- Words Isabelle Gray
- Photography Matt Aldridge
- Styling Philip Bush
Rising artist Devon discusses his new single, tips on fighting heartbreak, the importance of a good album cover, and how music is his motivation for getting up in the morning.
After a year’s run of successful singles, Devon has solidified his sound with the new song “WHY DO WE WAKE UP? (BEFORE THE GOOD BIT)”.
Hailing from the Forest of Dean, Devon equates the intimacy of living in a tiny area alongside a desire for somewhere bigger, louder, and new.
His confident and demanding sound is definitely something that has developed over time. Devon started out by forcing himself to perform in tiny pubs in his hometown to three or four strangers. Since then, he has learned to produce his own music, which he tells us helps aid this sense of urgency for this sound to be entirely his own.
This sense of self isn’t isolated to his sound either. Devon illustrates that his art is more than just the songs he creates, but his cover art and his music videos too – one of which was directed by MTA VMA-nominated director Lewis Carter.
This year, he made the most of lockdown by curating an ever-growing presence on platforms like TikTok on Instagram. Devon clearly understands the importance of social media and the beauty in creating a genuine community with lovers of his music, to which he sometimes even writes songs on TikTok.
His songs are gagging to be on a Made In Chelsea soundtrack (in all the best ways). “WHY DO WE WAKE UP?” brings the energy we all need to get up in the morning whilst keeping it real that mornings do indeed, suck: “I rode up out my bed against my body’s wish / I crawled into the kitchen for my Weetabix / Was trying to think of reasons I can call in sick”.
Devon forces you to have fun and want to throw yourself around to his music at a gig, despite the often very sombre meaning of his music. It’s good indie-pop, and you can see both Devon’s utter desire to do well by his art and also feel how much of a natural he really is.
Notion spoke to Devon about his new single and how music is his sole motivation for getting up in the morning. We also got some tips on fighting heartbreak, the importance of a good album cover, and his experience of continuously being banned from various social media platforms.
In light of your new single, “WHY DO WE WAKE UP’(BEFORE THE GOOD BIT)”, can you tell us what gets you out of bed in the morning? What’s your morning routine?
It gave me a clear view of what I like and what I don’t. It helped me articulate what I wanted to achieve sonically to people I now work with which is very helpful. I also think it’s the reason my music can go in a lot of different directions because I never had the boundaries of another producer telling me what I should and shouldn’t do to fit a certain sound. For me having control over my art is important but I don’t think it’s the reason I do most of the stuff for this project by myself. I would say it’s literally by necessity I learned how to produce cause there are no producers where I live. It’s the same with the artworks and merch. I used to be a graphic designer in my day job before music.
Yes, it definitely is therapeutic. It’s the only thing I’m good at and after going through a pretty bad break up it became the only thing in my life that really mattered so it was defo a vessel for everything I’m feeling and going through for sure. Yeah, it certainly is nerve-racking. I’m actually not a massive fan of the process of releasing music altogether (I’m in the right game I know) but it’s a very stressful, anxiety-inducing process and I’m already a proper self loather as my manager keeps saying. The awesome feeling comes when making it, then as soon as it gets selected for release it’s nothing but dread and overthinking haha.
What is your dream festival to perform at?
Was there a specific moment that made you go ‘fuck it’ and go on to properly pursue a career in music?
How does it feel to be an artist from a small place in an industry so ‘big city’ centric? Do you think you’ll find yourself continuing to place a big importance on your roots as you develop in your career?
Your cover art and music videos are quite creative and fresh, is visuals an important part of your artistry?
You’re developing a big online presence across Instagram and TikTok, with loads of interaction with your fans including writing songs for them. How has social media helped your career and how does it feel having that access and close relationship with people who love your art?
Social media has been the lifeline for my career. Coming from the FOD there is no music scene and no way of making any connections to anyone in the industry so you can either stay playing the same Johnny Cash covers in a pub to five old boys or find a way to make the internet work for you. I know a lot of young artists say that it’s so saturated and they’re right it is. For me, I would spend days finding ways to fiddle the system and max out social media platforms before I was banned (multiple times). In those initial days a bit of fake it till you make it went a long the way and it built me a little foundation of fans to eventually get noticed. However, the scary thing is I’m pretty sure if all social media was erased I would vanish of the face of the earth. Yeah, the relationship is very important. I’m only really feeling the effects of that now as I’ve started to build a bit of a bigger fan base so I’m still new to even have fans.
To any new listeners, what would be the one song that you would recommend them to listen to that encompasses your style?
I would say listen to “WHY DO WE WAKE UP (BEFORE THE GOOD BIT)” as that’s the latest song out and that feels very current to where my sound is right now.