INTERVIEW: Mathew Ajjarapu The Devonns

PREMIERE: The Devonns new single – Tell Me

Today The Devonns premiere a brand new track Tell Me exclusively via Gigslutz. Mathew Ajjarapu from the band expounds further the background on the track:

“There’s a really great radio show here in Chicago that used to be on 93.1 FM called “Little Steven’s Underground Garage”.  They took it off the air unfortunately… but for years, every Sunday night, they’d play all these really great known and unknown songs from the 50s thru the 70s.  Every Sunday night I’d drive around for a few hours and listen to that radio station just to clear my head.  One day, they played Wilson Pickett’s “634-5789” and I thought it was such a fun, exuberant song. 

‘Obviously, Wilson’s voice is absolutely amazing; but everything about that song was really tight to me from a song-writing and musicianship standpoint.  Now with “Tell Me”, it really came about in two ways. First off, I wanted to write something that was as “fun” as “634-5789”… it was like a challenge to me.  And for a long time I had this idea of a bass line and chords, but really couldn’t come up with any lyrics. 

‘Right around when I formed this band, I started dating a new woman… we fell in love, and the lyrics are literally about the beginning of our relationship.  The first verse is really about me trying to find a way to tell her that I was really liking the way things were going (and I hope she felt that way too).  And the second verse and third verse was more about how I was really trying not to get into something serious with her, and I was just trying to enjoy having fun without putting a lot of pressure on the relationship (especially since I had just gotten out of a few emotionally serious relationships)”. 

Straight from the streets of Chicago, Illinois, The Devonns (pronounced “De vaughns”) are the brand new soul outfit and the latest addition of the Record Kicks’ family, whose self-titled debut album that drops April 3rd, is an assortment of influences taking us back to the heyday of soul.

Drawing influences from bands such as The Dramatics, The Isley Brothers and Leroy Hutson, yet bringing in their own unique modern twist, influenced by artists such as Jamie Lidell and Raphael Saadiq; singer Mat Ajjarapu explains how unintentionally, the rich heritage of Chicago’s history with soul music influenced him.

Originally he wanted to focus on 50s style doo-wop, similar to The Flamingos; rich in reverb and vocal harmonies, but in the first initial practise they had it was evident the band clicked on their love of soul music from the 70s, so their music took a natural turn towards that sound, with tracks such as the Wilson Pickett-esque single ‘Tell Me’.

It was thanks to his engineer Mike Hagler, who introduced him to Paul Von Mertons (Mavis Staples, Paul McCartney, Elton John) who arranges and conducts for Brian Wilson’s live touring show and after a 45 minute phone conversation about what Mat wasn’t keen on, on the album, he realised Paul totally understood where he was coming from.

The result is an album filled with lavish string arrangements and catchy melodies which take us on a nostalgic musical journey inspired by chic 70s soul, yet the band don’t hesitate to add their own unique and elegant contemporary stamp to the record.

The Devonns will be released April 3rd via Record Kicks available via the following link