It’s no secret that JUICE regularly receives emails requesting for a feature from aspiring artistes – ones that were personally sent by the acts themselves. However, what’s not known to the lot of you – and also potentially devastating to some of you who had emailed us before – the likelihood of us replying back is very slim. If you didn’t hear even so much of a peep from us, it’s probably because we don’t fancy your music. Unfortunately that encapsulates a good percentage of the music sent to us, and as Sturgeon’s law posits; 90% of everything is crap. Simple as that. Once in a while though, the remainder 10% do approach us in such an unassuming way that we’re taken aback by the talent presented. One such case was Malaysian-Danish Devon Seven.
Discovering JUICE during her first visit to Malaysia as an adult, Devon’s email was concise – a quick introduction and a couple of links to her music videos. Not thinking much about it, we decided to give the video for her first single ‘River Flows’ a go and were immediately struck by how well thought out she already was as an artiste. The electropop tune had the jaunty-melancholy aesthetics of someone like Robyn, and the imageries shown (the arty, chic take on Eurotrash fashion, vaguely ‘90s dance moves) were of that European alt pop world as well. Devon Seven had our full attention by then.
This comparison wasn’t without merit. Hailing from Denmark and much like her Danish peers, Devon’s musical journey was indebted to the underground party scene there, which was inspired by Berlin’s hardcore techno. It made sense then that a lot of musicians from this region are influenced by electronic music. “Rock and pop for instance doesn’t cling in my ears, but electronic and pop, or electronic and rock, is a match made in heaven,” says Devon, before adding a supposition on why electronic and pop’s converged so naturally: “Electronic music has been underground for so long, and pop has been uncool since the ‘80s.”
Asked of her influences though, Devon’s answer is decidedly antithetical to what we had in mind at that point. On a general pop culture level, she’s a fan of Björk, The Cure, and Mew, but she also reveres classical composers the likes of Wagner, Bach, and Beethoven. As it turns out, Devon developed a wider appreciation of music when she studied music science at Copenhagen University, which was also where she was inspired to call herself Devon Seven, named after Jimi Hendrix’s girlfriend-cum-group-cum-assistant Devon Wilson (“I, of course, couldn’t call myself Devon Wilson, so I came up with Devon Seven – 7 is the coolest number.”)
We could surmise then that Devon hasn’t always been the kind of musician she is in her current incarnation. “I had been in different bands, worked with so many producers, and at some point I hit a wall,” she tells us, continuing that she needed to “redefine [herself] as an artiste.” After a few endeavours at doing something other than music, she found herself motivated to create again due to an unspecified inspiring environment:
“The sounds and images of Devon Seven started to appear in my head.”
The sound of Devon Seven varies depending on the producer she’s working with, but it’s constant in that her songs are always, to quote her, “melodic, atmospheric, melancholic, and edgy.” Thus far, her only two singles released (‘River Flows’, ‘I Don’t Want the Summer to End’) were both produced by UNKWON – a producer whom she enjoys working with. Unlike mainstream pop acts, there’s a need for Devon and her producer(s) to resonate musically – “… which makes the process so much smoother,” she tells us. Perhaps due to her needing a proper artiste-producer relationship, the only other producer involved thus far is the freshfaced and talented Simon Littauer (Broke, Reptile Youth).
The image of Devon Seven is no less important to her, revealing that as a teenager she needed something more than just the music to be a fan of an artiste. “I needed something visual to grasp, and if that aligns, you will get fans that are very committed – I know that the only artists I have been obsessed with have had the whole package,” she elaborates rather empathetically as a fan of music in her own right. Judging by the clothes designed by Asger Juel Larsen on the ‘River Flows’ video and the music accompanying them, we’d say she could gain committed fans, the kind she used to be.
As of now, Devon Seven is still an artiste in process. Signed to indie label Fake Diamond Records, her first official single ‘Where Light Shines Brighter’ is to be released in the first quarter of 2014 and her debut album is tentatively scheduled for a September ’14 release. Looking at what little she has in her current oeuvre though, JUICE is confident that she will remain in our 10%.
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