David Devant & His Spirit Wife
The Professor and I got together through his girlfriend (now wife). She suggested he needed to make friends as they, like myself, had recently moved to London by the sea. Prof would come round to my flat and play a makeshift drum kit, featuring his snare case as a kick drum, as I strummed my way through various songy doodles often singing what I saw. One of these crops up at the end of ‘Work, Lovelife, Miscellaneous’. I lived under two old "sisters" Dolly and Ivy who said they liked the noise as it made them feel like they had company. The Prof and I ate beans on toast quite often at these rehearsals. One day a girl at the college said her friend was once the guitarist in the Monochrome Set and was on the look out for singers. I on the other hand was on the look out for someone who knew how to play the guitar. To cut a long story short I lost my mind. Well no I met Foz (later, ?) in a photocopy resource centre around the corner from a very high mural I had painted – in front of which the Levellers had posed for publicity shots which led to the local rag running a full page 3 article on how they had stiffed a struggling artist and that I had branded them "cheeky" (this in turn led to my humiliating day in college as tutors ribbed me about claiming my money) - and he recognised my art work and said you must be Mikey (I mean Vessel) to which I replied "yo do you want to be in a kool art roc extravaganza which will become a transcendental experience for those who attend their shows?" This last bit is a big fib as it took months of Foz coming to eat toad in the hole (my experimental cuisine period) at our rehearsals before he could be persuaded to join in. This was prefaced by Prof and I going round Foz?'s house to play our songs - who was auditioning who? Just writing this has reminded me what a small place Brighton was then. Our first gig was at the colonel's party and there is a tape of this somewhere with loud heckles from the colonel. Until then he was a proper musician but that night he felt the joy - the power of kindness was upon him. So he agreed to play bass, although he could play the violin.
>What inspires you musically?
At the moment its ‘Rubber Soul’. I loved ‘Freakin’ Out’ by G. Coxon and thought all those comments about its three chord directness were made by people who cannot count. "Put on yer aviator shades - yeah man your looking really great" now I wonder who that was addressed to? I read a bit of the book by Fever Pitch writer Nick Hornby in which he tries to say that older folk are kidding themselves if they still like the likes of Suicide or generally raunchy music. I bet the likes Faithless who to me seem to avoid any semblance of a tune lest it prove to challenging for there spiritually affluent followers. Modest mouse single sounded good today. I'm inspired by sounds, words, ideas, melody, harmony, feelings - I'm not sure what role other peoples music plays in my own except that it excites me - I love Magazine and Eno and Roxy and the laughing gnome of course. ‘Witchita Lineman’. ‘The Model’. ‘The lost art of keeping a secret’.
>What motivates you to record and gig?
The Force. The precious life blood. Honey is sweeter than blood
>What are your future plans for gigs and recordings?
As much as possible
>If the musical world was ideal, it would…
…be a musical
>Suggest a publicity stunt to increase the David Devant & His Spirit Wife profile
Live as if we were in a musical all the time or sit in a glass box for 45 days
>Between the 1st and 2nd albums, there appeared to be a scaling down of the more theatrical elements of the bands live shows and general persona. Was there a particular reason for this?
No we are always lost in the creative moment and what comes out comes out. We never think of stuff as appendages. An idea can be anything you like; a song, a painting, a performance a thought, a balloon
>Should bands make the effort to give their audiences something more than just the basic songs?
It should be something they want to do no a legalisation. Now why don't they want to? It seems we as humans in terms of western progression try to break things down into smaller and smaller chunks instead of distilling things to their essence that is the lifeblood or energy that makes you do it in the first place. It’s not just the senses that get separated, that is to say eyes and ears but the audio components too. Lyrics are part of the music but it seems that they are frequently taken out of context by who? Writers of course. No offence intended. This doesn't mean I won't discuss the words just that I know that when you put them all together with the music they become something else.
>On an DD&HSW curated festival bill, who else would play?
Lazlo Maholy Nagy, Jim Dine, Dan Rubenstein, the Rutles, Magazine, Supergrass (everyone loves em), Heaven 17, Graham Coxon, Joy in Long Division
>What do you consider your best achievements in music?
That I've done this much with so little talent. Are pleasure and achievement the same thing? Certain songs have given me pleasure because musically they have taken me places I never thought I could get to. This is largely due to the maths of the harmony etc ultimately this is not relevant to the sound that reaches people so I will always love the songs that connect with the audience and ‘I’m Not Even Going To Try’ is one that springs to mind on that level, so too does ‘I Think About You’. As far as the former goes as a union of maths and emotion, ‘Who We Are’ is not bad (see also ‘Groover’, ‘21’, ‘Life On A Crescent’).
>What more would you like to achieve with your music?
Shiney car, bacon, big house, my own golf course/football club
>When you are not working with the band, what do you do with your lives?
Everything is connected not bite sized chunks of living
>What, with regards the UK music scene, upsets you?
The amount of adverts on XFM and then when they do play a song its either the Strokes or the Killers so you try Radio One cos the car doesn't have a digital receiver and its the Strokes (who I do like just not so much of one song)
>What, with regards the UK music scene, delights you?
South east bands. Bands like Art Brut who are doing it for the hell of it. Ideas and passion.
>Please name your 6 discs for a Desert Island?
Peter and the wolf (male narrator), Holst – ‘The Planet Suite’, Magazine – ‘Real Life’, ‘All Mod Cons’, ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ (cos I'd rather stay here with all the mad men), The Damned – ‘Strawberries’
>3 Books for a desert island?
Slaughterhouse 5, Deptford trilogy, What a carve up
>1 Luxury Item for a Desert Island?
A mirrored ceiling
>Any other words of wisdom?
Don't let the bastards grind you down. This fanzine is a political act as it reminds management that you are not a statistic.