Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with devəlmāˈker ! Together we discussed the devil making process, traveling the world, their upcoming EP “Antonym Pt. 2”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?
Hello, Mustard! I cannot complain at all. Maybe just a little antsy. I always get nerves right before a release.
2. You are the develmaker. What is required to create a devil?
Damn, that is an amazing question. Being devəlmāˈker is almost an alter ego in many aspects. As the name itself doesn’t have any “devil” connections, just a play on the phrase devil-may-care, I loved the sound of that word. I have dark thoughts that swirl around my head and my music is my way of getting those out. I would never talk about them as Doug McCarthy but under the guise of devəlmāˈker I can express those feelings. But to actually answer your question haha I think creating a devil does need some good to it as the devil would see the good but choose the bad because that’s what they know.
3. Mustard has observed that devils are viewed negatively. What type of devil do you create? What sets your devil apart from society’s perceptions?
My type of devil would be mental for sure. I have a lot of sad feelings and thoughts constantly that I have to not succumb to. Instead of the devil on my shoulder, it’s in my head. I would say what sets it apart is that my devil isn’t evil. Dark, absolutely, but not in an evil sense. I’m always trying to fight the sadness off and sometimes I do that in some unhealthy ways but I am trying to work on it.
4. You’ve traveled the world and been in various bands throughout your 30 year career. Do you have any personal highlights? How has traveling and being in other bands helped you as a solo artist?
I’ve been so lucky and blessed to do what I’ve been able to do in my music career. Umm, I would probably say being in Rolling Stone magazine in Japan. I was the drummer in a band called The Higher and we played in Japan a few different times and we actually had a lot of fans there unlike the states hahaha. Our last trip there we were told we were going to be featured in Rolling Stone and I couldn’t believe it. I still pinch myself sometimes. As weird as it sounds I don’t know if doing those bands things and traveling has helped because what I’m doing now is so different. I do play drums now with the release of “Flagler Blues” but all the songs before were pretty much everything but drums haha. And I don’t plan on doing any shows with this project so it is a different animal for sure.
5. When did you decide to pursue music as a solo artist?
I’ve always wanted to at some point but didn’t really have the confidence to do so. I was always waiting and now it’s like shit, now I’m 40 and decided to give it a go. Dave Grohl has been an inspiration to me forever as a drummer and then learning that that first Foo Fighters record is all him, I was floored and told myself I have to at least try to do that some day.
6. Who (or what) influences you?
This might be a lame answer haha but really everything around me. I can watch a movie and something will pop into my head be it a lyric or a musical part. I walk around my neighborhood a lot and just having some “me time” really clears my head for ideas to just pop in. I’ll make a music note on my phone and go from there.
7. What is your creative process?
It’s truly different for every song. Having a full time job, wife, and a 2 year old, my process usually takes a long time as I only have some time late night to work on stuff. I sometimes take a trip alone and a whole song will come out in one day which is pretty exciting. I’ll look back at my voice notes or videos I’ve taken of me playing a guitar part so I remember how to play it haha. I’ll record the parts and then just kind of sit with them and think, “I don’t know how I did this or where these parts came from.” It’s almost like I black out and hear the finished product and am thankful for my creative brain for taking over haha.
8. Last April saw the release of your EP “Antonym Pt. 1” Could you share what it was like to put this EP together?
It was a long process that went through different iterations of songs. I had 4 in mind but knowing I was going to mix it as well, I went with the 3 finished ones so I could finally get it out into the world. It was an undertaking writing solo songs for the first time with other instruments I’m not super familiar with and also mixing for the first time was crazy to me. I took my time and really wanted to put out a product I was proud of. There were several times I almost just said “fuck it, I can’t do this!” but I didn’t want to give up.
9. Later this month you will be releasing “Antonym Pt. 2” How will these two EP’s connect? What can listeners expect?
There’s not a technical connection but it’s more sad songs so that’s the main theme. You could still play Parts 1 and 2 as a 6 song EP and would still flow pretty well with the track listing changed a bit. For Part 2, I’ve definitely taken a further step in my songwriting with more instrumentation and finally record real drums to really make it a full band sound. I love playing bass too so that was a blast to add as well. One song is more acoustic based like Part 1 and actually not super sad as it is a song for my daughter. This is the final chapter of my Antonym phase and now being more confident I am ready to move on to album mode.
10. The lead single “Flagler Blues” is a heavy but incredibly powerful track. How did it feel to be able to express and address the song’s subject?
Yeah, this was a toughie for me. I’ve battled on a thin line with alcoholism for a long time and really just tried to ignore it. Not many people close to me really know as i can be slick but once again using the devəlmāˈker name as an alter ego I wanted to get it out there and was almost as a safe space for me. The community on twitter that I found of other amazing musicians and friends really made it that much easier to come out with it. This is a song that I’m just laying it all out there on the line and didn’t want to hide behind it.
11. A human gets the chance to see you perform. How would you describe your live performances?
I will not be performing as devəlmāˈker and I don’t see that changing at all. My confidence is still not there and I’m still not the greatest at playing an instrument and singing at the same time so it wouldn’t be great haha. My vocals still make me self conscious and wouldn’t be comfortable in a live setting. I’ve always thought about doing a taped performance at some point that still might be in the cards.
12. What is next for Develmaker?
LP1! I have sort of a radical idea for this one that will be less autobiographical and more story based. I can only say I’m sad in so many ways so wanted to explore a different way to write and expand my lyrical capabilities. Waiting for the Antonym release and promote as much as I can and then my focus will be on a full length record.
13. Where can readers listen to your music?
I am on all streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music and all that good stuff. I kind of jinxed myself with the fancy spelling of devəlmāˈker and realized it was really tough to find on steaming services with the odd characters. So now on steaming if you search for “develmaker” you will find me. I didn’t think anyone was really going to listen so I didn’t think of it much but Ben from A Place for Owls reached out and told me I should try to change it and it’s worked out great.