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Devlin interview: 'New album keeps away from dance music'

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Devlin

© John Wright



Despite only being 23-years-old, British MC Devlin has spent nearly a decade grafting in the music biz.

The rapper released his debut album Bud, Sweat and Beers in the UK back in 2010 and planning to achieve bigger commercial and critical acclaim with its follow-up A Moving Picture later this year.

Digital Spy caught up with the wordsmith to talk about his new, Ed Sheeran-assisted single 'Watchtower', whether he ever considered "going dance" and how he's feeling about his headline slot at Underage Festival next month.

What's the fan response been like to 'Watchtower'?
"It's been really good, it's been my fastest-growing song, I'd say. There's lots of hype around it. There's been a bit of a negative response from the older fans, but the younger ones are liking it."

Because the new album is called A Moving Picture, does that mean the video will be part of a bigger series of films?
"That's partly the reason why I chose Corin Hardy's treatment - it fitted nicely with the album title. We're not sure, but we might try and tie some things together with the other videos. We're early doors at the moment, so I think we're just going to see how well 'Watchtower' does."

Will we find out who stabbed Ed Sheeran?
"We're in discussions now. That may be addressed in the next video, or it pop up in a later video. I can't give too much away."

Devlin in 'Watchtower' music video.
Ed Sheeran in Devlin's 'Watchtower' music video.


We see you acting in the music video, is that something you'd like to do more of in the future?
"I was just really lucky that there were a load of good actors around that day, because they really helped and put me at ease. I'm not sure I'd do it myself. I really respect their talent and their ability just to switch it on in front of the cameras, but I'm sure if I've got the front for that! It was enjoyable and something different, so maybe in the next couple of years."

Is 'Watchtower' a good indication of what we can expect from your new album A Moving Picture?
"We've got big epic songs like 'Watchtower' on the record because I wanted to make an album with a cinematic vibe to it. A lot of my songs from over the years contain deep subjects with orchestral sounds underneath that does me justice. There's different styles on there like old-style grime. The way I'm flowing on beats can be a bit like dirty old-school. There's a couple of nice collaborations on there as well."

How else has your sound progressed from Bud, Sweat and Beers?
"The last two years I've encountered different inspirations and I've grown up. As an artist, my wordplay has got better and the music a bit more grimier. It's on a different level now and I feel like it's been a transition."

A few big names from the grime scene have moved towards a more electronic dance sound; did you ever consider doing the same?
"I couldn't touch any of the dance stuff. I do rap and grime music. Certain tracks I've had to be clever with because I've been in this game for 10 years and it's my time to earn a bit of money now. But at the end of the day, I need my credibility and it's not all about money."

Devlin

© John Wright



You're headlining Underage Festival in August; is it a daunting prospect performing to a crowd of under-18 sober teenagers?
"[Laughs] I had never thought about it like that! The kids have naturally got that energy with all the screaming. The energy is there from the beginning."

Did you have any festival experiences as a youngster?
"To be honest mate, I didn't. I went to my first festival earlier this month at Hard Rock Calling to see Bruce Springsteen. That's the first time I've been to festival as part of the audience. I enjoyed it. It was a nice experience to be on the other side for a change."

How did you feel about the gig being cut short because of the curfew?
"That was a liberty, man. They went over, but you can't really switch off Springsteen. He didn't even get to say goodbye to the crowd and I think that's all he really wanted to do. It was a bit of a liberty."

What can fans expect from your own tour later this year?
"I can't wait for my next tour. We'll have the band performing the new album and we'll be doing some of the classics. I think the set's going to be proper mad with energy and I've come a long way with the performance side of things. It was never my strong point, but now I'm just dying to put on a show and we'll definitely bring a few people out for that tour. There will be a few surprises."

Devlin's new single 'Watchtower' will be available to download from August 19, while new album A Moving Picture follows on October 29. Tickets for Devlin's headline set at Underage Festival are on sale now.

Watch the music video for Devlin's 'Watchtower' below:



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