Deadsoul Tribe

author PP date 09/08/06

After Psychotic Waltz's announcement that it quits from the metal scene, the band's mainman Devon Graves formed Deadsoul Tribe in 2000. The band released their fourth album, The Dead Word, on the last days of 2005 and has already proved to be a success with former Psychotic Waltz fans and beyond. Devon Graves is the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose music is both philosophical and challenging. "Everything I write has a message, an approach to poetry," he says. "It's the major function of poetry not to provide answers, but to raise questions - to be thought provoking and to create space for individual interpretations." If you find his words interesting, do not hesitate to read the entire interview for a detailed talk about the band's latest album and also about his future plans as a musician and a producer both.

RF.Net: There isn't such a short time to suprise us between January Tree and the Dead Word but we, as fans, we were not expecting you to release the album in 2005. I also read in the promo sheet that it was the fastest album you ever done. I remember Jeff Waters of Annihilator saying "when you feel like writing, you do it, you don't put it other side." Is that also what happens to you?

Devon: That is simply my day to day activity. I have a wonderful workspace in my home and it is tremendously inspiring to be in my studio and just play. Sometimes I get an idea away from the studio and I record it on my mobile phone just to caprure the idea. Lately I did that twice after waking up from a dream where I got an idea or a riff. So, I spend most of the year writing and arranging, then the last few months re-recording the parts "properly" and relplacing my drum machine with Adel.

RF.Net: The album starts with the words "come to me" and finishes with the words "I'd love to take you to my world" It seems to be a concept album or let's say a journey on the angel's wings. The thing is, I do believe that there's a general concept on the album but I also think that there are some songs telling different stories...

Devon: That is an interesting observation, however it is purely coincidental. It is really not a concept album. So far I havent made a true "concept album". I just write songs, I find lyrics to fit the mood and the melody. There is often some kind of connection in that my songs are often about some facet of human existence. Sometimes social, sometimes political, sometimes religious (or perhaps anti all those things).

RF.Net: In the promo sheet, you are saying that "many pieces of the album sound full of hope". To be honest, I can't find many lyrics that are full of hope but some part of the melodies have that...

Devon: Often the verse speak of a problem or a condition and the chorus suggest some sort of answer or solution. Listen again. "I'm gonna take a flight on an angels wing-Far and away she'll carry me home." It's there.

RF.Net: Again something from the promo sheet, you are saying that you owe a lot of inspiration to the Russian author Wladimir Megre and his stories of Anastasia. Actually I didn't read all the books of Anastasia but I know the story in general. I don't think there is a story telling about Anastasia in the album, am i right?

Devon: No not directly about her, but often about what she has to say. She (however not her alone) has greatly affected my whole thinking process, world views and system of beliefs. Those views and ways of thought are what come out in the songs. There are many stories she has told about lost history. For example, "To My Beloved" is an interpretation of part of a story she told which happened in ancient Egypt. It was really the story of how money was invented as a tool to make slaves of all the world, while at the same time appearing to free the slaves which were in bondage. My song is an elaboration of a certain part of that story and not the story itself, about one slave who was preparing a revolt, which is what led to the Priests avoiding the coup with this manouver of freeing everybody, but offering to pay anyone who would stay and work. My song is more about that slave writing a letter to his "Beloved" about his plan to overthrow the Pharoh, perhaps saying goodbye.

RF.Net: "When the voices speak the truth to spread the lie" what does this sentence mean? I mean, is the problem that people can not understand or they just don't want to understand? A distrust of people? So how can we spread the truth? Is that enough if we look at our hearts and find what life is worth? But if we just don't talk about it, how can we be sure that we are away or close to the truth?

Devon: I can use the Bible as an example of what I mean. The history is apparantly true, but grafted in a way that leads people to possibly the wrong conclusion. This is also the way the government uses media for propaganda and thought control. They tell just enough of the truth to lead you to a false conclusion. This is a very powerful and effective method, because it is very difficult to expose this kind of "lie", since the words themselves are true.. Just placed in the order that can dramatically change the meaning.

RF.Net: "Like the ocean turns to rain, I will come back to reclaim" These lines remind me the belief that is accepted by the three religions. As I understand from the whole song, the man is hopeful about his second coming. But that makes me wonder, what is going to change at the second time?

Devon: It is about my own return. It is about my belief of life and death and what it means to be immortal. You left out the most important part "...To reclaim my space of love, where I will rise again." I believe that there are all possibilities existing at once. A spiritual afterlife in a spiritual realm, physical reincarnation here on Earth or perhaps another planet, purgatory (what we call ghosts), and death itself. I think they are all true and each are specific consequences to what some may call the "karma" of the individual spirit. I believe that the best condition of life is to be a living human being on the planet Earth. Especially if we can place back the paradise which was once here. The important thing to stress is this. Is there life after death? I dont know. I have my beliefs as does everyone else, which no one can prove or disprove. But there is one thing of which I have no doubt. There is life NOW. Now is the time to rejoyce. Now is the time to plant the seed. Now is the time to feel and to love and to create. There definately is life before death.

RF.Net: There is a man on the album trying to tell people something. That makes me remember the Messenger in the Murder Of The Crows album. And two of them failed their duties. Is that so hard to tell people something and make them believe?

Devon: Belief in and of itself is not sufficient. With belief comes doubt. What we need is understanding and clarity.

RF.Net: We know that DeadSoul Tribe albums are recorded in your own studio, DeadSoul Temple. With all the experiences you earn through the years, are you thinking to have some other musicians/ bands in the studio for recording and production?

Devon: I am becoming interested in that. As of this moment, I finally built the studio into what I feel is a perfect and very high end facility. That and my experience I have gained along the way have given me the confidence to get deeper into producing, which I do enjoy very much. I am not interested in operating as a recording studio and take bookings from whoever can pay. I would only be interested in bands or musicians who I truly have interest. Especially if there is something I think I can actually help make better. I want to work with good players, and good singers, but most of all, with good songs. Also, I have to like the people. After all, I am not just opening the door to my studio, I am opening the door to my home. But when I do find someone I would like to work with, it is a joy for me because I can enjoy working in my wonderful facility and not be caught up in my own performance. You see, when I am recording myself, the studio is invisible to me. I am only busting ass trying to play or sing to my satisfaction. It would be nice once in a while to place some microphones and relax while someone else does the hard work:) As a matter of fact I am taking on my first project in July. The band is called Dune. It is the new band of Kristoffer Gildenlöw (ex bassist of Pain of Salvation) It features Kris and his lovely wife, Liselotte Hegt who both write, play multiple instruments and exchange lead and backing vocals. They have a drummer in the band and lead guitarist who also does some writing as well. The songs are wonderful and the album will be a true pleasure to produce. There are instruments ranging from distorted electric guitar to piano, cello and double bass. Also there is a lot of sonic experimentation which should be a lot of fun. There is a wide variety of music styles there and I think it is going to be a great album.

RF.Net: I dont know if you have the same idea but I think people make the God an image. And let me create the story, people make the God an image then a man comes in and tells them they are doing wrong then people believe in him, trust him, love him so much that they make him an image, too. Paradox is welcome! What do you think? Isnt it the way things always happen?

Devon: Well, in a way. I think that there is right and wrong. Everyone is born knowing the difference. If you think anyone doesnt know what "wrong" is, you will find they understand "wrong" very clearly when "wrong" is done to them. I believe many people have come on behaf of our creator to help lead the blind through the darkness. I also believe that these people, particularly Jesus, has/have been mis represented in the teachings pertaining to them. My example is simple. I think it was John the Apostle who wrote "..and all of the words that Jesus spoke, and all of his acts are so many, they could not be contained in all the books of the world." First of all, the apostles followed him for only three years, so I think that was a misleading exaggeration, and a convinient excuse to leave out perhaps his most crucial teachings. Secondy, even just one book as long winded as the Bible would have been a worth while effort to tell us a bit more about what he said and what he did. If you take the thickness of that book, say 5 centimeters, and you single out the words of Jesus himself, you would have a fraction of a millimeter. Actually only three or four chapters. Furthermore, those chapters basically repeat the same few selected events. Some elaborate more one one event or another, but generally, the same exact events are recorded from one chapter to the next. Also, you will find that there are discrepencies from one telling to the next. The fact is, there is more time, words, and effort put into how important it is that we believe that Jesus died and was raised from the dead, than there is in anything he was here to teach while he lived. This is why I feel that there is alot of truth being spoken to tell a different "lie".

RF.Net: As for the last question.. That might sound a little bit weird to you but it is only my guess, actually not a guess it is what i feel. Is DeadSoul Tribe going to take a break after that album or no break but are you going to start a new project? As i said, it is just a feeling :)

Devon: The band is definitely taking a break, but I am not. I want to put aside (and have since our tour in January) all live performances for the sake of the next album. Right now is an important time because, though I love the sound and the style I have worked so hard to create, particularly over the last three albums, I feel It is a good time for some change. I formed and developed what I call "Tribal Rock" and it evolved from A Murder of Crows through The Dead Word. I think though, that if I continue in this way, that this style will be more of a limitation than a contribution. The next Deadsoul Tribe album will be a double album. There will be two discs that will be almost opposite. Kind of Yin and Yang. One disc will be more Metal I guess you can say, but generally faster and more aggressive than my past works for the most part. The second disc will be calm, sensual, and atmospheric. Much use of acoustic guitar with clean etherial stratocaster, layered vocal harmonies, lush keyboard soundscapes and a lot of flute playing. Two very different albums sounding like two very different groups, mainly to more intensly satisfy the different moods of the listener. I feel that doing an album this way allows me to go deeper into either direction without feeling any obligation to pull back. It is very inspiring and I already have a great deal written AND recorded for both discs. Being uninterrupted by live concerts and band rehersal has been a major reason why. That, and having a very clear direction.

RF.Net: Thank you very much for your time, Devon. Any last comments to end the interview?

Devon: I think I said enough:) Take care of yourselves, and each other.

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