Interview: Kevin Devine @ Manchester Orchestra’s The Stuffing 11/26

Photo by Ninelle Efremova
Photo by Ninelle Efremova

By Emily Jackson

Among the many artists coming to The Stuffing 2013 is singer/songwriter Kevin Devine. This longtime indie rocker is anything but ordinary. For example, ordinary artists release an album every couple of years. Kevin released two albums simultaneously last month, the funding for which came straight from the fans on the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter. The airy, understated ballads of Bulldozer complement the uncompromising frenetic energy of Bubblegum surprisingly well. Together, they achieve a certain sonic balance we can’t get enough of. He recorded these (fraternal) twin albums with the backing band he affectionately refers to as the Goddamn Band. You can catch him and his Goddamn Band next week at Manchester Orchestra’s The Stuffing.

You released two different albums on the same day this year. Why is that?

Kevin: Well we did a Kickstarter campaign this year to make two records. I wanted to do something different with Kickstarter like what I’d seen other people doing with it. One way to do that was to make two records and two different kinds of music under one name so I made a rockier record and a kind of quieter one. Putting them out at the same time was cool because they’re like two halves of a whole or two sides of the same headspace. It made sense to release them at the same time because the whole project was inspired by being non-traditional.

Do you think Kickstarter is a good tool for musicians in general?

Kevin: Yeah, sure. It’s definitely a different model because you cut out the middleman and go straight to the people that love your music. In my case, it worked out really well. I don’t know if it’s a viable option for the whole industry but I’d encourage other people in my situation to give it a shot for sure. I can’t speak for everyone because the music industry is set up a certain way. It might not work for like rappers or other bands but I was successful with it.

Where do you get your songwriting ideas?

Kevin: People, other songwriters, books, stories, walking around, living in New York… family, friends, dreams I have, [laughs] from all over the place…

What’s your favorite song to play live – either by you or someone else?

Kevin: It changes all the time, ya know? I think if you play long enough it’s going to change a lot. I really like a song called “Fiscal Cliff” now because it’s fast and punky and energetic so I get into it. I don’t have a fixed favorite though.

At your last show at the Masquerade in Atlanta, you went kind of cover crazy halfway through the set. Any chance of that happening at The Stuffing?

Kevin: Probably not. At The Stuffing I’m with other bands and I have a 40-minute show. That show at the Masquerade was a 90-minute headliner show so I was able to do more with it. I do like being silly sometimes with those.

That’s good! Is there any particular message you want the people at your shows to go away with?

Kevin: I mean my primary concern now at this point in my career is for people to enjoy themselves and have fun even if the songs are more serious… When someone is opting to spend their time and money on you, it’s less about a message and more about enjoying the experience. There are things in the songs and the presentation you want people to take away but the primary goal is just to have fun. If that happens, we did our job.

There’s still time to get your tickets to see Kevin Devine at The Stuffing. It’s going to be a great show!  


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