[pullquote quote="As long as it's truthful. I think that's what's most important. And there's something that's more praised and celebrated about depression than there is about joy. But joy is just as truthful. "]Celebrating its 11th anniversary, the OC Music Awards kicks off on January 3rd with seven weeks of free showcases at different venues across the county. 35 local artists will compete for the titles of Best Live Band or Best Live Acoustic and a performance slot at the 2012 OC Music Awards, March 3 at the Grove of Anaheim. And, the voting is open now!
Despite their mischievous moniker, The Devious Means are a fun-loving five piece indie-pop band from Orange County who list their influences on Facebook as “singing, dancing, clapping, shouting, and high fiving” and their genre as “fun.”
And yes, they’re still a bit mischievous but in that pure-hearted way that has made them the band most positively mentioned by other bands in the OC Music Awards.
While their eclectic, dance-friendly sound possesses layered meaning and can delve into “darker tones” like on their new single “Witmer,” The Devious Means, in both their music and their personal energies, immediately bring a feeling of gaiety and sport to the stiffest of situations–interview included.
“As long as it’s truthful,” said Christopher Faris, vocalist and guitar player. “I think that’s what’s most important. And there’s something that’s more praised and celebrated about depression than there is about joy. But joy is just as truthful.”
“We’re just not really that depressed,” joked his brother, Andrew Faris, who is also a guitar player for the band. “So, we can’t really make any good music.”
[pullquote quote="From the first song to the last, every song represents something different about our interest musically. Let's just write good songs and who cares what genre it fits in. As long as we think it's a good song, that's what matters. "]Joined by Megan Polendo on bass, Jason Mize on drums, and Rachel Anderson on keys and vocals, The Devious Means are smart enough to know how to brand themselves to the outside world–even if labels can’t necessarily sum up the diversity of their sound.
“We definitely feel like we have a genre because it’s pretentious to say you don’t,” observed Chris. “We’re influenced by a lot of bands. We sound like a lot of bands. And, we’re probably not as original as we think we are, but we’re still original enough.”
“From the first song to the last, every song represents something different about our interest musically,” the singer continued. “Let’s just write good songs and who cares what genre it fits in. As long as we think it’s a good song, that’s what matters.”
[pullquote quote="I think our strength as a band is writing melodies that you can sing to. They're memorable, singable melodies. Stuff that's easy to invite participation live and stuff like that. "]“We’re an indie rock band. And the beauty of indie rock and the beauty of music right now is that people pay for songs and not albums anymore,” Chris concluded definitively. “So there’s something that’s kind of limiting and also freeing about that where we can write songs from a lot of different spectrums and still really enjoy that.”
One person that has helped the band maintain their varied sound is Dallas Kruse, a producer whom Chris calls a “virtuoso.”
Kruse, who runs Zion Studios, helped the band construct a new EP which the Devious Means dub a “direct contrast to the old one” because of its organic, natural sound and not a polished finish.
The Devious Means, in their effort for “truthfulness” within their music, even had the mixing engineer rework all the beautiful “blemishes” of sound back in.
“I don’t think we’re trying to be cooler than anybody or anything like that and I like that about us. I think that’s why we can move between genres and write any song that we think is good,” said Andrew when asked to describe their new sound.
“I think our strength as a band is writing melodies that you can sing to,” he continued. “They’re memorable, singable melodies. Stuff that’s easy to invite participation live and stuff like that.”
“It feels kind of silly to me. I mean, we’re all from Orange County,” Andrew noted. “How seriously can we take ourselves? Our life hasn’t been that hard.”
In a sort of sarcastic “first world problems” revelry, I joked about The Real Devious Means of Orange County wherein Chris replied that he’s going to get boobs but would have his image consultant pick the size.
[pullquote quote="My husband and I joke that I play in a psych-rock band because there's several songs that come out of your therapy sessions. "]A plethora of jokes about breasts ensue with someone noting that the member missing from the interview, Mize, would have an elegant, perfect answer for everything.
I replied jokingly, “He’d answer perfectly like he’d been trained by a publicist for a thousand years?”
To which Chris responded, “Signs off on everything he says.”
However, all joking aside, every member of the Devious Means is eloquent in their own right. Chris, who is a practicing therapist as his “day job,” especially so.
“My husband and I joke that I play in a psych-rock band because there’s several songs that come out of your therapy sessions,” said Polendo to Chris.