By Joey Lopez
Vancouver avant -garde pop artist Devours has been pushing boundaries since the release of his last record Late Bloomer, when he achieved the feat of making a massive – sounding album with studio quality in his own apartment and created a sound unlike anyone else in his genre.
With his upcoming album Iconoclast, Devours took the approach of being wholly and completely himself: dramatic, honest and queer. With Iconoclast, Devours confronts himself and his identity by leaning in, taking the good and the bad to express himself to the fullest.
“The last three years have been extremely transformative for me,” he says. “The emotions are pretty raw and intense on Iconoclast. I was in a significant relationship that came to an end during the songwriting period, so there are a few breakup songs on the album. Iconoclast is not an album about relationships with other people, though. It is about my relationship with myself. The album is also about masculinity and queer identity. I dealt with a ton of shame and insecurity growing up – about my sexuality and issues surrounding my body image, to name a few. This album is about letting go of any lingering traces of internalized homophobia inside of me and finally embracing who I am.”
For Devours, creating Iconoclast has been a journey of self – exploration. On it, he discovers who he is not just as an artist, but as a person. Most of this trip through the inner workings of himself comes from his experience within the gay community and trying to fit into particular roles in a bid to find a sense of belonging. To liberate himself from the rigid structure, he found himself creating an iconic look that was a contradiction to his masculine features, instead presenting Devours as something feminine to rebel against his own views of himself. That was beginning of the journey, and over the years spent crafting Iconoclast, Devours has permeated in the ideas that kick started the creation of the album, changing with the project while still remaining earnest by keeping things personal.
“Aside from my friend Joel Gomez lending his amazing falsetto to some of the tracks, I wrote, recorded, mixed, and mastered this album by myself on Planet Devours, aka my tiny apartment in Mount Pleasant,” he says. “It was a long process that lasted several years, so my feelings towards the album have had plenty of time to shift around. My breakup was hard, and my journey of self – discovery has been long and isn’t over, so the album still feels pretty raw to me. Lots of really personal themes and lyrics. I was also pushing myself really hard to make a Vancouver album that was both DIY and huge – sounding, weird but catchy, honest to my own experiences but still relatable – so that was my mindset when I was writing and producing it. It was an intense ride from the beginning, but I seriously love this record.”
From the beginning of his career, Devours has remained driven by the same motivator: a cathartic release. For him, everything he creates is an emotional experience that allows him to quantify his current experience and the need to put his feelings out in the open. With lyrics that are delicate and somber backed by powerful production, Devours’ work feels carefully packaged, waiting to be opened when an emotional release is needed.
“I have always felt compelled to express myself through music,” says Devours. “It has been really therapeutic for me throughout my life. I tend to keep my lyrics personal and just sing about whatever I’m going through at the time, so every album ends up being pretty cathartic. One big thing that drove me with this album was my desire to write about male body image – mainly because of my struggles with it, and because I know a lot of fellow gays who are wrestling with the same demons. Also, I’m at a place in my life and career where I only want to write queer lyrics. No more pandering to the mainstream.”
Devours performs at Static Jupiter (Vancouver) on March 7, at the Copper Owl (Victoria) on March 10 andat the Red Gate Arts Society (Vancouver) on March 15