In 2013, Vilnius-based Lithuanian black metal band Devlsy, released a limited number of copies of their first album, A Parade of States, on USB stick; an idea yet to be repeated in the Lithuanian music scene.
In May 2014, the album was released on CD by Japanese record label MAA Prod.
In a recent Q&A with Music Export Fund, the band’s guitarist, Giedrius, revealed Devlsy’s plans for summer 2015, how the band has evolved since its formation in 2011, and its overall objectives for the future.
Tell us a little about your current creative life. How is it going? What is the band’s daily creative life like?
At this moment we are finishing the tracks for our second album, and planning to head back to the studio this autumn. At the same time we are preparing for the two summer festivals that we will play this year: one in Ukraine and another in Belarus.
We’re working on some band presentation ideas, too.
What is the current situation of Lithuania’s heavy music? What tendencies have you noticed?
Well, it’s getting better, I’d say. I could probably even sum up that we’ve never had so many interesting and well performing bands at the same time.
More and more bands are becoming open to new ideas and aren’t afraid to present them – it’s really inspiring.
More and more bands have also started seeking out touring possibilities and proper ways to promote themselves.
What advice do you have for those who are starting to make their own music?
Ha! I don’t actually a strong academic background in music, so probably I’m not the right person to ask on this topic!
However, I do enjoy learning new things and finding interesting solutions – you just have to spend some time on it. Composition takes a lot of time and effort – you have to be aware of that.
Probably the most dangerous thing is when you stick with your own ideas, so that’s why inputs and opinions from other band members are so important.
Sometimes you just need someone to say “well, this sounds really awful” so you have to go back to the drawing board.
What difficulties did Devlsy encounter when you started out in 2011? What has changed since then?
The main difficulties we faced were related with getting the full line-up together.
Me and Darius, the bassist, spent some time on finding a drummer and vocalist who would fit us both in terms of music and personality.
It got much easier after our vocalist, Vytautas, and our drummer, Vytenis, joined us.
What has changed since then? Lots of things, but the main concern now is to keep the same important spot for the band in our daily lives, because everybody is so involved with their jobs and families etc.
How were each of you introduced to the world of music? Do you have music degrees, or is that perhaps not so important?
I’m not quite sure, but I think everyone in our band has graduated at least from music school. Education in music is not essential, but I’d say take it if you have a chance to do it.
However, these days, it’s possible to get some self education with all these possibilities on the Internet. That’s what I actually enjoy doing myself.
You released an album on a USB card. Did anyone else in Lithuania followed this idea? It seems to be areally exciting, convenient and modern way of sharing music.
When we released our album on USB, many people were asking us about it, but so far I, haven’t hear any other band do it after us.
Well, it’s been an experiment and I’m not sure if we’ll go the same way with the upcoming release.
I think the music industry has already passed the point,where a physical copy is not really necessary.
How was the collaboration with the Japanese label MAA Prod.? How did it go? What advantages and disadvantages did you notice?
Well, it’s was an interesting experience, for sure. The communication went pretty well, despite the fact that it’s being done in a pretty simple way: we sent the promo to the label, the label offered us a deal, we signed it, then we sent the our materials and they sent us the CDs. That’s pretty much it.
It’s difficult to expect anymore when the label is more than 8000 kilometres away. Honestly, I don’t even know how many copies have been sold or if the guys are satisfied with the outcome.
This CD release was just the icing on the cake for us – at first we didn’t even think of a CD, since we already had a USB released. But then came this deal and since we didn’t have to put in too much effort we said “why not?”
However, the next time we’ll try to get a label in Europe, since it will bring much more possibilities and easier communication.
Did you start getting more attention from the Lithuanian media and local fans after they released your CD?
We don’t play radio music, so it’s not like we’re going to get huge attention from the mass media.
Underground publications and online magazines did some reviews, we also did some interviews and that’s about it.
Sure, a CD release has brought some attention – we sent lots of CDs to various underground magazines in Europe and some reviews were published later on.
A strange thing we noticed was that only a few people were really open to new possibilities: even some magazines that received our USB release asked us to send them a CD anyway.
Similarly, with the album sales through our shows, people still tend to be much more interested in buying a CD a opposed to a USB.
Do you think that Lithuanian music has potencial to become popular abroad?
I’m pretty sure it does. We have a new generation of musicians coming and everything is possible with the current online promotional possibilities.
Many years ago people tended to complain our scene is not interesting to anyone abroad, since we live quite far away from Central Europe. Then along came Iceland with a bunch of truly interesting and amazing bands.
What can you say about that? These guys live on an island that is located thousands of kilometers away from the continent and manage to tour worldwide and attract lots of fans from outside their country.
Music and image – that’s the only thing that’s important these days. You can become a well-known band almost overnight if you have some really good material.
Where is it more pleasurable for you to perform – Lithuania or abroad?
Honestly, so far the best performances we’ve had so far were all abroad.
I don’t really know why – probably it’s related to the lack of stress that we get when we play in Vilnius. It’s hard to tell.
You’ll be playing in Ukraine and Belarus this summer. Do you have further plans for performing abroad?
Yes, we’ll have some interesting experiences this summer, for sure. As for the future? We’ll keep looking for touring possibilities.
Which world’s festival would you love to perform the most at?
Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands. Every year they have a bunch of bands that no one has ever heard of before. They organisers invite them just because they think the band is interesting and worth it.
Why are your lyrics English? Has it been like that since the beginning of the band’s work?
This is a decision made by Vytautas, since he writes all the lyrics. At the beginning we tried lyrics in Lithuanian with a different vocalist, but it didn’t seem to work for us.
However, I don’t think the language is really important – the lyrics and vocals just have to fit the music.
What are the band’s plans and goals for this year?
The plan for this year is to finish and record the new album. Then make a video for one of the songs and get some touring done, too.
Is there anything you feel the band spends too much time on?
Honestly, at this point I feel that we put too much focus on live shows, instead of putting it aside and finishing the new music.
But that’s just the way it goes.
What is the band member’s everyday lives like when you are not making or playing music?
Everyone is doing a ton of other things. Vytautas is studying sciences and leading his own band Inquisitor. Darius studies engineering.
Vytenis is involved with his business and family.
I also have a day job, which involves working with live music events.
In 2013, you did a live performance with crazy visuals at the Vilnius Planetarium, which received a lot of attention. Are you planning anything similar in the future?
Yes, we have some interesting plans. However, I can’t disclose them so far.
How do you see the band’s ideal future?
The Main thing is to keep our creativity evolving, until things stop being interesting for us.