My biggest problem is that if I don’t want to feel something, I don’t feel something. I’ll just be like, I’m not going there right now. I have too many things to do. And I’ll just compartmentalize and not deal with whatever it is, but in order to be able to write I have to access every emotional part of my brain. So when we’re writing, if I’ve been doing that lately, if we’ve been dealing with a lot of stress or if something’s been going on in my personal life, it’ll come out when we’re writing.
“If I can not release a record for a few years, I would really like that,” says Devine, who has an eighteen-month-old daughter at home in Bay Ridge. “I have that Bad Books band with the Manchester Orchestra guys, and I do think it is likely — not guaranteed, but likely — that there would be a Bad Books record before there would be a Kevin record.” But Devine’s work ethic probably won’t stop him from focusing on music entirely: He’s admittedly restless. He’s always working on music, but he’s without a concrete plan for the first time in ages, and that’s fine by him.
So, for the foreseeable future, I’ll be touring as a member of Brand New, playing guitar & singing harmonies. I’ve been playing music with & around Brand New in various ways for basically our entire careers; I love & am proud of them, think they’ve made a(nother) dynamic, special record, and take seriously the opportunity to perform as a part of their band, to help execute their vision & hopefully augment their already plenty-formidable stature. (It’s also really fun.) The reason for saying anything in public is to share that I’ll be quieting down the KD world for a while. There will still be a handful of odd shows here & there, and a few non-tour- or proper-record-related projects, but it feels good to do something else, take stock & decide what comes next, and “go away” a bit in some core sense. That’s it.
Thanks as always & be good to each other – these are scary, brutal, psychedelic times, but you’re not alone.
I caught up with Kevin Devine on the same morning that his new album, Instigator, launched for stream onto the internet — a fact he seemed almost as relieved as he was excited about. Over the next hour, we talked all kinds of things from the connection between the album’s title and its artwork, how his song “No Time Flat” has aged over the past decade, and what full-length album he might want to cover next.
“I can’t say I’m underrated,” Kevin Devine sings at the beginning of a new Bright Eyes-like folk song called “No One Says You Have To.” Although in the context of the song, it serves as a reminder to Devine to appreciate the success he’s found, I’ll have to disagree with him there. The 39-year-old Brookyln singer/songwriter is now nine albums deep and still hasn’t put out a bad album. He was able to release two albums in the same year – on the same day – with nearly two completely different sounds and both were rightfully acclaimed. But for all that, he crowdfunded his last two albums and he was dropped from Capitol after only one release — he can say he’s not underrated all he wants, but I’m going to disagree every time.
Instigator is my argument as to why.