Интервю с Devon Graves – „Музиката на практика се пише сама.“

Interview with Devon Graves

„Music practically writes itself.“

Devon Graves is a singer, songwriter and frontman of the legendary dark-prog bands PSYCHOTIC WALTZ and DEADSOUL TRIBE. The musician who also plays guitar, flute, bass and keyboards, starts a series of acoustic shows with just his voice and his acoustic guitar. He will surprise his fans not only with adapted songs from his bands, but also with some rock classics, as well as with something from his solo album The Strange Mind of Buddy Lackey. While anticipating this boutique concert saturated with private emotions on 7th October in Live & Loud club, Sofia, we contacted Devon for some questions.

MH18: Hi, Devon. I would like to start with a couple of warm-up questions. You were born on 1st July. Do you like URIAH HEEP’s „July Morning“?

Devon: I love the melody on the verses. “July Morning” is pure hippie heaven.

MH18: Let me share an interesting fact. Your birthdate is very special in Bulgaria. A lot of people wake up early on the 1st July, before the sunrise in order to meet the first July sun with URIAH HEEP’s classics. The tradition says this happens on the sea shore. So every year, before this date a huge number of people travel to the sea shores of Black Sea and wait for dawn at the beaches, celebrating all night long. Did you know 1st July is such a special day here, in Bulgaria?

Devon: Because of my birthday? Just kidding. I didn’t know about that. What is the significance of July 1st? And Why URIAH HEEP?

MH18: PSYCHOTIC WALTZ started with Buddy Lackey in the line up, but ended with Devon Graves. Even though this is one person, what are the differences?

Devon: One name I love and one name I hate. Same guy though.

MH18: You have explained in detail how the music of „I Remember“ was created. But what about the lyrics? What inspired you to combine such beautiful musical harmonies with this dark post-war theme?

Devon: Back when I was 16,17-18 all my songs were war songs. I had been told that there is no use writing war songs or war protest songs more accurately, when there is no war. I knew if I kept them around long enough they would come in handy,

MH18: Now, when there are war actions in Europe, this song sounds more and more relevant (even 35 years, if I am not wrong, after its creation). And still there is this feeling „We’ll all play the losing game“. After so many mistakes, after so many history lessons, it still looks like we haven’t learned anything. Is there any chance for humanity?

Devon: Exactly my point. It’s all a scam anyway. That’s why it repeats itself. It is part of the social-financial design.

MH18: „Spiral Tower“ lyrics deal with the way human civilization consumes the land, like a virus, by building more and more. With COVID-19 pandemic there were theories that Planet Earth was trying to get rid of the human virus which still continues to drain its resources. What is your opinion about it?

Devon: I think it was about the same thing war is about. Moving money from the pockets of the people through taxation, then funnelling it into the pockets of the Pharmaceutical complex, the military industrial complex and so forth. I don’t believe COVID-19 was an act of nature.

MH18: No matter what happens on the rock stage PSYCHOTIC WALTZ, DEADSOUL TRIBE, THE SHADOW THEORY and Devon Graves always stay outside the mainstream. Should an artist permanently try to explore new areas?

Devon: I can’t speak for anyone but myself. All I want to do is make the music that I would want to hear. Sometimes that means doing things I haven’t done before, or things that might not fit my own “brand”. But that is a risk I am willing to take, because the only hope I have at anyone else liking my music is if I love it first. It’s that simple. Mainstream artists are most likely from families with either money, connections or both. Not that there isn’t some great talent in the mainstream. But it always felt like a rigged game to me.

MH18: PSYCHOTIC WALTZ, DEADSOUL TRIBE, THE SHADOW THEORY are all bands which did not gain much commercial success. And yet you haven’t stopped creating new material. Where do you find this inspiration for new music and lyrics?

Devon: Music practically writes itself. The lyrics get harder and harder though, especially since I have already written about so many things. But somehow I do it. It just takes a while for the lyrics. The words have to fit the melody, and the mood of the music. The rhythm of the words has to preserve the natural rhythm of the language. Plus they have to mean something to me. No small task. But once I get the first line, the rest seems to pour through.

MH18: In fact „God Shaped Void“ entered some charts and probably is the best success for PSYCHOTIC WALTZ. It was created in the „internet era“, where you were exchanging ideas online and recorded separately. Was this factor crucial for the final result?

Devon: That is the ONLY way we could collaborate. Online. Sending files and sessions back and forth. They (the four other guys) were together in the same room to make the music, then they would send the sessions to me where I would craft my vocals, lyrics and melodies. Sometimes I would edit the songs and change the arrangements to better suit my vocal ideas… Making an intro into a chorus. Repeating a section or cutting it in half. They always loved the changes since it would be the first time they hear the vocals, they may have not even noticed in some cases. That is the beauty of working digitally. It is really easy to try different arrangements without destroying anything. Once the arrangements were final though, they would record it all again.

MH18: What is your favourite song from „God Shaped Void“ and why?

Devon: “The Fallen”, because it has everything I love. Acoustic intro, epic arrangement, creepy lyrics. A strong chorus… A stellar guitar solo. I also love “Demystified”, “All the Bad Men”, and I LOVE “In The Silence”. All for different reasons.

MH18: Almost a year ago you released your first music video and fist solo Devon Graves song „Angel in the Dark“. It’s different from anything fans have heard from you. Tell us more about the song. Is it in the setlist for Sofia? Is this the first track from „The Strange Mind of Devon Graves“?

Devon: It’s a great example of taking a risk at doing a music style I love that isn’t in the metal vibe. I love that song, and almost anyone who I played it for loved it too. People from all different musical cultures. I want to do more like that. Maybe „The Strange Mind of Devon Graves“… I can’t play it acoustically. It needs that bass groove to work.

MH18: With so many versatile projects can you point to a song, or an album which best describes Devon Graves?

Devon: It kinda takes them all. Some mores than others, but it takes a lifetime to express everything I have inside, if that is even possible.

MH18: Is it difficult to always be different?

Devon: Change is natural for me. I like to move and evolve. But I don’t leave the past work behind. I’m more like constantly building onto it. Outward from it. For the second, third and fourth DEADSOUL TRIBE records I deliberately tried to create a “sound” that I stayed faithful to since so many bands found success by sticking to one sound… AC-DC, KORN, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, etc… But I think it worked against me instead, since people expected me to change every time. So that’s what I am back to doing. Careful what you ask for! 🙂

MH18: You have announced that your next project is going to be a new album with Deadsoul Tribe. Are there any new songs which are ready? Share details, please

Devon: We have about four songs in various stages of completion. Plus I have several seeds of ideas that I will bring to life. It is going to surprise anyone who has expectations on what our new album will sound like. Lately I feel empowered to explore and break boundaries for myself and DEADSOUL TRIBE. I am really happy with what we have so far. I can’t say much more.

MH18: Disbanding some projects, reviving others, relocating to Europe… What is the most difficult decision you have taken?

Devon: Certainly moving to Austria was the biggest and most difficult decision. I still wonder what it would be like if I hadn’t. I don’t really like speaking German and that is a big problem often times. But I am happy to live closer to the epicentre of my career, and bring my guitar to Bulgaria, for instance.

MH18: Are you going to be performing this acoustic show alone, or will there be some support musicians on the stage too?

Devon: Just me and my guitar. I would love to play with a few musicians. Maybe a piano/keyboardist who can sing. But for now, I’m doing this one alone.

MH18: Thank you for your time and one last question: do you have few words for the METAL HANGAR 18 audience in Bulgaria days before your concert in Sofia.

Devon: I just want to thank you for your support. Really, from my heart, thank you. I am really looking forward to this hopefully very special night in Sofia.

  1. #1 написан от Мишо Илиев (преди 6 дни)

    Възхитително! Ненатоварващо и свежо!

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