An Interview with Devon Welsh

Having had Beatles on the brain for a while now, specifically the early years of their hysteria-inducing mop tops, I started to think about their early interviews. I looked up some of those early pressers and was taken aback by just how many times the fab foursome was asked about money and marriage, but there were also some gems hidden amongst the clunkers. And so, inspired by the early press conferences of the Beatles, especially their US tour interviews, I decided to ask some of those very same questions to some of the best and brightest making music today.

Devon Welsh just so happens to be coming through DC this very evening, so what better time to get to know Devon a little better than RIGHT NOW?! The Montreal songsmith released the gorgeous True Love earlier this fall, a collection of thoughtful, reverential songs awash with conflicted feelings that give added color to Welsh's warm, poetic voice and give him such a perfect platform.

If you're in DC this evening, be sure to swing by Comet Ping Pong to hear Devon perform his tender, introspective loveliness up close and in person. 

What has been your most exciting moment in the last year?

Putting out my new album True Love I think, it was good to finally get to the moment when it was released, because a lot of time goes into these things.

Who are your favorite recording artists?

That’s a really tough question to answer! Too many things to name...

Do you feel safe riding in airplanes?

I feel pretty safe, yeah. Accidents are very rare, and so far out of my control that I don’t worry about it.

Does every city look the same?

Yes and no! Every city is filled with the companies and franchises we’re familiar with, but every city also has its own unique history and identity despite these things. It’s not always clear when you’re only spending a day there though.

What message are you trying to get across, if any?

I think I can’t help but be communicating my own values in the music I make and the things I do. I don’t have a specific “message” that structures what I’m doing, but I certainly don’t think my music is without a message or a communication beyond just wanting people to bob their heads. I’m pro-human, pro-compassion, pro-egalitarian, pro-communication. I don’t use music as a platform to specifically communicate these things, but I hope they are somewhere in there when I’m making things and putting them into the world.

How would you describe yourself in one word?

I don’t think I would attempt to do that!

Where would you like to go that you haven't gone yet?

Probably everywhere I haven’t been. I’d like to see all 50 US states and all 13 provinces and territories!

Do you feel that you're setting a new trend in music?

I’m not sure? Probably not?

What kinds of guitars do you use?

I use whatever guitar is around. The last time I used a guitar was my partner’s acoustic guitar. Before that it was an electric guitar I borrowed from a friend.

Does anybody ever ask you for advice?

Sure, quite often. I think this is normal!

How do you prefer for your fans to act at your concerts?

I prefer them to respond authentically relative to how they feel!

How do you go about writing your songs?

A song always comes together in its own way. Sometimes I write something quite quickly, sometimes I work on something over an extended period. Sometimes I pick up on an old recording session and turn it into something new. Always different!

What is one question you would like to be asked that probably nobody has ever asked?

“Would you like to accept the offer of the total, universal bliss and harmony for all beings?”

What do you call your sound?

I don’t think I know what to call it.

Have you ever had a mental block-out on stage?

In terms of not remembering lyrics or something? Yes, this has happened a few times before.

What are your unfulfilled ambitions?

To be a person who can be confident they did what they could to create the world they want to see.

What advice do you have for teenagers?

Follow the things you are passionate about and don’t focus on trying to fit what is expected of you.

What is the closest you have come to losing life and limb?

It’s hard to say. I almost got hit by a train once, who knows how many other times I nearly avoided death.

Do you think of yourself more as an entertainer or a musician, or do you think it's more of a combination of the two?

I honestly don’t think of myself quite clearly as either! I like to use the word “performer” I guess. But these are all very slippery categories.

[posted 11.7.19]


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