Interview with Devon Graves, DeadSoul Tribe (December 2, 2005)

As a lot of you probably know, the main man behind DeadSoul Tribe is Devon Graves. I am pretty sure you all the know Devon’s background, but just as a reminder – he was the lead singer in now disbanded American progressive metal legends Psychotic Waltz before moving to Europe and starting DeadSoul Tribe. I have put a few questions about the past, present and future together for Devon

Kenn – “The Dead Word” is now your fourth DeadSoul Tribe album – how pleased are you with it?
Devon : I am pretty happy with it. I think the production is getting to where I want it to be and the songs are some of my favourites. 

Kenn – You are almost taking care of all aspects of the album by yourself, but do you still consider DeadSoul Tribe to be a band?
Devon : It is a band in the live sense. When we are touring we all suffer the same hardships and reap the same rewards together. In the studio it really can be considered a solo project for the most part. I never intended it to be otherwise, though a band name is more appealing than an artists name to me. That is why I gave it a bands name. I sought additional players other than a drummer strictly so I could perform live.

Kenn – Your music has always been very emotional, but what emotions do you think describes your music the best?
Devon : I try to convey a sense of longing I think. I think that is a feeling that most human beings can identify with. 

Kenn – You have never been afraid to use various unique instruments – like the flute – have you had any kind of training? And has Jethro Tull been a source of inspiration?
Devon : I had no training other than a few guitar lessons and a stack of Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath and Hendrix records.

Kenn – You are about to embark on a tour in the beginning of 2006 with Sieges Even, what kind of expectations do you have for this tour, and who will be joining you on stage?
Devon : I will have the same line up everyone is familiar with. We are planning a very long set which spans every DeadSoul Tribe album and a few PW songs.

Kenn – Psychotic Waltz has been a big inspiration to a lot of new progressive metal bands. How does it make you feel when young bands mention Psychotic Waltz as a source of inspiration?
Devon : I don’t hear that as much as you might think. Most bands don’t discuss this with me. I do meet people who tell me we have influenced them and I heard a few bands where the influence is a bit clear, so I am happy that I was a part of something so influential. However I feel that most of this kind of influence does not come directly from my contributions to that band. Mainly I think they are referring to the guitar and rhythm arrangements which Dan, Brian and Norm were responsible for, as that is what I hear most often mimicked.

Kenn – I always thought Psychotic Waltz had their own rather unique style. But you never managed to be more than a big name in the underground. Was it your style, sound, the times or combination, that worked against you?
Devon : Who knows? Maybe we worked against ourselves. Sometimes that is how it felt, but the timing was a big part too. If you follow the evolution of Metal from Zeppelin and Sabbath, to Judas Priest, to Iron Maiden, to Queensr˙che, it seemed that Psychotic Waltz could have been the next step. Unfortunately there was no next step. Metal pretty much ended at that point and was taken over by Grunge, then by alternative then crossover, nu-metal and so forth. At least as a mainstream art form, heavy metal was ending just as we were coming in.

Kenn – reunions have been very popular lately, would you ever consider a reunion tour or album with Psychotic Waltz, or is that a part of you past?
Devon : I would be up for it under some limited conditions. I wouldn’t want to go back to that whole life, but a gig or two would be fun for me. Even a new album could be interesting, but also only under certain conditions. Namely that we make the best music possible, not try to sell the most records possible. You know what I mean?

Kenn - What are you plans for DeadSoul Tribe in the future, or do you have plans for something else besides DeadSoul Tribe?
Devon : I will continue on to explore into something with DeadSoul Tribe, but perhaps to introduce some further development of my style. I feel inspired to create and ready for a bit of change. I feel that my masterwork is still ahead of me.

Kenn - Let’s play an association game, please tell us your first spontaneous thoughts about the following key words:

Europe vs. USA
Devon: Europe recycles responsibly but everything is closed on Sunday. America had a very impressive selection of breakfast cereal.

Religion in music
Devon : Preachy 

Politics in music
Devon : Masturbatory

Soccer or NFL
Devon: Neither

Kenn - Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?
Devon : Jimi Hendrix is everything the ultimate rock star should be. He was my biggest idol and still is.

Kenn - Last question - do you have any famous last words for our readers?
Devon : I don’t think any of my words are famous, let alone these last ones, but in the words of the late great pappy Rock... “Enjoy!”


DeadSoul Tribe - The Dead Word

Album out on InsideOut Music.

Click on the album to see more info on DeadSoul Tribe.