A couple of days ago, Aidan and I had the chance to send a couple of questions over to the keyboardist and vocalist of UK metallers, Devilment. She discussed how she became involved with the band, the writing process in the band and some other bands that she has discovered in the past 12 to 18 months.
Our thanks to the lovely Claire at Nuclear Blast for organising and also to Lauren for taking the time to answer our questions.
You’re currently gearing up to release your sophomore album, Devilment II – The Mephisto Waltzes. How do you feel the response has been to the tracks you’ve released?
I think the response has been really good. A lot of people have said they feel our sound has ‘matured’ and ‘developed’ since the last album, which is how we feel too. So it’s good to know that this comes across to listeners. I think the fact that these songs have a bit more dynamic to them and contain more elements means that our net will be cast wider than before, and I really believe that there is something on the album for every type of listener.
Was the process behind the new album any different to the previous one?
It was for me, because with the previous album, I joined and I was working on some tracks which already had a backbone in place. There were alterations and definitely musical improvements, because they had a lot of keyboard loops which I changed and replaced, but I had to work with what was there. With this album, we had grown more familiar with each other. Everybody was more comfortable and we started sending ideas back and forth via online sharing, which we then jammed at rehearsal and changed and restructured a lot more. Everyone listened to each other and we all made suggestions and offered opinions about the other members’ parts. I think the musicianship has greatly improved over the course of the last year and I’m proud of where it’s got us.
How did you end up becoming involved with the band?
I actually don’t have a background in metal, but I’ve been performing for as long as I can remember (even from around 5 years old in local piano and singing competitions!) and playing and singing in bands or duos since I was about 16. I met our bass-player Nick long before either of us joined Devilment, and we were in another band together for many years. Nick used to be in a metal band called Eradication, but unfortunately due to a member developing an injury, they decided to call it a day. So Nick had this hunger in him to get back into a metal band and he joined Devilment. They were looking for a female singer to perform on a demo track (Girl from Mystery Island). When we were out drinking one night, Nick encouraged me to give it a go – though I was very apprehensive as I’d never done anything in that genre before and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it justice! The guys in the band really liked my singing and asked me to come along and jam some keys at a rehearsal, which I did. I just had a lot of fun with it and realised that I was excited by the challenge of doing something so new and different to the kind of music I had experienced before!
How does the band write music? Is it a collaborative process or does one person write the majority of it?
It’s definitely a collaborative process. What tends to happen is our shared online folder gets filled up with ideas that different band members have put together. This mainly consists of riff ideas from Colin or Nick. When the rest of the band hears them, we may all make suggestions for initial improvements, or we may jam it at rehearsal. Sometimes I write a melody to go over guitar chords, or something atmospheric to reinforce guitar melody, or we alter the riffs because we think they should change slightly to better accommodate the keys. Sometimes we go and try things at rehearsal and decide to scrap entire sections, or change the ordering. It really is a very involved and brutal exercise. Dea Della Morte for example, went through about twelve different revisions before we got to the studio with our final structure, and even then it then dealt with further changes – a new intro, altered sound choices and so on. Under the Thunder had a completely new chorus written during pre-production and if it hadn’t gone through the re-write it would never have made it onto the album!
What are the bands plans for the next eight to twelve months?
At the moment we’re just really excited for the release of the album and looking forward to getting out there to start performing them. We’ve got a bunch of UK tour dates from 6th-19th December and we can’t wait to get out and start gigging them. Obviously the album is released on the 18th November, so we’re pumped to finally get it out there and to get some feedback from fans. We’ve also got a new video coming out for a track on the album called “Full Dark, No Stars”, which I’m particularly excited about as it’s one of my favourite tracks on the album.
Next year, we’re hoping to get some more tour dates. It would be great to get out in Europe again and further afield too, but obviously with Dani’s commitments in Cradle, we will need to work around his studio time too. It would be great to get out there and play at plenty of festivals next summer too.
Are there any new/newish bands that have piqued your interest in the last 12-18 months?
I’m still in the baby stages of my metal education I think, so I’m not sure how good I am at spotting ‘stars’ in the making! And because it’s all pretty new to me, I’m absorbing things like Slayer’s Raining Blood for the first time, which to other people is an old classic! When we were at Nuclear Blast HQ in London, I saw a big banner for Blues Pills, who I think are awesome. Elin Larsson has a really full tone, and a lot of power with some of that rocky grit which I love.
Obviously, I’ve been listening to She Must Burn lately, who will be supporting us on our tour. They’re really heavy, with a lot of dynamic changes going on which I really like. I’m excited to see them performing live because I’ve heard that they’ve got a lot of energy and put on a great show.
We’ve also got local bands supporting us for each leg of the tour which I think is a really great thing, because I know the hunger that you feel when you’re in a newer band or a band which hasn’t yet been discovered and I think that it translates really well on stage. We chose these bands ourselves, so I’ve been checking out their music online. We’ve got a real eclectic mix from Rezinwolf who will be supporting us at home at the Colchester Arts Centre, to Splintered Halo in Glasgow, and Arcite in Newcastle.
What advice would you give to a band that is just starting out in this industry?
I think it’s important to be open minded about the music that you make and try to push yourself to be the best you can be, and get the most out of yourself creatively that you can. The industry is tough and the competition is intense too. I’ve found that the most important thing for me is to keep growing, learning and improving. Unlike many jobs, where the aim is to climb the salary ladder, it’s hard to measure ‘success’ in this kind of industry – is it how many ‘likes’ you’ve got, or how many youtube views, or how many album sales or shows you’ve nailed? I find that all these things are relative and their relevance can change in an instant. So I think you’ve got to measure yourself against your own set of values. You’ve got to feel proud of what you’re putting out there and make sure it’s the best you can do – and keep enjoying yourself!!
Devilment’s new record Devilment II – The Mephisto Waltzes will be released on 18th November via Nuclear Blast, available to pre-order on CD and Vinyl. Their first UK headline tour will start on 6th December, and run until 19th December.