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Spotlight Interview With Devon Alexis

Devon Alexis just dropped a future indie-pop single that haunts as much as it sooths with an eerie undertone and strangely cinematic undertone complete with an array of outstanding production trickery and fun that makes it all stand out from the crowd.

"Brix" is like an episode of the Twilight Zone for your ears as it leaves a mark and crawls under your skin with deep rooted synths, spacious atmospheres and gorgeously melodic vocal hooks that stick with you for days.

This track pushes the envelope in the best ways possible by crossing in a number if genres into one track and still keeping its dreamy or...slightly nightmarish soundscape strong.

There is a beautiful edginess to it all that really takes things to a different place and brings scattered sounds together with touches of a passive aggressive attitude and character that becomes infectious incredibly quickly.

This song is like a flurry of light and sound that comes and goes like whiplash but somehow does it all with a subtlety that makes it all its own.

With such a vivacious yet flowing song, we wanted to touch base with Alexis to find out where this all came from.

Here's what happened.

RAG: Let's start with the "Brix" single. This track has a heavy pop that crosses into some outstanding production changes and is completely full of surprises! Where did this track come from?

This song actually started with a challenge from a friend - they wanted me to write a song with certain parameters within an hour. Obviously, it’s taken more than an hour at this point, but that’s where it started. The very first line written is actually the first line of the song: “glasses, half empty.” I had been playing around with various metaphors surrounding optimism and wanted to present a different take on them and bring them into the physical world. Not only is the listener meant to envision the glasses, but the next line brings those glasses onto a table in the later-referenced house. I’m a big fan of books like The Great Gatsby that take care to provide recurring and intertwining symbols throughout the storyline, and I strive to do that with my song-writing as well. The house is connected to everything; a crumbling foundation, glasses, a caving roof, the “big bad wolf”, storms, etc. The production is the result of Brady O’Keefe (friend, producer, mixer, master-er) listening to my nonsensical ideas and perfectly translating them into what you hear today. He has also brought so much to the table in terms of pushing me to try new things and expanding who I am artistically. RAG: Love your whole aesthetic! Who are some of your real influences musically?

I absolutely love Billie Eilish, Finneas, and Charlotte Lawrence. They all have songs that I play over and over again because I hear something new or feel something different each listen. Billie and Finneas especially have a way of hiding little easter eggs of sound throughout their tracks, which Brady and I have also had lots of fun doing (ie the snare sound at the beginning and throughout is actually me shaking a water bottle with the audio reversed). Some smaller artists that I’ve taken inspiration from include Kate Stephenson, ella jane, and Isabel Pless. RAG: When did you first fall in love with making music?

I like that you asked it this way because most ask *when* I started making music and the answer to that is very boring (I wrote my first song when I was 2, and my first full-length song when I was 8). Songwriting started as something that I felt I had to do - my brain was constantly writing lyrics and melodies, but I never thought I would do anything with them. When I got to high school, my best friend ended up being a hopeful composer. We would spend free time in the practice rooms writing songs and eventually performed one live. The thrill of having someone else respond to my lyrics and melodies is what brought actual joy into the process for me. She released a piano album our senior year (that I still listen to on occasion even though we grew apart), and that made me realize that I could do it too. RAG: What do you think is next for you as an artist?

I’m already working on my next track with Brady, and this one follows a similar vein as Brix, but it’s a little more…. angry? Confident? I’m hoping it makes it onto so bad*ss b*tch playlists. I’d also really love to write a duet at some point, so hopefully that will happen soon! RAG: The single feels like it was a big undertaking. What advice might you have for other artists out there?

Ha! Truer words have never been spoken. This single is several years in the making - I started writing it when the pandemic hit, but I’m in the groove now and my process has gotten much faster. Advice for other artists? If someone you’re working with doesn’t get you and what you want, you need to find someone else or become that person yourself. A part of the reason this song took so long to make is because I was working with people who didn’t try to understand me because they assumed that their way was better. This isn’t to say not to listen to other artists - definitely listen and take suggestions because it will make you better. However, those same artists should listen back. If they don’t, they don’t respect you and you deserve better than that. RAG: What sort of things inspire you to write?

The car. The shower. Times where there’s no one around and my mind wanders. People-watching, break-ups, traumatic memories, reading a book, hearing weird sounds in a train station, paintings, poetry, mundane tasks, wine, the people I love. RAG: Did you collaborate with someone on this track? What are you performing on this along with vocals?

Yes!!! A lot of people helped me along the way and added their touch to it, but Brady O’Keefe ended up being the one who stuck with me until the end (which I am SO grateful for because he’s genuinely a genius and made this track really shine). While I wrote the lyrics, melody, and basic (VERY BASIC) arrangement, Brady brought almost everything else to the table other than some parts of the bass line (shout out to Blaine for that bit). RAG: Do you do any live shows? I know it's not the same as it used to be but are you working out performances?

Ironically enough, I have stage fright, so I have yet to do a live show. However, I’ve been working on it for the past year and I’ve gotten much better at imagining people in their underwear so…. we’ll see! I’d love to organize a virtual concert for charity with some other artists I know, so look out for that in the near future! RAG: If you won an award for your music, who would you thank?

My parents have been super supportive of my musical career. My mom even knows every word to the song :) My former housemate and best friend, Jordan, is another big one - she put up with me singing around the house, constantly asking for feedback on lyrics, and ALSO knows every word to the song. I would want to say thank you to Nina, who I can always rely on to bring positivity when I am so desperate to be self-deprecating. I would also thank Clara (she knows why). Finally, Brady is the reason why it sounds how I wanted it to sound - he stopped me from giving up on this song. RAG: Who are you listening to right now?

Billie, Finneas, Au Gres, Danny Beau, David Russelll, Chandler Leighton, Madilyn, Sabiine, Sonny and the Sunsets, Charlotte Lawrence, RHODES, Oliver Riot. RAG: What is someone like you doing when you're NOT working on music?

I’m actually in my last year of school to become a physical therapist! I also enjoy binge-watching netflix as much as the next guy, and I dabble in digital art (I made the cover art for the song). I also enjoy reading, creating animations, coffee, exploring with friends, volleyball, and finding new ways to be eco-conscious.


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