INTERVIEW: DEANNA DEVORE (CHICAGO)
This Thursday, January 10th, Chicagoans shake off that ensuing post-holiday glum and get out to Schubas Tavern. The hypnotically talented Deanna Devoreis releasing her first record since her excellent 2007 self-titled brought her alongside the likes of Bonobo and Lights. We were also honored to host Deanna’s first Madison, Wisconsin show in 2011.
You wrapped up your new record and you’re putting it out soon. How does it feel going into the record release show at Schubas?
It took a while for the second album to be completed, so it is very satisfying that it’s done. It’s time and I’m really excited to get something recent out there. I didn’t want to put anything out that wasn’t ready, or that wasn’t the sound I had envisioned. I wanted it to be close to perfect in my eyes and I’m happy with the end result.
What was going on in the past few years? Was it a lot of writing or…?
There were a variety of avenues I had in mind in terms of recording/releasing the album. I had tried a few different producers and things kept on either falling through or not being the right fit. Then at one point I said to myself that I wasn’t going to find a producer and that I was just going to do it myself. Then it got done.
So you learned a lot from recording this EP yourself?
Yeah. More than half of the last EP was done myself too, but I did work with a producer for three out of the seven songs. I guess throughout my recording history I have written and recorded by myself. I’m used to doing it that way. It’s not that I’m opposed to working with someone, I was just having trouble finding someone that was on a similar wavelength of what I was going for sonically.
You don’t see that mix of electronic and live instruments done that well that often because it still feels like it’s a “work in progress” in terms of music, in general. Where did that electronic side come from? Did someone inspire you to do that?
I had a little bit of it on the last album too. I almost feel like I have two sounds. One’s electronic and one’s more acoustic guitar orientated. I wanted to have a blend of the two without losing one over the other. I like a lot of electronic music that’s mixed with real instrumentation. But it’s hard to emulate that live. You can be a folk or rock band, and it’ll sound like the album live. But to be able to have all this electronic stuff going on live too is pretty difficult.
Is that going to be similar with Schubas?
Actually, this’ll be a different type of show from past ones. I feel like I’ve been trying to go in this direction for a while – which is to sound like the album, electronics and all. We’re going to have the same arrangement of live musicians, but I’m also going to have some backing tracks playing from my laptop; the electronic drums for instance, to achieve more of a full sound.
Explain a little bit where the title ‘X Number of Days’ comes from?
The album has a lot to do with the idea of time. The obvious reason is that it took a long time between the two albums. It also turned out that coincidentally I had two songs that dealt with time. One called “Soon” and the other called “The While.” It just ended up that way. “The While” is five years old and I brought it back. The album also deals with different ways of looking at time. Things that take a long time to happen and others that happen too quickly thus resulting in feeling emotionally unprepared.
How does being in between Chicago and Toronto play into piecing together or inspiring your music?
I do a lot of my recording in Toronto. That’s where I am most comfortable recording. But I’ve been playing live in Chicago. I would love to play more in Toronto, but since I’m living and have a band in Chicago, it’s much easier to play there. I definitely want to go to other places. So in a sense I do music in both cities, but in different ways.
Was there any song that changed the most between when you originally wrote it and how it ended up on the album?
A few of them went through a lot of changes during the recording process. Sometimes I write and record simultaneously. I usually write on guitar first but the more electronic songs I write on synth or keyboard. Those are the ones that go through a lot of changes as I’m recording. For instance, there’s a song called “Didn’t You” on the album that I first demoed at my apartment in Chicago. There were completely different tones that I had used. When I went to Toronto, I re-recorded it. The basic song structure remained but the sound was totally different.
In 2012, who were some of the Midwestern artists that you enjoyed the most?
And final question, any resolutions for 2013?
I was thinking about that last night. I don’t think I’ve ever done that! I’m really trying to focus on pushing this album, so having that goal and being driven is something I want to work on this year. So, career! [laughs]