premiere: dev, a day in the life
+ 21 questions with the singer.
photo by rose cefalu, courtesy of dev
When I picked up the phone to speak with DEV about her new EP, Bittersweet July, if you want me to be honest, I didn't really know what to expect. It's been three years since the release of her debut album and absurdly catchy collaborations with The Cataracs and in that time, DEV has become a mother, a fiancee, and a beauty collaborator. What I found on the other end was someone so insanely sweet, funny, intelligent, and (excuse the cliche) down-to-earth.
Check out our game of 21 questions below and find out all about her new EP (out today), hair secrets, and signature poses. Then make sure to watch the premiere of "Bittersweet July x A Day In The Life", a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Bittersweet July.
Where are you right now?
I’m at my home in Los Angeles.
If you could teleport anywhere in the world where would you go?
Right now? Any place in the world? Barcelona because I’ve never been and my fiancé always rubs it in my face because it’s his favorite place in the world.
Your EP Bittersweet July is coming out. How is it different from anything else you’ve produced?
I’d like to think that I felt, and hopefully sounded, a little bit more comfortable with myself this time around. My first album that I put out, the subject matter of it was very much me at 19 and 20 and having “Like A G6” on the radio and kind going through crushes and wild nights and stuff. I think now being a fiancé and a mother, some of the songs lean a little bit more to be girly and vulnerable but of course I still like to drink champagne and stuff so there’s that in there too. I’ll always be sassy for sure, but I do think that, hopefully, people will be able to tell that I’m more comfortable with myself this time around.
What’s your favorite activity to get you in the girly mindset?
It’s probably either shopping, which is one of my favorite things or making out with my fiancé; that’s pretty fun.
Where are your favorite places to shop?
I like TENOVERSIX here in LA. I’ve been going there a bunch and Creatures of Comfort. I like that store too.
Who did you work with on the EP?
I worked with Benny Cassette, who is a producer, and we did a song together called “Honey Dip” that’s on the EP. I also worked with my friend NanosauR, who’s a producer out of Oakland and we’ve known each other for six years so it was fun getting back with him to do the other four tracks together. For writing, I worked with my friend Campa, who I did pretty much almost everything with him for my first album; and he was part of The Cataracs. And then MNDR, who I absolutely love; she’s so badass and awesome and Stacy Barthe too. It was cool to be able to get in with some girls this time around too, which was fun.
How would you describe your sound on the album?
That’s such a hard thing for me to answer. It depends. I like to think I still celebrated what my fans loved the first time around or what they know me for, I guess. There’s a few tracks on there like the song “Honey Dip” and the song called “Kids” that I think celebrate that “Bass Down Low” and “In The Dark” vibe and then I feel like “Feel It” and “Who Need A Heart” and those tracks really, I think, take it to another level of growth a little bit, sort of like a graduated sound, not to sound too cliche or corny. I’d like to think that there is some style stuff that people will remember but hopefully there’ll be a little change, a little switch up for them and hopefully they’ll enjoy the other records as well. So yeah, I don’t know, I’d like to think there’s a little bit of growth there, which is cool, I think that’s definitely something I want to celebrate. It has been a few years, two years actually, since I put music out so it was important for me to kind of step out of this comfort zone in a sense. Theres only five tracks on the EP but I’d like to think there’s enough of the old stuff in there but theres a little bit of new stuff too.
Was that something you continuously brought up during the recording process?
Yeah, I think so. It was most important for me when I first started the process to go in there and make a bunch of records. I didn’t even use a lot of them, but almost so I could know and feel and say that I did it, like big pop records and stuff I wasn’t sort of used to doing which is super fun for me and it was rad to be able to work with all these other people and learn things from them and soak up that whole side of stuff. I think the past six months when I got in with my friend NanosauR, I first met him when I first put out music like on Myspace in 2008, so I’ve known him for awhile, when I first got in with him I think I found a good groove. I was like "Okay, cool, I can do a good mix of having the record sound, like I said before, celebrating the old but also the new." It was probably just this past summer when that kind of happened, but for sure I think for the first year I was recording I was definitely just trying to do everything that I had never done before, which is super fun but also really scary.
What was your favorite scene or snippet from your behind-the-scenes videos?
It depends. I like everyone to see the performance stuff. I think that that’s awesome and it’s definitely celebrating the EP and stuff, but I do like when they can see like the personal side, like if there’s little clips of me being goofy or like laughing at myself or my daughter. I like those moments too so I guess it depends but I do like when people get to see the other side of stuff for sure.
"I’d like to think there’s a little bit of growth there, which is cool, I think that’s definitely something I want to celebrate. It has been a few years, two years actually, since I put music out so it was important for me to kind of step out of this comfort zone in a sense."
What are your future plans musically? Are you working on an LP, or another EP...?
Yeah, that’s funny that you asked me that. I just recently decided that very soon I am getting back in. I think I might switch it up and get out of L.A. to do that but yeah getting back in the studio and recording more music. I’d like to do a few shows, like a little tour to celebrate Bittersweet July. I’m excited. It feels so good to finally have music out and get everything moving.
So, I saw that you saw Katy Perry in concert last week.
I did! It was fucking awesome. My daughter is a massive Katy Perry fan and I obviously love Katy. I saw her in 2008 at Warped Tour for sure so it was awesome. I’m friends with DJ Skeet Skeet and he hooked us up with some tickets and my daughter had a whole freak attack the whole time and I kind of did too so it was awesome. The show was amazing, I mean Katy killed it. It was great.
What’s your favorite Katy Perry song?
That’s just so hard. There’s a few tracks off of her first album that I just love. I think probably her song “Lost” off the new one and “This Is How We Do”. I think it’s super cute and sassy. It just depends on my mood where my Katy Perry songs go. She’s cool — she pull off a bunch of different stuff but I feel like she stays true to herself which I think is super cool. I love her.
Where did the name Bittersweet July come from?
My birthday is actually in July and for the past two years as I’ve been recording this EP they were really intense years.I was finding myself celebrating some of the coolest stuff that’s happened, you know really bright moments and I was also going through some stuff on the other end, where it was really dark and difficult moments and I was simultaneously trying to record the EP and in and out of the studio. It kind of just made sense at the end when I’m putting it all together, one song happened to be really cute and about me and Jimmy and the baby and one song would be really sad so it made sense to me to title the EP based off the past two summers. It made the most sense to me and that’s where Bittersweet July came from.
Who would you say have been your biggest musical influences since you were a child?
I remember my dad always playing The Doors, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Queen. Growing up that switched so much, my dad bought meThe Chronic. I love Dr. Dre and obviously like Snoop and Eminem — I loved all that stuff. I think it always goes back and forth, but I love so many genres. I love Robyn, Lykke Li, and I think they’re super badass. I think it just depends I guess. I like to listen to a little bit of everything.
What has been your favorite venue to play at?
Here in the states, there are so many good ones. I have really cool memories at a lot of them. I recently just replayed The Mezzanine in San Francisco which I hold close in my heart. The Bay was one of the first places I ever played shows. Any time I go back to The Bay, I definitely get a little emo, for sure. I got to play Wembley in London which was absolutely insane. I remember vividly stepping out and seeing all the people and almost couldn’t breathe because there were so many people out there. That was pretty cool. I like that connected kind of feeling. Actually, I think it was 2011, it was for a radio show and I remember freaking out because there were so many people there. It was a little bit rainy and people didn’t even care. It was a really fun show.
What’s your favorite show that you’ve seen?
My favorite show that I’ve seen ever…Dammit, that’s a hard one too! It depends, because I like festival-y stuff, like I remember when I played Austin City Limits I went there for the whole three days so I could stay and watch a bunch of different people, like Two Door Cinema Club and Kimbra, so that day was a really fun experience. I love Austin. But when I was a kid I went to The Used for sure. I use to love them. They definitely were the shit to me. My manager took me to see Robyn at the Hollywood Bowl for my birthday. That was life changing. So we can put that — Robyn was cool. Definitely Robyn at the Bowl for sure.
Is there a specific song that you remember she played and everyone went crazy?
Yeah, the new stuff off the little mini album she put out with Röyksopp — that stuff was so sick. So when she did “Dancing On My Own,” she didn’t sing half the song and the whole crowd finished it. It was such a cute moment. It was chill for sure. I definitely recorded it on my phone.
"I’d like to think that I felt, and hopefully sounded, a little bit more comfortable with myself this time around...I’ll always be sassy for sure, but I do think that, hopefully, people will be able to tell that I’m more comfortable with myself this time around."
OK, so imagine this scenario: Someone runs up to you and asks if they can take a photo of you. How do you pose?
I’d do a peace sign. That’d be my pose: a little bit of a lean with a peace sign.
Two hands or just one?
Just one. It’s so cliché but fun...I have to do something! Like what do I do with my hands? I have to do a peace sign.
So what products do you have in your beauty bag with you at all times?
Well, now that you bring that up, all of the CK One Color products. I have been working with CK One Color Cosmetics for a couple years now, which is awesome and we even got to do a lipstick together. I put a lipstick out through them called Kiss It. Yeah, I love all their stuff. I like it because when I’m just hanging out I can wear a little bit and then I can go on stage. It’s just perfect. I love all of their stuff.
So first of all, what color would you call your hair? And do you have a secret to maintaining it?
Oh gosh, right now I don’t even know. It was a silvery blue but now it’s just silver. The blue’s kind of washing out. And brown also. So it’s a silver and brown mixture. That’s so funny, considering mine is now fading but the lady who does my hair — Sarah at Hairroin Salon out here in LA — is super rad and she mixes hair dye into a conditioner for me, so when I go on the road or whenever I just want to condition my hair, I can maintain it and keep up the blue color too. But I just ran out so that’s why it’s just silver. But usually she mixes up a bunch of shampoos and conditioners to keep up the color.
Is there anything else you want our readers to know about?
I think we got though a lot of stuff, so just the EP and thanks for all of the support, obviously. It means so much to me. Like I said, it feels so good to finally have music out and I hope everyone has fun listening to the EP and enjoys themselves while listening. So yeah, thanks!