Rock Rage Spotlight: Interview with Devils Envy frontman Angel Graves

todayAugust 26, 2022 190 2 5

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All questions answered by lead vocalist , Angel Graves: 

You guys are from Florida, how is the music community in Florida? 

The music community, at least in Central Florida, is very diverse. There was a time where it felt a bit more unified. Like any other community, there are some bands or entities that compete with each other. Sometimes, friendly rivalries or at times, personal. All in all, it’s still very active and engaging. It’s quite the large melting pot of many local talents! There has been a recent increase in local bands in Orlando hitting radio charts and growing out of the local scene and going National. We definitely love and appreciate our CF rock/metal family, as any success just shows us we still have a good shot at it.

Tell me about the band name and what does the name mean to you and your music? 

– The band name is something we’ll probably never get tired of explaining, as it holds its weight in meaning and value to us as creatives; It came from lyrics to a poem I had written years ago… “The devils envy the light in me…” Basically means that no matter how hard we try to do good, the devils or opposers will envy the light you have inside of you… that driving force that moves us to become our best selves. Often we get our name misspelled, “Devil’s Envy” which has a totally different meaning than what our name truly stands for; So we try to explain WHY our name does not have an apostrophe, but I guess “auto-correct” doesn’t agree at times. And although, we have been told in the past that our ‘ won’t ever be marketable’… or, it ‘sounds too negative… etc, etc.” We knew the meaning of it would catch on eventually, as it is more of a positive message behind it.

The logo is called a “devil-dove” , a hybrid creature representing duality between the light and the dark. We still believe that instead of jumping to a trendy name or something catchy that’ll help us “blow up”, it’s better to stick with what we have. Just like all the great rock bands that came before us, they were all firm believers in longevity, especially with their brand / name. Unlike today, where most acts will dump an entire project if they didn’t go viral within the first 2-3 years. We’re not about that. We believe that the longer it stays, the greater the meaning.

What has 2022 been like so far for the band? Any Show Highlights? 

– This year has been a strange one for us; In February, we called a band meeting and all agreed to take a break for about 6-8 months, as the previous years of 2020 and 2021 hit us very hard. Not only from the pandemic, but we expanded our team with management, and a small boutique record label (which we won’t mention). Things did not go the way we planned with both teams, so we decided to

part ways with them. Then this year we decided to shut down the recording studio, and reconvene at a later date to discuss releasing the record. Fast forward to now, we went back to our old school ways of running our band, by leaving out the middle men and continuing on ourselves.

We look up to bands like September Mourning and Avenged Sevenfold, who are on the forefront of NFT’s, and it’s been a huge discovery for us. We learned that our fans can now have a stake in our success as a group, where if they decided, “Hey, I supported this band during the growth process, I no longer need the token or nft, so I can sell to someone else interested at a profit,” using crypto currency wallets to hold them. All of this we go over in detail on our Discord server we call the “DevilDove Club,” where we even have channels on there to help up and coming bands start their own communities and

offer clever utilities with their NFT’s, like VIP tickets, merch, a day at the studio or VIP experiences; it can be anything you decide to input into the smart contracts that are embedded on the blockchain as proof. Essentially, it’s a new way to share an experience with new listeners who may discover us recently, on a fast growing platform that is the Ethereum / Polygon Blockchains.

On the New Single, tell our audience a little backstory of the song? 

– Funny story, this song was written back in 2017, with our old bass player Jeff Fernandez. It was Sean (drummer), myself, and Jeff in the recording studio late at night, we were going over some riffs and Jeff wrote probably the sickest riff we’ve ever written as a band at the time… I took the riff idea and turned it into an entire song. I brought the track home, and the lyrics came to me from past experiences of being pushed too far, and also relating to the movie “Teen Wolf” while I was watching it one night. That’s when the hook came to me during the basketball game scene, as Michael J Fox’s character just transformed in front of everyone leaving them all shocked. So I wanted to incorporate that shock-value in our song to just belt out a chorus, gang-vocal style. Giving it that anthemic and classic rock n’ roll attitude.

Where did you guys record the new single? Take us through the process of writing to the finished product? 

– We wrote and recorded the single at Tone Distillery in Longwood, FL. A studio we all co-owned with local Producer, Barton Hill (songwriter / prod. for The Lacs, Leaving Haven).

Our writing process usually starts with Sean and I going through riff ideas, and listening to a lot of the ideas Brian (guitars), and Paul (bass) bring to the table. The recording process for this track was pretty traditional, in the sense that we have the parts arranged and ready to be tracked by each member individually. It was a very fun song to track, as each member had other parts to include besides their own instruments. From gang vocals to growls, and screams. We always have a great time together in the studio.

Somebody who has never seen Devils Envy Live, describe what a live show is like? 

– From what we’ve heard and read from our fans even from other bands, we usually get the “was not expecting you guys to sound / perform like that…”, When we had opened for other national acts, we would also get “most opening acts sound like opening acts, but you guys don’t.” We definitely put a lot more thought into our live shows over what we look like on social media. I feel like so many artists get lost in that aspect trying to become “algorithm experts” instead of staying true to themselves. Social Media completely removed the mystique of being in a band away. So how do we fix that? By not doing what everyone else is doing, and trying to improve our live show more and more. Regardless if there are 30 people or 1,000 people, we perform like it’s our last show. Our fans that go to our shows know we don’t mess around. We pride ourselves in being an energetic live act that is tough to follow. But don’t take my word for it! Our listeners will happily tell you what our shows are like. It’s not a big difference, setup-wise, than what other bands are doing, but you’ll know when Devils Envy takes the stage as we set the vibe so we stand out. It’s mostly all because of the connection we have among ourselves as musicians, and how we engage with our live audience. There’s no greater feeling than having your fans who later become our friends, singing along to our music because it means something

to them. And of course, it’s nice to let loose to loud drums, bass, and guitars underneath some punk-styled vocals! We like to keep it real and in-your-face, 100% of the time.

What is in store for 2023 for Devils Envy? 

– We are planning to get more shows lined up, hopefully a tour, to support the release of the record. Definitely working on more video content this year to release next year, as well.

What were the top 3 best things about working and being in Devils Envy? 

1- The guys and I all joke around that individually we hold some interesting day-time jobs; myself being an Audio Engineer and Tour Manager for P.O.D. and Nonpoint. Our drummer runs his family’s food equipment business, our bass player works in Finance, and our guitar player is an IT Specialist. We recently began the recruiting process for our next member to take on the role of 2nd guitars… he’s actually a CRNA; We call him Doc. We’ll announce who that is in a few months! We’re all very different individuals, and we have a great musical chemistry.

2- We are all very good friends and always enjoy our time hanging out and talking about our next moves as a band. I’ve known Sean since I moved to Florida after leaving the Army. He and I were in a band called Stiletto Red in 2012, which was more of an alternative band. Our group chats definitely make my day, as some of the funniest stuff is shared there.

3- We’re definitely a brotherhood. We’ve gone through tough times together, and probably would not have made it out if we didn’t have each other’s backs the way we have over the years. I love the dynamic we have, we’re all open to new ideas and it’s a nice setting to be in as a band.

Lyrically give me a little insight on the song, got to say that was an eye catcher for a song title? 

– I’m sure many of us can relate when we think back to a time where the wrong person pushed the right buttons at the wrong time, and it’s at the point where all the pent up anger is unleashed like hell on Earth. Where it’s too late for apologies, too late for brush offs.

There’s this saying that ‘you don’t call out the devil unless you’re ready to face him,’ and as someone who has his faith and tries his absolute best to be a good person, that monster we’ve worked so hard to bury comes out at the right time, and it usually is when the instigator is deserving of it.

I know and understand that it might come off as shocking to some, but music is the only therapeutic outlet I have for these types of emotions. And I think it’s a beautiful thing we should continue to talk about, as many of us who transition back out into the civilian world from the military can understand that artistic expression is our safe space for some of us, where we can unleash that and feel relieved that the protector in us just wanted to blow off some steam.

What is one thing you would change about the music industry? 

– Buy-on requests for smaller bands to play a show/festival/ tour who virtually make little money. – Change the “Popularity over Seniority” stigma. It’s heartbreaking to see bands that we look up to, and have been in the game for 20-30+ years with great followings and legendary statuses, opening for the new band / artist that recently grew in popularity rapidly.

– Gatekeepers that’ll only support signed acts or acts of a specific genre.

– The hard focus on social media / streaming numbers over the quality of the music.

Any words of advice to your fans or the music community around the world? 

– I honestly don’t like offering advice to anyone who didn’t ask for it, but from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU for those that actually LISTEN, FOLLOW, and SHARE our music; The genuine supporters.

My only piece of advice I kindly offer our community is to HYPE up your friend’s small band over the big ones EVERYONE already knows about. This goes to anyone related to the band; It can also be discouraging to watch Producers, Artists, Photographers, people we’ve worked with favor and do FREE work and promo for bigger acts that can afford the services, and then upcharge the little guys, and then won’t even bother to share the work they paid you for, as if it’s shameful to do so, because well, “they won’t get exposure that way” whatever excuse they may be thinking. Encouragement will build stronger relationships. One-upping each other will only drive guys like us to figure out a way to work our way up and start the change ourselves.

Also bands, whether you are big or small, sharing a new song or album that your friends put out without them needing to ask, shows genuine support. It takes zero effort and costs zero dollars to hype up your colleagues. We need to stop competing for chart spots, high stream counts, all of that just divides us. There should be no “Best Single”, “Best New Artist” “Best Song” etc… I believe that all needs to go away. I think it’s all been washed and the industry has been treating it like the Sports industry, and we’re at a point where ulterior motives are always there because of it, when they shouldn’t be. I’m honestly curious to see where we will all be as an industry.

I guess the best approach right now is to be the change we want to see.

Anything else I missed asking that you guys are gearing up for, for the rest of 2022? – We are currently working on something special for 2022. Cannot say just yet. Just simply, stay tuned!


Written by: Road Dog

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