There are, as everybody knows, many rich, fascinating, intoxicating and wondrous facets to the modern vampire subculture and one these facets are the sublimely dark images that grace the pages of magazines, e-zines, websites and all other manner of communications within the arena of vampiredom.
The importance of the graphic arts, and the people who make it, to the subculture can’t be underestimated for it introduces, recommends and entices all at the same time and when people are drawn to the ‘darkness’ then we have the opportunity to show that there is nothing to be feared or hated within it.
One of the pre-eminent figures in the delivery of “art to the vamp-hungry” comes from the United Kingdom, he has appeared on catwalks, book covers, in clothing shoots, fantasy-swords and sorcery shoots, fetish, wild-west and Vampire and Steampunk themed modeling. Describing himself as a,“Model and Sometime Promoter, Vampyre and Steampunk Enthusiast. Gentleman Adventurer, Inventor and Rogue” it gives us great pleasure to welcome to RVL one of ‘the‘ faces of the modern vampire subculture, Darren Demondaz.
RVL: First off, to break the proverbial ice Darren, do you self-identify as a modern living vampire?
DD: There is a question that I’m still looking to answer myself. The simple answer is yes, my vampire identity is a large part of my persona and ego and it is important to me. I have a tendency to avoid stating I am a ‘real vampire’ as it must always come with explanations to uneducated ears. I do however like the term Modern Living Vampire and would say that I associate with it.
RVL: When did you begin your modeling career and what drew you to it as a profession?
DD: I am too humble to state openly that I am a professional model. I am also too proud to call it a hobby for it is not and I do undertake mostly paid work when not shooting to enhance my portfolio.
It all started over 7 years ago now when a number of people, models and photographer friends, commented that I should get some photos taken just to see what came out. I did so and it all started from there and, I am very glad to say, that I have been engaged in all sorts of interesting projects – and meeting interesting people – ever since.
I never really thought it would lead to anything more than having a few good photos to hang on the wall or for social networks but I’m very glad it did and I am pleased to count many other excellent and creative models and photographers among my peers.
My own desire to create powerful and striking imagery, photos that had a good thousand words or more to tell, this is what drew me to modelling. It is also rather nice, for a guy, to be able to say ‘Yes, I do a bit of modelling.’ and then blow peoples socks off when I show them my portfolio.
RVL: Was it difficult to break into the industry?
DD: I am not really an ‘industry’ model and doubt I ever will be. I have, however, been in a number of publications and on a good few and growing number of book covers and been engaged on many interesting jobs. It’s not hard but it does take time and effort. Having a strong portfolio, of course, is the main thing and that takes a lot of time and effort, apart from that you need to be maintaining social networks and applying to casting calls constantly.
RVL: Vampyre charisma is a term often heard or read about, was it useful in landing your first big shoot do you think?
DD: The answer here begs the question, can someones character, personality, indeed charisma be captured on camera? Personally I think it can but you need to be able to really project it, literally wear it, for it to be photographed. The short answer is yes, of course.
RVL: How long have you been involved in the Vampyre subculture?
DD: Over ten years now, boy, man and vampire….
RVL: Is there a particular “path” or “belief system” that you, as a ‘modern vampire, personally subscribe to?
DD: As for following a path I think that everyone must find their own. Take guidance, yes, from others but always remember that the doctrines and beliefs of others may not suit your own path. Always be yourself and never compromise!
RVL: How long have you been wearing fangs and who had the privilege of preparing your set?
DD: Over ten years now, boy, man and vampire….I have sets by Father Sebastiaan and Robbie Drake. I like to keep a few sets and set aside pairs for general wear and like to have a very prominent set for photographing.
RVL: Apart from the Steampunk modeling, what other “themed” or general modeling have you done?
DD: There’s been some clothing shoots, fantasy-swords and sorcery shoots also fetish, wild-west and other retro and historic period apart from the Vampire and Steampunk themed modeling. I have also been on a few catwalks most notably for the Mad Hatters Tea Party (A fashion charity event held at the Victoria and Albert Museum of London) where I was modelling a 4′ high bowler hat! I was also catwalking at the Erotic Trade Only show last year – the only male model of the 15 that were appearing (it’s a hard life sometimes being a male model). One of my biggest privileges, as a model, was being photographed by the icon David Bailey for a Nokia promotion.
RVL: What do you think of contemporary vampire fiction and televison/movies?
DD: It is a joy to see after over 200 years of fiction and 90 years in cinema that Vampires are still going strong and fans may enjoy new releases in film, book and other modern media each and every year. In fiction and film it is very true to say that vampires never die and they continue to gain and seduce new fans!
RVL: In the brief bio we introduced you by it mentions that you are a “sometime promoter” and a “rogue” What sort of promotions do you work with and why, Sir, are you a “rogue”?
DD: I am a promoter and DJ too. I use the term ‘sometime’ as I don’t run a regular night club. I used to arrange and promote the events of the London Vampyre Group for almost 4 years and first doubled, and then tripled, the attendance of the events that were run before I took over. Nowadays I am involved with two clubs – Living on Video (a retro and 80’s club) and my own platform – Vampyre Villains vs Steampunk Slayers (VVvsSS).
A rogue. Yes I am. I do as I will and some people may not like that or me. Sometimes to get things done you need to stand up, alone if needs be, and bloody well get on with it. I dislike procrastination and procrastinators!
RVL: Have you ever considered making a move into acting, as a vampire?
DD: I have already been in a film short and an independant film production and I regularly cast for work in this genre. Yes, of course. I would also love to land an advert!
RVL: Can you tell us a little about the “U.K. Scene” today?
DD: I would say this answer applies more to the the London Vampire Scene which I am better qualified to answer than the ‘UK Scene’, however, the UK Vampire scene continues to strive and has been going for over 15 years!
There is a regular monthly social held by the London Vampire Meetup Group that is attended by many of the older members of the London Vampyre Group and The Vampyre Connexion – two social groups that were run before. There are also many clubs, on the London goth, metal and fetish scenes that are a crossover, and well attended by, individuals from the London Vampire scene.
RVL: …and what’s in the pipeline for Darren Demondaz, what have you got in the works?
DD: I am putting togther a VVvsSS event for the 3rd August 2013 and will be announcing a lineup shortly! I’m also going to be compering at this and opening with a little comedy routine I wrote, I’ll also have a short stint behind the decks so it’s a very busy night for me with much preparation before.
I’m DJ’ing at the next Vampire Meetup later this week. It’s also a birthday party and we hope to get something of a record attendance for the night!
There are a good few shoots on the cards that are awaiting dates. Apart from that I just keep applying to the castings and watch my mail and I can often be surprised myself at what may crop up!
RVL: Have you ever been involved in television as an interview guest? And, if not, how would you approach that challenge if it came about?
DD: I have been asked many times but turned it down. Mainly as I didn’t think the TV shows suitable to be involved with or they want ‘performing monkeys’ but are unwilling to pay often expecting me to cover my own expenses for their benefit. Both get a straight ‘No’ from me but I do still cast for this type of work in the hope that the right job may come along. I would approach the challenge as I do everything else – I would be myself and do so well and to the best of my ability – as that is the only way I know.
RVL: Should any of our audience or associates be interested in engaging your services as a model where can they contact you?
The Dastardly Dandy Demondaz Edgy Male Model – Picture Gallery
Darren’s contact information can also be found here at RVL by visiting his RVL Page
RVL: Thank you very much, Darren, for sharing your time today. It’s been a privilege to find out a little more about your ‘model world’
DD: Thank you kindly for taking interest. It is very gratifying to be asked.
RVL, first encounter? … well actually Tim and I have been members of the Steampunk Empire since 2010 …. and members of Darren’s Group, The Vampire Nation since it’s inception in 2011. As an “Experienced ‘Dark Character’, clothing, catwalk, promotion & artistic model and actor” Darren also maintains a portfolio website at http://www.flickr.com/photos/demondaz/
Indeed he can be regarded as a “man for all seasons” and as an public emissary for the modern living vampire his contribution to the artistic side of the subculture can’t be argued. He is one of the few people who have it in their power to turn the spotlight of attention on the “real vampire” society and show it as it really is, not as outsiders think, and fear, it is.
Copyright: RVL & Darren Demondaz 2013 ~ except as otherwise noted.
Our grateful thanks go to guest model, Darren’s colleague, Exhayle. If you would like to see more of the lady’s work follow this link to Exhayle’s Portfolio
**Book cover pictures used by permission of Raven Dane and Darren Demondaz
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