Teddy DeMask is a 21 year old from Batavia, Illinois who currently attends Columbia College in Chicago. Initially getting into photography around the age of 15 creating the natural bridge into videography. Currently focusing on building up his media company Modern Spaceman and branding himself, Teddy is one of the most promising creatives in the Chicago scene.
****All photos and videos included in this article are shot and edited by Teddy DeMask****
HM : How did you get into videography? TD : "It was senior year, I was graduating early and I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. Every day my mind was racing and I was trying to figure out what I could do with my time. I had people around me that were succeeding. I saw my friend succeeding in the acting business and I was just a high school kid next to this, but I wanted to get a piece of my own success.
So we started the Modern Spaceman, we did a magazine at first, but it was kind of sloppy, young kid shit. I had homies come through and film events for the mag. The first event we worked on was the Playboy Carti concert at the Portage Theater. That was the first Lyrical Lemonade show I ever went to which was super inspiring. I plugged my friends to film and I came to realize that I too should be filming. So that motivated me to pick up the camera. Eventually we dropped the magazine aspect and just went full blown production company.
I think it was more so just being around the music industry to where it was either someone else does it for me or I just learn it myself. You know the saying, if you want something done right, do it yourself. I had been taking pictures for a long time at that point, just never did video. That's what kicked it off, my homie handed me the camera at Playboi Carti and that was the first concert video I ever took. It was in the photo pit at Carti and I was immediately like, I can get used to this."
HM : Who influenced you creatively?
TD : "I wouldn't say there was someone that inspired me to pick up the camera, but there were definitely a lot of influences and they are mostly musical. These people simply inspired me to not live a normal life or have a desk job. The first thing that comes to my mind is Mac Miller, he's my favorite artist of all time on any platform or medium. I've been listening to him since The Best Day Ever. I've heard every Mac piece, I just bought the new record, and soon I will hopefully have all of his work on vinyl.
When I pulled up to that Carti show, I didn't know who Cole Bennett was. I didn't even know what Lyrical Lemonade was. I just had a friend who was helping put on the show with them. He invited us and gave us passes and that was a huge turning point for me because I witnessed the greatness that was Lyrical Lemonade and Cole Bennett. It sparked motivation and reassurance that the path I was pursuing was right for me."
HM : What sets Chicago apart from like other big cities when it comes to being creative?
TD : "I feel like it's all about the attitude and mentality. Even as a kid going to Bears' games I could tell Chicago was different than any other city. You go out to LA and sometimes there's that stigma of not necessarily I'm better than you but maybe I'm richer than you are, we have it better type of thing.
I’ve only been to New York City a few times and while I absolutely love it, for some inexplicable reason Chicago just has that nitty gritty feeling that makes me love it more. Like we are down in the dirt and there's hard times, hard winters but we persevere. It's inspiring. We're all going through it together. Chicago has so many people that are down to collaborate, and I feel that if you are genuine you can rise and fit into the community so well."
HM : What can we expect from Modern Spaceman in 2020?
TD : "You can expect a lot more content regularly. I've been focusing for the last half year on expanding my personal network, improving my skills and knowledge, and branding myself. I have much bigger budget music videos coming up, which I'm super excited about. Some more unique artists like my boy Zafro, plus a lot more with Brent Rambo, Killkain (7200 Payup) and a lot more.
Some short films are also within view and in the next couple of years hopefully a feature length film. I'm trying to move MS into a full blown production company because of my passion for film. I love music videos and I'm going to do them forever, but that's not all I'm trying to do. I have a passion for storytelling and I'm definitely aiming to tell some stories that are outside of music."
HM : What have been your favorite shows that you shot or artists that you've shot with?
TD : "I was at 515 Music Festival in Iowa this past summer and I was able to shoot Playboy Carti again. This time I actually had my own video camera, unlike last time this time, and it was super reassuring to be back in the pit for Carti where I first started. Some of my other favorite shows that I have shot include ASAP Rocky's set at the UIC pavilion. He's one of my favorite artists of all time, so that was really cool. Also, it's crazy to be on stage at Lollapalooza.
Whether it’s Denzel Curry, Bad Child, etc that shit was just raw as fuck. I want to move into and work with more alternative bands as well. I've been able to work with Hippocampus, Slenderbodies and a few others which was a whole different vibe but something I really like doing."
HM : If you could do a shoot for a brand or a publication who would it be?
TD : "I would have to say I want to work with Ass Pizza just because I've watched a couple of interviews with him and the first time I ever saw his clothes, I was immediately drawn to it. But I was also like, what the fuck?
He'll go on tours around the country in a minivan or car and just pull up to gas stations and sell them to the kids. There's lines of kids and cops come half the time. In an interview he mentioned he made five or six figures off his drop, and then he stated the next day he had under $10 in his bank account because he spent all of it on his next round of clothing. I would love to go on tours with him and document that."
HM : If you could pursue another profession, what would it be?
TD : "I’ve always wanted to make music. I played piano for seven or eight years, a while back. My roommate makes amazing music and he likes to show me his progress since he's working hard everyday, which is really inspiring to me.
HM : What's your favorite part about being a videographer? TD : "I've met so many people in the city from having a camera and if I go out and I don't have my camera, I will usually run into someone that’ll be like,Yo Teddy, where is your camera? Having a camera will put you in a situation that you wouldn't be in otherwise. I think what I like about it is, it's going to sound cheesy and I guarantee you most people with a camera would say something along these lines, but it helps me look at things in a different perspective or a way that I wouldn't normally.
At the end of the day, that beautiful sunset is going to look better with your eyes than it will through the lens of the camera. But it's a nice and refreshing thing to not only capture a moment that you think is beautiful, whether it be in video or picture format, but just trying to look something from as many different ways possible."
On Social Media
TD : "A lot of things are better to actually experience yourself and that just goes along with social media, which I'm trying to only use when I post because I feel like people are getting so obsessed with showing other people what they are experiencing that they don't even actually enjoy the moment that they're in, which is quite fucked.
We all do it, but I feel like it's important to be conscious about how much time we spend on it and how it's negatively affecting us. Even when you're doing something that is like advancing your network, career, and passions, at the end of the day nothing on the phone truly matters in comparison to real life. Even if you get a certain amount of likes or followers, does that really benefit you that much? I think the in-person networking really benefits you much more.
That's going to separate who's actually cool as fuck and who can look cool while hiding behind a screen. You can know everything about social media but if you can't handle a conversation, or handle real life situations it’s not as valuable. It's all a numbers thing. My homie Jared says it the best ‘Don't let numbers run your life’. I spent so much time in the past actually caring about that, but when you let it go, it's so freeing and you can focus on the actual art YOU want to create."
HM : Favorite brand or designer
TD : "Khristopher Kites definitely comes to mind. The Half Evil guys go crazy with all their clothes. My homie zayeweezy has been working with World Wide Youth (WWY) lately and they've been putting me on to some really nice pieces. They're coming up hard, they got Tecca rocking their shit.
I like things that are conversation pieces that everyone comes up to because it's flashy. (In reference to his Rick and Morty Christopher Kites chain) I know it is flashy and kind of obnoxious, but every time someone sees it and comes up to me and we have a conversation about Rick and Morty it makes it worth it. Overall though the pieces dont really have to be name brand or designer as long as I fuck with it or they represent something I believe in."
Final Thoughts TD : "I definitely want to make it known that everything I do is for my family, especially my mom. She is my biggest inspiration in life. I'm so thankful for my entire family, but my mom is the one who always inspired me to pursue my creative side rather than go by the books, through school. When a lot of moms were asking what the grades were, she was asking if I made anything cool. She got me into the music scene too, from Fleetwood Mac all the way to Snoop Dogg, she put me onto all of it.
Rest in peace to my mom Stephanie Kay DeMask.
Huge shoutout to my Dad as well. He’s the only reason I’m even able to pursue my passions. He has always been super supportive no matter what it is that I am doing, plus, he holds the whole family down.
I also want to mention my brothers Jackson and Luke. As well as my girl Michaela who are constantly supporting me and pushing me to be the best artist and person I can be. I couldn’t do anything I do without them.
Lastly, I want to say thank you so much to anyone who's ever watched any of my videos or seen, liked, or even looked at any picture I've ever taken. I appreciate anyone who's taken time out of their day to pay attention to me and my work.
Keep an eye out for Modern Spaceman in 2020. We have a lot coming including music videos, concert recaps, behind the scenes stuff, and maybe even some clothing..."
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