The Devious Means' album release show tonight at the House of Blues Anaheim has been garnering a buzz for several weeks now, and is even projected to sell out. They've been in the studio since last fall have now they've taken the extra steps to make sure they send deliver their hard work into the world on the right note. Vocalist/guitarist Christopher Faris, bassist Megan Polendo, drummer Jason Mize, keyboardist Rachel Anderson spoke with the Weekly about what they've been doing to prepare for the show (guitarist Andrew Faris was not present).
Polendo's husband and a programmer friend developed a website called likeandfollow.us and Devious Means are using it to promote tonight's concert. “What it does is each of the bands have a picture and a like button underneath and once you “like” all of the bands, you get to download a sampler that has two songs from each band,” she explains. Not only will everyone's likes go up on Facebook, Polendo adds that “the hope is people who come to see us will hear the sampler, and hear other bands and want to come more of the show. It definitely creates a community which is super important to us.”
Songs We Are All Singing is a bold EP that captures the Devious Means' Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Mates of State-influenced sound, and it's the reason they're celebrating. “We strive to be very interactive,” Polendo said. “We write melody lines that people can latch onto. We like hand-clapping and group vocals.” And their interactive aspiration is audible in this recording.
It was funding partially via a successful $4000 Kickstarter campaign. Producer Dallas Kruse of Zion Studios in Santa Ana (who has brought to life the albums of Jameson, Billy Kernkamp, the Ultimate Bearhug and more) is credited with being one of the EP's best assets. Mize says, “He's an over-the-top talented musician.He pushes. Dallas has a way of getting the best out of–getting us to a different place as musicians.”
“You couldn't ask for a better guy to be in that space with,” Faris added.
“Our first EP, we locked ourselves in a room in a weekend or two with Jason Martin of Starflyer 59. It was good and we got to develop from that rather quickly. This was drastically different,” Mize said. The band worked on the EP over a longer period of time. “That's such a huge benefit in any kind of writing or art. Being able to have some separation between us and what we did in the studio…having fresh ears is huge.”
They tried every single idea that came up, so that the album was finished when they felt it was finished, not when they ran out of studio hours.
Their album cover has is reminiscent of a poster from the original Oceans 11 (or N*SYNC, depending on how you look at it). The portraits were digitally-illustrated by Polendo and the album cover was designed by her husband, Rafael Polendo. The cover came from Anderson's love for vintage.
“There are all these nostalgic films being made today because people have a general fondness for the past especially with times that are a bit on the downside right now, it's happening as a pick-me-up,” Mize said. “If anything about this band we are happy people who love our jobs and making music together. Happiness is something we try to manifest because it's who we are and the album does encapsulate that.”
For the launch party, Devious Means made sure to invite supporting acts they believed in. Polendo gives the rundown on the Silent Comedy, Midnight Hour, the Party Robert Jon & The Wreck and Moonsville Collective.
1. Moonsville Collective will start the party, and has been commissioned to keep the dancing going between sets.
“They're a part of the night in a really unique way,” Faris said. “They're going to be [playing] around the room and throughout the venue as the night goes on and the idea is to keep singing along with them, not to have somebody mixing records–which is great–but to try something different. If you're singing and drinkin' and dancin', it creates a more fun and festive atmosphere.”
2.The Party will also be attending the party. “We did a fun little video with Midnight Hour and this group called the Party and it's this three guys who wear horse heads and their whole purpose is to go to shows and dance,” Faris said. “The three of them start dancing and the people around them start going, and the people around them start going.”
3. The Silent Comedy are one of San Diego's largest rising bands. “They're just in a different category in terms of fun, in terms of songwriting, just so many things,” Faris explains “For those that haven't seen them, they have a whole '20s aesthetic going on. Their music at times reminds me of Cold War Kids, at times reminds me of good old rock & roll and gospel music. Other times it's like the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack with a bit of distortion.”
4. Midnight Hour will play before the Silent Comedy. They play tunes that are reminiscent of Neon Trees and old the Killers. “Brad's just–I know he sometimes gets crap for the way he works the stage but I think he's incredible and so fun to watch,” Faris said. “They are the sweetest, nicest guys in the world.”
Robert Jon & the Wreck
“We chose an opening band we really believe in, Robert Jon & the Wreck,” Faris said.“They're great at breakdowns and there's always someone moving on the stage. Even if you're not crazy about the music you will be entertained. Their music reminds me of music I love like the Dead Weather and really groovy, heavy breakdowns. They're all just killer musicians. P
eople are going to be seriously missing out if they show up to see another band and miss out on them.”
6. Everybody else The Devious Means have another treat in store for fans: a choir orchestrated by Dallas Kruse featuring a veritable who's-who of local musicians: Ethan Hulse, Chris Williams, Tully Wilkinson, Trisha Smith (Honeypie), Elizabeth Fernandez (Golden Afternoon).