Interview: DEVLIN
Title: Dances with the devil

The conception of Devlin dates back to 1994, when Marcus Ehlin of Swedish Black Metal vampires Siebenbürgen began work on an obscure side project. Devlin has taken many forms, as well as indulged in many names, since its humble beginnings, but it was not until the end of 2001 that Marcus decided to pursue more serious goals with the material collected during these years. 

In February 2002, Mr. Ehlin recorded a three-track demo, including the songs „Underworld”, „Fade” and „Dying Dream”, which he immediately sent on to Austrian Napalm Records for feedback. 

It didn’t take long before the label offered him a deal and Marcus began recording Devlin's debut album „Grand Death Opening”. It contains marvelous melodic and strong Dark Heavy Metal. 

An informative dialogue with the busy axeman from Järfälla shall bring Devlin closer now.

Hey Marcus, how did develop your creative spirit in the past?

„My creativity has only grown bigger and bigger during the years. I think it’s normal. As the time goes by you start to get a lot of different musical ideas, which sometimes don’t fit in the same league. That happened to me and I created Devlin, and I’m glad that I did. It has been a pleasure to record `Grand Death Opening`. I started in June 2002, and ended in September 2002. I recorded it in Dead Bitch Studios, I worked as musician, technician and producer. A lot of hard work, but the result was more than pleasing, so it was worth every drop of blood.”

The main reason for you to raise Devlin?

„I wanted to do something new, something without boundaries. With Siebenbürgen I’m rather locked up on how things should sound, with Devlin I’m not. With Devlin I can get use of all my inspirations, I can get the most out of my creativity. I think that was the main reason why I started it. The material for Devlin don’t fit under the Siebenbürgen banner, and I think that the material is too good to just sleep under the dust. Devlin will not just have one sound, it will be colored by many styles during the albums. So don’t be surprised what you will hear.”

When you´ve started first with the thinking about the establishment of Devlin, in fact already around 1994?

„It’s true that I have been working on it for the past eight years, but it’s not until now I have started to work more serious with the material. During the years I have collected a lot of ideas, but it was not until the end of 2001 I started to put it together. On `Grand Death Opening` most of the tracks are newly written, but some parts is from 1994. Devlin has changed names, the music has changed from instrumental to vocal based and so on.”

What does the band‘s name mean, devilish oriented?

„Devlin stands for anything impure in man. It stands for death in all its glorious forms. It’s about dark obsession, obsession in the pure sense. About dreams and passion, the beauty of death. Devlin is a suicide nightmare.”

Did it take much time to find members for Devlin?

„No, Devlin consists only of me and Lexi. The biggest time `trap` has been for me to decide if I should release something or not. Siebenbürgen has taken so much time for me during the past eight years, so it feels great to be able to focus on something different right now. This does not mean that I don’t care or want to give my time to Siebenbürgen, but I think it will help me in the writing process for the Bürgers as well. The more you write, the more experience you get. I stand for words and music, and she stands for the lead vocals, but I don’t know what happens in the future. Maybe Devlin will grow into a full member band, or maybe not. Right now I really don’t know, we will have to see I guess.”

How did you find Lexi?

„I found Lexi just a couple of weeks before the recordings, so it was really that I was lucky to call a friend of mine in the right time. I had met Lexi before, but as she has her own musically carrier so I didn’t knew if she was interested or not. But she was, after just one listening she decided to work with me, and I’m really glad that she wanted. I think that she has a great voice, and she is really easy to work together with.”

There‘s to read that she has got only two weeks to study all the new song material … how was the collaboration with her?

„Lexi is very talented, so there was no problems, besides the stress, and if the stress wasn’t enough, we recorded her vocals during the warmest days this summer. Poor little Lexi, he he… trapped in a little song booth for a couple of weeks. Consider 30 degrees outside plus a claustrophobic song booth. It’s not the best situation for your psychical health, I believe, he he…”

Does she sing only the vocals on „Grand Death Opening”?

„Lexi is the lead vocalist of Devlin. I performed the guitars, male vocals, keyboards and programmed the drums. Then I had some friends doing some vocal and guitar performances. Rosdahl, Brockert and Bryngelsson from the Bürgers, Martin from Hollenthon and Marcus von Boisman did some vocals, and Fredrik (Siebenbürgen) did two guitar solos. It will be fun to begin to record the next album, I already know which people I will ask.”

Can Devlin be seen as another side-project with only one or two album releases in focus?

„No, Devlin is not just another side-project. I will focus and work very hard with it. Right now I have plans for two more albums after `Grand Death Opening`. Then we will have to see what happens. I really hope that I can for fill all my ideas concerning Devlin, I have just started to work on some new tracks, which are guaranteed to kick some major ass.”

How would you personally describe the style of Devlin, maybe Epic Dark Gothic Heavy Metal?

„I find it hard to fit Devlin under just one label. It crosses so many different styles I think, but the background is Metal. I have asked many different people how they would label Devlin, and I have received as many answers as the people I have asked. One of them said: „theatrical porno pop Metal”, he he. So it’s a hard nut to crack, but I really don’t find it too interesting what kind of music it is. It’s not so important I think. Devlin is about music, may it be Rock or Metal, Gothic or not, I really don’t care.”

Will you have all the time you need for Devlin in the future?

„I’m sorry to say no to that question. My time seems never to be enough, but I try to do the best of it. In march 2003 I will begin school, I will study to a sound engineer and my time will be even more insufficient. I will do my best though, hopefully recording the next Devlin album in the summer of 2003, and fit in a recording of the next Siebenbürgen album, and right now I’m working on the Devlin homepage which will see the light of day in November. A lot of things to do, and so less time. The curse of man…”

What say your band colleagues at Siebenbürgen about your activities with Devlin?

„He he, well I don’t think they have any problems with Devlin, and if they do, I wouldn’t listen to them anyway he he… No, seriously, as long as I write songs to Siebenbürgen they don’t complain. All they members of Siebenbürgen has their own project in one way or another. I mean, everyone in Siebenbürgen has had the same opportunity to make music on the side, so it wouldn’t be right of them to be negative about this.”

Line-up changes to expect?

„As Devlin has been a one man `band` until recently, I have to say no to that question. The only problem was just before the recordings of `Grand Death Opening`, when I broke with my previous female vocalist. She had a problem to see the difference between private things and to professional things. You must make a difference to personal life and working life if a relationship can work out. So I had to make a really hard choice which I don’t regret today, but it resulted in that I don’t have a girlfriend anymore today.”

„Grand Death Opening” – what is the meaning of the album title?

„It means that it’s a grand opening, the premiere for Devlin. A grand death opening! That’s another thing that is different to Siebenbürgen, `Loreia`, `Grimjaur`, `Delictum` and `Plagued Be...` is all names of song from the album. `Grand Death Opening` is not, it’s a description of the whole album. Devlin is not Siebenbürgen, and Siebenbürgen is not Devlin.”

Did you write all the new songs for „Grand Death Opening”?

„Yes, I wrote all the music, except for the Billy Idol cover of course. As usually when I write I start with the music, and continues with the lyrics, and then I put it together in the end. That is the way that works best for me.”

Be so kind and explain the main lyrical content of the Devlin album!

„The songs are a journey through death and dying. Starting in the underworld, ending in the grave. It’s not a `theme` album, but it runs a red line between all the songs, connecting them in the end.”

What is the specific lyrical meaning behind the compositions on „Grand Death Opening”?

„Most of the Devlin lyrics are really personal, I wrote them under great psychical stress, perhaps one of the hardest times in my life. These lyrics isn’t `diffuse` at all I think, but I hope the listener will make his/her own picture of it. I mean, words are only guidelines, what you make out of it when you read it, is up to your own mind to decide. As I said, most of the lyrics on `Grand Death Opening` was written during one of the hardest times in my life, and it would be rather strange if that wouldn’t colored the words. I don’t see myself as an destructive person, I rather see me as a productive person. I don’t think that I’m the most `alive` person around, but I try to do the best of the situation called life. I know that I make some glorifications of suicide/dying in my lyrics, and that I find beauty in death. That subject has always been close to my heart, as long as I can remember. Why I don’t try to talk or explain too much what my lyrics is about is because that I want that the listener should make his/her own picture of the songs, his/her own atmosphere. I don’t want to destroy that. As I said before, my words are just guidelines, not a tutorial…”

Which were the main inspirations to date for the music of Devlin?

„I get inspiration from so many different things. I can’t just put my finger on something special. When I get inspiration, I just sit down and write, but some albums that spins more than others in my CD player are: Nocturnal Rites `Afterlife` (one of the best albums I have ever heard), Halford `Resurrection` (10 out of 10!!!), Cradle Of Filth `Midian` and `Cruelty And The Beast` (Kicks major ass), Mourthound, Rammstein, Manson, Black Sabbath and so on…”

Will we see Devlin ever live? One hope so!

„I hope so too. It depends on how things turns out, but if we get a chance to perform live, we surely will. Believe me. I love playing live, so I think there is a fat chance for an upcoming tour or something like that, but as I said, everything depends on so many different circumstances.”

Your pretty well done cover version of „White Wedding Day” was one of Billy Idol´s greatest hits in the past! Why did you choose especially this song?

„Well, I’m really pleased with it myself. It was really fun to make that Devlin touch to it. I have chosen it because I think it’s a really great song. I hope Mr. Idol likes it too, he he…”

Last words to the fans of Siebenbürgen, and also to the new listeners of Devlin?

„Well first of all, thanx Markus for this opportunity and for your support, then I must say to all the Bürgen fans, there has been some rumors about us the past year, and I have not quit Siebenbürgen, Anders is not dead, he is so alive and thriving as he ever could have been, and there will be a new album next year! About Devlin: I hope that all of you have understand what Devlin is about now, and that your interest to know more has grown. `Grand Death Opening` is just the beginning, there is so much more to explore, so many more worlds to conquer, so many more deaths to die…”

© Markus Eck, 17.10.2002

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