Indie Music Review (June 16, 2019)
From Ottawa Ontario Canada, the Elegant Devils are: Drew James (Lead Vocals), Rob Frank (Drums/Vocals), Josh West (Guitar), & Josh Barkley (Bass/Vocals). Each member comes at music from a different angle, but leaves their own impressive mark on the sound they make. Despite coming from very different places on the musical spectrum, They embrace their unique individual parts to create music that is powerful, emotional, and fun all at once.
In this interview spotlight, I chat with Elegant Devils about their latest project, challenges, technology and more.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
Rob: Were a 4 piece band from Ottawa Ontario Canada. Our style is rooted in rock, but we incorporate a lot of different elements into it. We try and do whatever is right for the song and not worry about stepping into or out of a specific style.
Barkley: We make music that blends a lot of the feeling of rock from the 70’s right up until now.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to keep going?
Rob: Creating new music and continuing to develop my studio skills is what motivates me to keep going.
Barkley: I can’t imagine a life without making music. We keep going because we’d go a bit crazy (er) if we didn’t. Making music that we love, that other people love, and getting to play it together is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
How is this new release different than previous ones? Were you trying to accomplish anything specific?
Rob: I think the main thing we were trying to accomplish or capture, was just an accurate representation of us as a whole.
Drew: To Rob’s point, I think if anyone asks what we sound like, this is the song I’d play them first. Gives the best overview of us as a band.
Barkley: Heartbreaker puts a lot of emphasis on vocals, and we were really trying to capture the feeling of being that charming individual who you can’t help but love (we may have some experience with this…)
Name one or two challenges you face as an indie musician in this oversaturated, digital music age? How has technology helped you (since we know it does help)?
Drew: Technology has helped us immensely to collaborate with each other. We’re busy guys, so being able to record a song idea into my iPhone and send it to the guys is pretty great. The flip side of that is like buying a fancy camera and calling yourself a photographer. Having the technology and having the knowledge to use it well are two different things.
Rob: Technology helped in that it gives you more avenues to gain exposure and be heard. It also is a challenge as those avenues are so cluttered. It’s easy to get lost in the static and be overlooked all together in environments like that. I think technology for good or bad really has changed the music field and continues to do so. I think the best thing any artist can do is focus on how your going to stand out in all that static. It’s easier said than done no doubt. In the end there are pros and cons to how technology has modified the music industry. It’s the artists responsibility to utilize those tools to have impact and gain exposure.
Barkley: Oh wow. So, technology has definitely helped make it easier to record our own stuff without having to drop a bunch of money up front, or cross our fingers and hope some label signs us to pay that bill. On the flip though, labels don’t really sign and invest in acts all that much anymore unless you’re already big on Youtube or other social media. And in a world where you’re fighting to get attention, it’s tough when there’s just so much, music or otherwise, fighting for everybody’s attention too.
What was the last song you listened to?
West: I’m usually quiet on these things but the last song I was listening to was I Wish by Skee Lo.
Rob: Miracle Worker by Superheavy.
Drew: In the Air Tonight by the Protomen (Phil Collins covet).
Barkley: Wash it All Away, but Five Finger Death Punch.
Which do you prefer? Vinyl? CDs? MP3s?
Rob: Digital is convenient and you gain access to material you may otherwise not gain exposure too. That being said, I really do enjoy full album format, Vinyl, CD, or otherwise.
Drew: If I could only take one with me on a desert island it would be MP3s. Though you can’t argue with the superior sound experience of a vinyl album, I can’t carry a record player with me.
Barkley: MP3s are awesome, because I have have my whole music library in my phone, ready to go wherever I am. But, there’s just something magical about the whole Vinyl experience, from the texture of the disc, to the smell of the vinyl, it really just sucks you right into the music.
How about this one…. Do you prefer Spotify? Apple Music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?
Drew: I like any music service that actually pays their artists what they’re due.
Rob: Cant really top Drew’s answer.
Barkley: Tidal….. Really though, I don’t have a preference of one over the other. The streaming services are all really convenient as a listener, and all kind of bad for distributing revenue to the artists.
Where is the best place to connect with you online and discover more music?
The Band: www.elegantdevils.com is the place to visit. Everything runs through our official site (social media, merch, news, and more).
Anything else before we sign off:
Rob: We hope you enjoy the new single and take the time to visit our site and check out our other material. We really appreciate the support and thank you for giving us a spin.
Drew: A sincere thank you for listening to our song and we really do hope you like it.
Barkley: Thanks for reaching out! If you’re ever in town, let us know and we’ll join you for a drink, a laugh, and some good music.
Spotlight Ottawa (April 24, 2018)
Ottawa’s Rebel 101.7, along with Moose McGuire’s, gave the local hard rock scene a kick in the ass with their Real Rock Search this year. Stynger was crowned the winner and took home $5000 cash. Along with The Elegant Devils and Crossing Jane, the 3 bands battled it out in the grand final last week at Algonquin Commons Theatre.
A few hundred fans came out to watch the performances and vote. Each band played a 45 minute set, which consisted mostly of original music and a couple of covers thrown in.
If you haven’t yet caught a show at Algonquin Commons Theatre, it’s a great venue. I like it more and more every time I catch a show there. They have plenty more shows coming up. Check out their event listings.
Hopefully the contest will return next year and give more local rock bands some much needed exposure.
CKCU Ottawa Live Music. (Mar 22, 2018)
CBC Searchlight. (Feb 13th, 2018)
We are very proud to have been part of this years CBC Searchlight 2018 contest. We can’t thank everyone enough for showing us so much support by voting early, often, and daily. It was greatly appreciated and we thank you once again!
Darkland Promotions. (Oct 1st, 2017)
If you are looking for adrenaline fueled heart pumping rock, then Elegant Devils is the band for you. The song DiveBomb is a perfect way to kick off your listening experience, with smooth lyrics and intense guitar riffs, the music just consumes you and paints the picture of a seductive game of cat and mouse. The vocals are what really make this song intense, you can hear the contempt in his voice while he sings about sexual manipulation. I think something that struck me about this song is its androgynous, just because the vocalist is a man, the lyrics are something that certainly could apply to how a woman might feel about a man seducing her. Not many artists have that ability, most just stick to the traditional roles on this particular theme, but I respect that they decided to make it appeal to both sexes. Now, this song certainly does not just rely on the vocals alone, the guitar and drums provide an important role. The guitar riffs and rhythms are almost like the seducer in the song, the way the sound moves around the vocals is like a sexy dance that you can’t help but feel. The drums keep the perfect heartbeat of the song and at the end with the single drum blast followed by the reverb laugh, finish the song off perfectly.
Elegant Devils is not just about the heart pounding hard rock. While they certainly do deliver that, they can also bring a much softer side to their artistry. I can see why the call themselves, “elegant”, because the song Amaranthine embodies that perfectly. And most often times I find that the live versions of the songs are not as powerful as the studio version because let’s be honest, some vocalists need that extra pop the studio provides. That is not the case here, the vocals are soft and delicate like a lover’s touch, while the soft guitars and simple drum are like a slow dance. When I listen to this song I can picture two people going for a drive and then finding a private secluded area where it is just them and the stars, and they dance in the starlight just feeling the music and becoming one with it. It has this innate intimacy within the song that any romantic can’t help but feel, it speaks to the hopeless romantic in all of us. The studio version of Amaranthine is equally as powerful, but in a different way. Which is impressive because it’s the same song but each version plays to a different part of the heart. It is more commanding and powerful, but it has this unspoken anguish where you can tell they never want to lose that love.
You can tell with Elegant Devil’s overall artistry that they really live and create by their hearts. Not to say all songs are about heartbreak or love songs, but created by emotional stories either from band members personally or just life experiences / stories of others. They put their all into each and every song that put out. I could see them withstanding the sands of time in regards to the music industry. It is music that no matter the state of the world or what decade we are in, it will appeal to anyone with a heart.
Elegant Devils have mastered the ability to keep up the energy within their songs, as well as keep it real, such as in their songs Lie With Me & Loaded Gun. Filled with passion, heat, heartbreak, guitar breakdowns, and drum fills that make your fist pump. If you are listening to this in the car, you will probably start drumming on your steering wheel and singing your heart out. They also mastered how to bring you back down for a moment to breathe with their song Just Like That. Never sacrificing that staying energy within the arrangement of the songs, they have a empathetic stamina that can only be attributed to a genuine artist. I know I have enjoyed listening and feeling their music, this is the kind of music the industry needs to take notice of.
The Rock Metal Podcast. (Sept 13th, 2017)
Listen here or at the links below.
Soundcheck Episode 130. (Aug 28th, 2017)
Interview Starts at (54:30)
It was a pleasure having The Elegant Devils back on our show, these guys seriously know how to rock and are always a good chat. Drew and Crew banged out some of what we’ve heard before and some we haven’t and every tune just resonated with us, fantastic live energy and stage presence is what you get when you witness The Elegant Devils play. Then onto our interview, well you’ll learn some things about the band and their songs and you’ll also learn about music as a whole as well and other topics we wandered in and out of lol. The Elegant Devils will make their return to our show for sure when they have their newest effort ready to go, and we look forward to that for sure, check them out live when they come to your fave venues, you will not be disappointed.
Catch Soundcheck every Monday at 7pm est/12am uk only on www.rbxradio.com
Soundcheck Episode 110. (April 10th, 2017)
Interview PT 1. Starts at (0:42m) Interview PT 2. Starts at (1:24m)
“DAMN!!!!!! The Elegant Devils can R-O-C-K with the best of them, these 4 gentleman (I say that loosely lol) showed up, setup, and blew up right before our eyes and ears, just WOW, you gotta check these guys out LIVE. The Elegant Devils played selections from their two releases so far “Guilty Pleasure” & “Live at Zaphod’s” and a couple sweet covers and…a BRAND NEW TUNE!!! It was our pleasure havin’ this band on the show, they are another testament of how much Kick Ass Talent there is in Ottawa/Ottawa Valley and Surrounding Areas, Melodic and Catchy Tunes, Hard driving to mellow passages tunes, these guys pack the whole package and deliver it with precision and punch every time, we’ve already booked them back on the show for August, We can’t wait!! So for now take a listen, real loud!!!!
Eclectic Music Lover Spotlight.
I’ve been featuring quite a few artists and bands from Canada recently, and The Elegant Devils are the latest. The talented four-piece rock band hails from Ottawa, Ontario and, like many bands, has experienced some personnel changes over time. Their current line-up includes Drew James (lead vocals, guitar), Rob Frank (drums/vocals), Josh West (guitar), & Josh Barkley (bass/vocals). They’re all seasoned musicians with divergent backgrounds, and each of them embrace their unique individual styles while coming together to create some really fine rock music that’s intelligent, powerful and often fun.
The Elegant Devils recorded their debut EP Guilty Pleasure in 2015, followed a year later by a five-track EP Live at Zaphod’s that contained some tracks from Guilty Pleasure along with a few new ones. Their songs range from hard-driving rock to poignant ballads, and always with deeply compelling lyrics that speak to the complexities of life, love and relationships. These guys write from their own experiences and, as a result, their songs come off all the more personal and heartfelt. In addition, their arrangements, instrumentation and production values are all first-rate.
Their strong musicianship is vividly apparent on all their songs, but especially shines when they really get rocking. On their harder rock tracks “Lie With Me,” “Divebomb” and “Loaded Gun,” they coax some amazingly intricate and formidable riffs from their guitars, while Josh Barkley lays down some heavy thumping bass lines and Rob keeps the pace with his assertive drums and crashing cymbals. Drew’s powerful vocals are always delivered with raw emotion, whether he’s expressing anger, pain or loving devotion.
“Divebomb” in particular is a real head-banger and one of my favorites. The thunderous shredded guitars are scorching hot, and when combined with powerful buzzing bass and pounding drums, nearly succeed in blowing out the speakers. “Loaded Gun” – a rock bombardment packed into a mere two minutes that fully lives up to its title – is also pretty awesome, but then, so are all their songs!
The band shows its softer, more romantic side with the gorgeous love ballad “Amaranthine,” about which the band states “We cracked open the heart of a devil and found a love song – a song written as a message to the person you love most in the world.”
In an interview with Jacqueline Jax on A.V.A. Live Radio, Drew explained the origin for Amaranthine: “[It] is as pure a love song as you can get. It was written as a wedding gift for one of my very best friends. He asked me to perform it at the wedding itself, and they had their first dance to the song. It was written at a time when I had almost given up finding a happy ending for myself. I had just been through a really bad break-up and while I was going through it, I was so happy to see that my friend and his wife were able to find something so…solid. So inspiring. I wrote Amaranthine to tell them how proud I was of them finding love, how scary it must have been for them to commit completely to another person, and to say thank you to them for giving me a reason to still believe in love when I had given up on it myself. Thankfully, the hope they gave me tided me over until I found my own Amaranthine. And so now, every time I sing it, I sing that song as much for her as I do for them.”
The Elegant Devils are in the process of writing and recording more songs for what will be a full-length album to be released later this year. In the meantime, check out their website, connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel where you can watch their weekly sessions. Stream their music on Soundcloud, Reverbnation or Spotify, and purchase it on iTunes.
– Eclectic Music Lover March 23, 2017
M.T.M Middle Tennessee Music Spotlight.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with members of Elegant Devils discussing influences, navigating the digital music age, the new project and more.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications
Drew – We are from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. We create music that we love. Music that makes us happy and that we hope will make other people happy too. The closest genre I can think of is “rock”, but we’re more of a musical mutt. We have influences all over the spectrum and they pop up in the last places you’d expect.
Barkley – Our style 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. We start with an idea and let it grow on its own.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
Rob – I think I can speak for everyone when I say music has always been a big part of our lives. We all grew up with it around and it had a big impact on our upbringing. I don’t think you can ignore seeds that are that deep rooted. That puts you on the path. What keeps us on it? Making music and what that brings out of all of us. We truly do enjoy what we create and are able to share with everyone.
Barkley – I grew up falling asleep with headphones, listening to rock music. There was already music in the house. Everything just progressed from there.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
Drew – Our newest release is really a way for us to show that we’ve written these songs as both studio and live tracks, and there’s so much value in each medium. A Live EP is our love letter to live music and to all the people who have supported us at our shows.
West – Well I’m in this one so that’s a bonus lol. For this recording It was more about feeling natural and trying to capture an example of us in a live setting.
Do you face any challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? On the flip side, how has technology helped you (if it has)?
Rob – The upsides are you can get your stuff available in so many places and reach so many potential opportunities. Digital music as really opened a lot of doors for indie artists. The flip side is that there are so many artists all cramming through those open doors it can make being heard hard. It’s difficult to stand out in a stampede regardless of how good your songs are. There is only so much content people are willing to take the time to sift through to find something they enjoy.
West – I think that technology allows us to hear things we would never otherwise hear, if it wasn’t for YouTube and Reddit, I would never have heard some of the best music I keep in daily rotation. Being able to self promote on social media and have support from friends and fans is exactly why I think the internet is key to any band starting out
Where can we follow you online and hear more music?
West – So many places, you can find the elegant devils on napster, apparently we have found a way to time travel back to 2004.
Rob – our official site would be our first suggestion. www.elegantdevils.com it’s always up to date and we keep the content fresh and flowing. You can also find us in the usual social media places @elegantdevils.
Anything else before we sign off?
Drew – A whole-hearted thank you to everyone who’s ever been to a show, sung along with our originals or covers, or picked up an album. Thank you so much for believing in us and showing us your support.
Barkley – Its always amazing to me that people love our stuff as much as we do, and sometimes more. And of course, thank you.
West – Thanks, it’s awesome to have someone appreciate what you create.
Rob – Thank you to everyone who has and continues to show us support. We do not take it for granted and it means the world to us. We also just kicked off a little YouTube project that we think everyone will really enjoy. Head on over to our site and check it out!
By: Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman March 21, 2017
Sometimes Always Interview.
The Elegant Devils are a four-piece rock band consisting of Drew James (DJ, vocals), Rob Frank (RF, drums/vocals), Josh West (JW, guitar), & Josh Barkley (JB, bass/vocals). Give their tunes a spin, keep an eye out for their upcoming YouTube sessions, and stay tuned for an upcoming full-length release sometime later in 2017.
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elegantdevils/
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/elegantdevils
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/elegantdevils
- Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/theelegantdevils
- Web: http://www.elegantdevils.com/
- Upcoming shows:
Thursday, March 23 – Fluid, Neverfriend and The Elegant Devils. $7. 9PM. House of TARG, Ottawa ON
SA: How did the Elegant Devils get their start, and when did you start playing together?
RF: A few years back Josh Barkley and Drew James laid the foundation for what would become the band. A friend of ours named Jason Deley was next, followed by myself. We started playing shows and released an EP with this line up. Life took Jason in another direction, so after his departure Josh West joined and solidified the line up. In his time with us we have been playing regularly, released a second EP, and are working away on a new full length album.
SA: What bands or musicians would you say are the biggest influences on your sound?
RF: I really don’t know if I could pin point that. We pull from so many different places that it really varies song to song. We are rooted in rock, but we’re not afraid to branch off and add other elements or styles. For us it’s more about what’s right for the song and less about maintaining a specific sound or feel.
SA: Thus far in your career, what has been your biggest accomplishment?
DJ: What we’re most proud of is the connection that we make with the people we play for – on more than one occasion, an entire crowd has chanted our name at the end of a show – and that means so much. We know how hard people work for their time off, their dollars. And it means so much to us that they spend some of it with us.
SA: On the other hand, what is the biggest challenge you have faced, and how have you dealt with it?
DJ: The biggest challenge we’ve faced so far has been a challenge that so many bands face – finding a stable lineup. We have absolutely no hard feelings towards members of the band that have had to move on – we get that life happens and we still love ‘em. But it’s hard to build momentum when one person in the band is rushing to catch up and learn our catalogue. Now that we’ve got a solid lineup, we’re excited to see where The Elegant Devils takes us!
SA: What are your thoughts on the Ottawa music scene?
JW: I haven’t been a part of the scene for long but what I have noticed is there is a lot of hard working bands out here that love their craft and love telling stories, it’s a great feeling to share a stage with someone who wants to bring some genuine part of themselves and share it with strangers for no other reason than to tell the story of them.
SA: In your explanation for your recent live album, you guys have mentioned your affinity for experiencing live music. If you could describe your own live show in three words, what would they be?
JW: Our live show is where the four of us mesh so well together. It’s energetic, it’s fun, and it’s authentic – and it’s where I call these 3 lunatics brothers.
SA: If you can narrow it down to one, what is your favorite Elegant Devils show of all time, and what is your favorite venue to play live?
JB: My favorite show so far has to be the night we played Zaphod’s. I had hurt myself earlier, and Rob and West were actually quite ill. But even with all of that, the show came together great and we were able to record our live EP that night. There was just some magic in the air that night, and the crowd loved it.
SA: A question for fun: Who would be your dream tour-mates, and why?
JB: That would definitely be Halestorm. They seem like great, funny people and they’re all very talented musicians. And Lzzy isn’t exactly hard on the eyes, so that wouldn’t hurt.
SA: What’s on the agenda for the Elegant Devils in 2017?
RF: 2017 is going to be a very exciting year for us. We’ve recently kicked off our “UnderCovers” YouTube series where we post videos of us playing cover songs we love, and are working away on our next album. That plus shows and a few surprises along the way, will make this year pretty special for us.
BY: SometimesAlways.ca 2017
Arrogance Core interview with the Elegant Devils.
- What is each of your names and how do you guys know each other?
ROB: The band is made up of: Drew James (Vocals), Josh West (Guitar), Josh Barkley (Bass/Backing Vocals) & Rob Frank (Drums/Backing Vocals).
DREW: Josh Barkley and I have been friends for…uh…ever. Rob and I met through work and strangely enough, that’s how Rob met West as well.
- What made all of you want to start the band?
WEST: I came into an already formed band. If you ask me, they all formed a band so that I had a place to play guitar when we all met.
BARKLEY: For me, I’ve loved and played music since I was a kid. The thought of making music with some of my best friends is kind of a no brainer
- What are your top 5 influences?
DREW: Dave Grohl, Lzzy Hale, Ian Thornley, Amy Lee, Freddy Mercury. Can’t include an influence list as a vocalist without Freddy Mercury.
WEST: I’ve always found my self more creative after listening to hip hop and old blues but it always changes who is on the playlist, today it was: Leadbelly, A$AP Mob, Vic Mensa, Emily Wells, And John Lee Hooker.
- What is your goal for the future?
ROB: I think the next natural step for us is a full length album. We’ve been working on a lot of new tracks and things are really taking shape. We are all looking forward to the day when these new songs are released for everyone to hear.
BARKLEY: Short term, to play some more sweet summer festivals.
- What is one thing you want to tell your fans?
DREW: Embrace who you are, and respect others for doing the same. We’ve met some truly incredible and supportive people and our lives are better because of it. Thank you all, so much.
ROB: I can’t say thank you enough. The support and energy they provide is everything to us as a band.
WEST: Thanks, it’s awesome to have someone appreciate what you create.
BARKLEY: Firstly, we love you. It will always be amazing to me that you love our stuff as much as we do, and sometimes more. And of course, thank you.
- The reason behind the album
We wanted to release something that is live because live music seems to be forgotten about these days. It’s actually kind of sad that live music just gets so overlooked. There are so many really good bands out there that night after night, entertaining and give everything they have to an audience. So much of that is never captured and lost. We thought doing this would serve as a great complement to our first studio release. Someone could listen to them both and know what our songs sound like, and what we sound like in a venue in front of a crowd.
Everyone should definitely check out this band. They are incredible talented and need some recognition! Here is the their website and twitter page!
By: Arrogance Core Promo 2017
American Pride Magazine. Music Industry and More with the Elegant Devils.
- How do you feel about the music business?
Barkley – The music business is interesting. It seems to be constantly evolving and it’s exciting to see what’s going to happen next.
Rob – I think the music business has moved from a past of being a very set in stone formula, to a business model that is always changing and in flux. You need to be able to adapt and be proactive to the changes as they come. If not, you run the risk of being left behind.
- What pros and cons have you experienced in the music thus far?
West – I don’t know any cons, music is fun and engaging, if it is come to a pros / cons list you should stop.
Drew – The pros that we’ve experienced vastly outweigh the cons. The biggest pros are the simplest ones – I get to spend my nights playing music with people I respect and often consider family. Some of my best friends are in this band, and to make music with them is a real honor. To be privileged enough to be given a chance to connect with so many people – to find others who are struggling with something I’ve struggled with, or to celebrate a high point in our lives together. That’s a big part of why we do what we do. The cons all revolve around the same problem I think everyone has experienced – there are all kinds of people who are looking to exploit performers for their own benefit, or who have been burnt out by the challenges that the music business has laid in front of them. It’s tough to see, but sometimes completely understandable.
- How do you turn your STRUGGLES into TRIUMPHS?
Barkley – By learning from mistakes, and getting better at what we do, and of course turning the frustration into new songs.
West – By remembering that struggles are not a reason to quit, they are just obstacles to overcome.
- I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…. why?
Barkley – Victor Wooten. The guy is just phenomenal! After 5 minutes of hanging out, I’m pretty sure I’d be a better musician just from proximity.
West – Les Claypool, he is an incredible musician and someone who hasn’t really embraced the rockstar persona, a man who slaps a bass like it owes him money, and then makes videos bout fishing, I think he is a man who has music all figured out.
Rob – I’m sure Butch Vig would be an interesting conversation. He’s a musician, producer, mixer, runs his own studio, is part of a great band, and has worked with or alongside some other very talented artist’s. He’s the definition of a multitasker, and I can relate to that a lot.
Drew – My choice would have to be Dave Grohl. He’s just…such a nice friggin’ guy. He’s been in two of the most successful rock acts of the last 50 years (arguably more) and he still seems so genuinely interested in helping others succeed, and so profoundly grateful for what he’s been able to do with his life. He is definitely my role model when it comes to all things music. And probably beyond.
By: Jacqueline Jax for American Pride Magazine 2016
Episode #382 of Behind The Music on A.V.A Live Radio
A.V.A Live Radio. Getting to know the Elegant Devils.
- How did you get your start in music or what inspired you to begin?
Barkley – I grew up falling asleep with headphones, listening to rock music. There was already music in the house.
West – My entire family has played guitar so it was natural to pick one up, there was always an acoustic or a banjo lying around the house. A tradition I am trying to keep going with my son.
Drew – my whole life has been built around music. I didn’t have first words, I had a first song.
Rob – I grew up with music always being present. It was something that was always there and something I am grateful for.
- What’s Amaranthine about? Is there a back story to it?
Drew – Amaranthine is as pure a love song as you can get. It was written as a wedding gift for one of my very best friends. He asked me to perform it at the wedding itself, and they had their first dance to the song. It was written at a time when I had almost given up finding a happy ending for myself. I had just been through a really bad break-up and while I was going through it, I was so happy to see that my friend and his wife were able to find something so…solid. So inspiring. I wrote Amaranthine to tell them how proud I was of them finding love, how scary it must have been for them to commit completely to another person, and to say thank you to them for giving me a reason to still believe in love when I had given up on it myself. Thankfully, the hope they gave me tided me over until I found my own Amaranthine. And so now, every time I sing it, I sing that song as much for her as I do for them.
- Tell us what we can expect from your music or new album?
Rob – I think our first release gave us a good foundation to build on. What’s next is what I am really excited for. Watching West put his personal touch on the first batch of songs was pretty unreal. He really did take them and make them his own. Writing new material with him has been a blast. I really can’t wait until everyone else gets to see what he truly brings to our dynamic.
Drew – Honestly? I’m not really sure what to expect moving forward. We’re really starting to find our groove as a band. What’s special about our music and the songs we write is that all of them so far have focused on a theme- a theme that it’s okay to be who you are, to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, and find another person who connects to the world the same way you do.
- Where do you live and what is the music scene like in your town? Places to go?
Drew – We’re all currently living in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Our nation’s capital! We have so many amazing venues and festivals here and in the surrounding area. Zaphod’s, Maverick’s, The Rainbow Bistro, Live on Elgin, House of Targ…you can’t go 10 feet without hitting an open mic night or a featured artist at a local pub. The music scene in Ottawa is so incredibly diverse that it can feel a little overwhelming – but just keep hunting. Ask around. There is absolutely a place in this city for you to go and hear the type of music you love.
Rob – There’s lots of places to go and a lot of variety to choose from. You can’t really ask for a better platform to getting your music heard.
By: Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio 2016
Canadian Beats Magazine
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.
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?
By: Lindsey Newman/Canadian Beats Magazine. 2016
CHUO 89.1FM Live Sessions.
From Canada, we find rising modern hard rockers who has an awesome, very catchy rocking new five track CD/EP Out now called “Guilty Pleasure” that is well worth exploring. The band are seriously good players, very tight, and confident with their music coming over as confident and exciting. The albums what the band considers a sneak peek at who they are. “Lie With Me” is very heavy with lots of twists and turns, “Dive Bomb’ is straight up rock track, and Amaranthine” is the Softer side. “Just Like That” kinda walks the line of mid tempo and upbeat with a bit of punch as an accent, and “Loaded Gun” is a straightforward rock/punk aggressive track. The band are Drew James (Vocals, Guitar), Josh Barkley (Bass, Backup Vocals), Rob Frank (Drums, Backup Vocals) and Jason Deley (Lead Guitar),
Music is the band’s way of connecting with people helping them relive an awesome memory or maybe put some distance between them and a dark part of their lives. “Everyone loves music, but everyone loves it for different reasons,” explains singer, guitarist Drew James. The guys got into music so that they could find out as many of those reasons as possible. “Everyone in the band grew up with music one way or another – music has always been part of our lives through school, other bands, or just as a hobby. It’s something we all love and have been feeling very fortunate to be able to do,” says Drew.
The guys in the band are so incredibly diverse musically which comes across on the EP’s songs. No one in The Elegant Devils has the same inspirations but somehow they have all learned the same lesson in how to tell a great story by playing their favorite instruments or singing at the top of their lungs. “Each member of the band has gone through their own challenges to become who they are and do what they do. We want to inspire other people to own what they’re passionate about and be proud of what makes them happy,” explains Drew. The Elegant Devils are basically a mutt the guys all have vastly different musical influences but it all seems to come together in a way that they are really proud of. “I also think what sets us apart is that everyone in the band is a friend – not just a casual acquaintance,” says Drew. ” That comes across on stage. We’re genuinely having fun spending time with people we like hanging around with and that’s contagious.”
The guys really wanted each song to be uniquely different and still tie together to some degree. “We feel it flows naturally and is a good introduction to us as a band,” says drummer Rob Frank.
The album was recorded by one of the band’s guitarists Jason Deley. “We did all the tracking together as a band with Jay at the helm. Once it was all tracked we had Matt Doherty at Boomchank Studios do the mix for us,” explains Rob. “He did an amazing job with the tracks we gave him. It was really nice to have an objective outside influence during the mixing process as well. As for how long the process took, “it definitely took longer than we would have hoped and we learned a lot of great lessons that will help us with the next project. But it’s out there now and we feel that we have something that sounds good and is an accurate representation of who we are as a band,” he tells me.
The band were asked to play an acoustic set in support of a charity only to have Josh become the honorary guest judge in a twerking contest. “It was super fun,” laughs bassist Josh Barkley. “Every show we have something amazing and random goes down,” he adds. Drew hopes that more lives shows will come up next. “We’ve been in hibernation getting this album done for longer than we’d planned and it’ll be great to start getting out there and playing again. Having something for people to listen to when they go home,” he concludes.
– Fireworks Magazine 2016
11 hot shows from prog-pop to tech-metal this week:
The Fake Sick, Brown Paper Bag, The Elegant Devils, rock/roots, 8 p.m., Zaphod Beeblebrox, 27 York St. Tickets: $8. zaphods.ca
– March 24, 2016. KIRSTIN E. ENDEMANN, OTTAWA CITIZEN
Interview on CKDJ 107.9 FM.
“A group of ruggedly handsome men, who make the kind of music you listen to after having angry make up sex with your ex.”
– MJ Mari
Live 88.5 & CKDJ 107.9
“A group of hardworking, talented guys who have a genuine love for music and the music scene. This is apparent in their consistent efforts to play their music for anyone who will listen and their earnest attitude to do what needs to be done. Its been my pleasure to work with this group of fun loving guys several times and I wouldn’t hesitate to work with them again.”
– Andrea Desjardins
“While working with the band at The Rainbow Bistro, the band did a cover of Aerosmith’s Dream On. People were flying in off the streets to listen. Drew James’ vocals had people totally blown away”
– Bryant McNamara
The Dead Centuries & The Rainbow Bistro
Interview with Big Band Theory