exit Statement penned shortly before the group made its mass "departure" in 1997. Following 22 years of studying in the "classroom here on planet Earth," the members of the UFO millenarian movement graduated to "The Evolutionary Level Above Human" by means of a lethal phenobarbital-and-applesauce cocktail with a vodka chaser.
Two decades later, the spirit of the cult lives on through Drab Majesty, a Los Angeles-based project dedicated to similar celestial pursuits. What began as a creative outlet for a drummer with a few extra songs quickly evolved into a religious experience of cosmic proportions, complete with an alien alter ego and legions of devoted followers.
"I find cults to be intriguing because they're the vision of one person," explains Deb Demure, the founder of the otherworldly outfit. "They're often eccentric people with a very interesting story." The same could be said for Drab Majesty and its creator, an androgynous extraterrestrial making its way through our planet in the form of a 6-foot-4-inch human body.
The body belongs to a man named Andrew Clinco, an L.A. native with a background in fine art and a penchant for the bizarre. After playing drums for multiple bands, he found himself longing for more colors in his sonic palette. In his search for artistic freedom, he soon learned that the songwriting process was ultimately beyond his control. "I'm able to translate these rudimentary ideas that come through," he explains, "but I still feel there's another working hand at play."
And thus Deb Demure was born. Feeling unworthy of taking "human credit" for the songs he "received," Clinco needed a way to separate himself from the divine being responsible for inspiring the music. The creation of Demure provided "a vessel to translate deeper sonic ideas," echoing the Heaven's Gate principle of the human body as a genderless vehicle.
Deb Demure is not just a name, though. The asexual alien serves as an ambassador to its earthly creator's hometown, a place both "drab" and "majestic in size." In its first incarnation, Demure paid homage to the Unarius Academy of Science, a Los Angeles collective designed to advance a new "interdimensional science of life." The aptly-titled Unarian Dances album introduced Drab Majesty to the world with four songs of bedroom synth-pop honoring the UFO organization's colorful legacy of flying saucers and bejeweled space goddesses. (Do yourself a favor and search "Unarius" on YouTube.)
A few years later, the stars aligned. Demure's early sonic transmissions caught the attention of Dais Records, an independent label at the head of the experimental music class. Home to artists like Psychic TV – whose founder, Genesis P-Orridge, laid the fundament for gender-bending decades before Demure's arrival – and Cold Cave, a likeminded synth-pop project, Dais and Drab Majesty were a match made in heaven.
In 2015, the label released Drab Majesty's debut full-length, Careless. Blending the familiar sounds of the '80s with a touch of the supernatural, the eight-song masterpiece offered something for everyone. The album became an immediate classic, gaining Demure a cult following among old goths and fledgling freaks alike. For a moment, Drab Majesty was on top of the underworld.
Then came Mona. Formerly known as Alex Nicolaou, the second member of Drab Majesty became Demure's "Space Brother" after the two met and immediately bonded in 2014. Without hesitation, the Los Angeles DJ accepted Demure's invitation to join the project for a European tour. Mona's addition of synth and vocal complements to Demure's original compositions took their live shows to the next level, and the two have since embarked on multiple worldwide tours.
Since first meeting Mona, Demure has released yet another immaculate album of transcendental songs under the Drab Majesty banner. Titled The Demonstration, the project's second full-length through Dais is rich with references to the Heaven's Gate cult, with tracks like "39 by Design" and "Forget Tomorrow" pointing directly back to Marshall Applewhite and his crew of diehard believers. While you may not be ready to leave this world just yet, Drab Majesty is here to help you leave yourself. Join them on Tuesday at the Social for an out-of-this-world experience as they open for Deafheaven.