Interview – The Elegant Devils

Ottawa’s own, The Elegant Devils have released an EP. The band released their EP in October. This would be the band’s first EP and it is available everywhere. Each member of the band comes from different ends of the music spectrum.  I had a chance to talk with The Elegant devils on where they got their inspiration from and what’s in store for the band.

Who influences the band?

Drew – We’ve all got drastically different influences with a few consistent touchstones. I’m a fan of big arena rock (Foo Fighters, AC/DC, Halestorm) whereas Josh Barkley is more of a 70’s rock kinda guy. West is all over the friggin’ map with a deep respect for everything from Hip Hop to Prog Rock. He’s impossible to pin down. Robbie is a die hard Guns n Roses but has a love for pretty much anything with a catchy riff or beat. If you hit “shuffle” on his iPhone, you’re just as likely to catch Aerosmith as you are to get the Backstreet Boys.

What was the writing process like for Guilty Pleasure”?

Josh B (Classic) – We seem to write most of our songs by building on an idea.  Somebody brings a riff, or lyrics, or something to the group.  Then we all jam on it together and slowly flesh it out.  When the song feels right, we keep it.

Josh W (West) – For me it was extremely easy, almost no effort at all (West didn’t join the band until after the EP was released, so he got off easy.)

How has the reaction been for the EP?

Rob The reaction has been really positive. The EP did what we intended it to do. We wanted it to serve as an introduction to the band and give a glimpse of what we are about and working towards. I think it accomplished that intent and gives us a platform to build on moving forward.

Drew – The reaction has been better than we expected and we are truly humbled to have such supportive fans, friends, and family who constantly put up with our shenanigans. The EP’s generated a lot of attention, too! We just did an interview for Fireworks magazine in the UK, and have met all kinds of awesome people (like yourself) who are extremely excited to support indie acts. Our schedule has been filling up quickly and it’s just an amazing feeling to know that’s because people are connecting with the music we write.

What’s it like playing in your home town rather than in different cities?

Drew – Ottawa is absolutely inundated with a plentiful music scene, but that can often lead to a bit of burnout from a crowd’s perspective. When we’ve had the chance to play in other places, we’re often reminded that Ottawa expects a lot from their local talent but can be just as rowdy when you find the right song to play or the right joke to make between sets. We pride ourselves on empowering the crowds we play for – to cut loose and have a few drinks, and Ottawa’s no different.

Classic – Ottawa can definitely be more buttoned up, more reserved that other cities. It’s almost as if people here are too polite to just rock out. You can find that here, but you have to look harder than other places we’ve played.

Where do you think the band will be in the next year?

Drew – Our longterm goal has always been to forge The Elegant Devils into the way we make our living, and looking at the momentum we’re building, we all still believe in that goal. A year from now I’d love to be touring farther across Canada/US and releasing a full length album that we’re all in love with. That, or training to be the world’s first Olympic Sex Marathon Gold Medalist. Maybe both? Only time will tell

Why did the band decide to go to the rock music route?

Classic – It was less of a decision, and more just who we are.  Rock music can be simple or complex, but the emotion behind it is great.

Rob –We are all over the place in musical interests and rock was the one place we all sort of hit on as common ground. It made sense to land there. I think it was the right place to build our foundation off of. Watching the progression of our music its great to see how each of us add our own little bits of flavour to new tracks. It’s an evolving sound but it is defiantly rooted in rock.

West – As a recent addition, I wasn’t a deciding factor in the founding direction, but the future will be different as I add to the dynamic more and more. I like rock music because it’s what I grew up with.

Who are some of your favourite Canadian bands?

Drew It would be irresponsible of me not to start with Big Wreck/Thornley. Anyone who says Ian Thornley isn’t insanely talented is a robot sent from the future here to destroy us. But there’s so many to choose from! Our Lady Peace, Danko Jones, Monster Truck, The Hip. I could sit here all day naming amazing Canadian bands and not break a sweat.

West – The Odds, Moist, Sloan, Canada has some of the best 90s music for me.

Classic – Thornley, Rush, Monster Truck.

Rob – Wow thats hard to answer. There are so many influential Canadian bands. Right now I’d have to say the Headstones and Big Wreck. For a fellow Ottawa band it be Amos the Transparent. I’m really enjoying there newest single “Change My Mind”.

What are some of your favourite fall activities?

Classic – Shedding a tear while I put my motorcycle away.  But also, it’s time to put on our ugg boots and get all the pumpkin spice lattes

Drew – Drinking? Does that count? Does it have to be like, pumpkin spice beer or something? We’ll just go with drinking.

Rob – Fall is my favourite time of year. It’s patio weather at its finest. I don’t have any specific activity or what not that I focus on, it’s just a great time to be outside

West – Taking my kid to farms and pumpkin patches.

What are currently binge-watching on Netflix?

Drew – Rob, Classic and I are all just wrapping up Luke Cage and the other Marvel shows. West is powering through Brickleberry at the moment, while Rob also just finished up Stranger Things. Such a great show.

If you would be in any TV show what would it be?

Drew – Oh man…Gotta go with Supernatural or The Flash. The Winchesters are awesome, but I’d get to play around with Time Travel on The Flash. Decisions, decisions…

Rob – Supernatural. You get to do some really cool stuff and you can’t die no matter how hard you try. Sounds like a sweet gig to me lol.

Classic – Supernatural.  Drew and I have been fans for awhile, even making it through season 7 (ugh, leviathans)

West – Anything where at the end of 30 minutes the world is great again.

What was the first album you bought?

Drew – The first album I owned was Aerosmith “A Little South of Sanity” and it inspired my undying love of Steven Tyler and my dream of hitting the high notes in Dream On.

Rob – The first album I bought as a kid with my own saved up money was “Appetite For Destruction” by GNR.

Classic –The first album I bought with my own money (And didn’t just raid from my dad’s collection) was Incubus’s S.C.I.E.N.C.E

West – Green Day’s “Dookie” or Nirvana’s “In Utero”…can’t remember which came first.

Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to your fans?

Classic – First, thanks!  You guys rock.  Second, can’t wait to see you at a show and have a beer with you!

Rob – Thank you for the continued support and being with us on this journey. We really do appreciate everything you invest in us and we hope you continue to enjoy the projects we work on and share with you all.

Drew – There aren’t words to describe how grateful we are to all of our friends, family, and fans. It continually amazes us that people connect with us and our songs, and we promise to do everything we can to continue to build on what is already an amazing relationship. You guys are the sexiest bunch of people we’ve ever seen.

West – …I have fans?

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