Interview: Kevin Devine & Bad Books

Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra teamed up to create indie super group, Bad Books.  We had the opportunity of interviewing  Kevin recently who was ever so nice to answer our questions.

Modern Mystery:  This is one of the most anticipated lineups in a while. Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra. How did Bad Books come about?

Kevin Devine: We’ve known each other for almost four years now, met on tour with Brand New in 2007, and got along really well, enjoyed each others’ stuff, and have been talking about actually making music together ever since.  It was a question of aligning two separate and busy schedules to give it a fair shake, and we were able to do that this January.

Do you find it hard to work on Bad Books and still be able to work on your original projects?

Not yet, not at all.  It kind of worked out perfectly in terms of finding a window where we were both pretty available to devote the necessary focus to at least lift this off the ground.  I wish we’d have been able to do a bit more touring for the record, but our collective schedules just didn’t really allow for it, and with that in mind, I’m glad we got to wedge in as much as we have.

How does playing in Bad Books feel, as far as writing songs and playing live, differ from what you’re used to as a solo artist?

I’ve been playing in bands my whole life, and have a group I play with when I do my own stuff, so it’s not like I went from playing exclusively alone with an acoustic guitar to playing in this big rock context and it required a super big adjustment.  What’s different about playing in Bad Books is the people – people always bring their stamp to things and by nature songs change if you let the personnel change them – and the dynamic – I’m not necessarily “leading” here as much as I am part of a whole, and that’s been really nice and I think strengthens the performance and material, being able to spread that role and responsibility around. 

When it came to writing songs, how did you two collaborate? Did you work on the tracks together or did you come in with music you have already worked on?

We both came in with some structures and ideas, some basic frameworks lyrically and melodically, and then built out around those.  We were both very vocal and involved with each others’ songs, suggesting structural changes, harmony ideas, arrangements, all that stuff.

What is your favorite track on the album and why?

Probably “Holding Down The Laughter” or “Baby Shoes”.  I just think those are the best developed and the most exciting to me, the most progressive.  They make me excited to see what we’ll do next. 

What was the inspiration behind the songs on this record?

I think each song carries its own inspiration; there was no binding governing principle to create some sort of theme or collectivized idea, it’s not like a concept record or anything.  I wouldn’t speak for Andy but I’d say that my songs tend to be about people figuring out the relationship between crisis and hope, people dealing with loss and acceptance, people trying to make sense of how to keep open in a very difficult and at times relentless world.  I think to varying extents all the songs on this record are about those things, too.

What are the future plans for Bad Books? Can we expect to hear more from you?

That’s the plan.  Hopefully we can get in and make another record sometime next year.


Bad Books Release First Video for “You Wouldn’t Have to Ask”

The Kevin Devine – Manchester Orchestra power couple have just released their first video from their self titled debut for “You Wouldn’t Have to Ask.” It’s black and white and reminds us of a New Pornorgraphers video, but its cool to say the least. The band takes a 1960’s looking turn in it which makes for a fun view!

Playtime!: Brian Bonz @ His Brooklyn Rehearsal Studio – CMJ 2010

We had the amazing opportunity of filming Brian Bonz on the last day of CMJ at his Brooklyn Rehearsal space. Bonz and his incredible band played a couple of songs for us and we couldn’t ask for a better way to end all of our festival filmings. Sit back, relaz, and enjoy the soothing and incredible music of Brian Bonz. (ps. stay tuned for the interview!)

Part One

Part Two


We have more amazing photos of CMJ 2010 for your pretty little eyes to gaze upon right here! From Phoenix to Two Door Cinema Club, we have it all…
Day 1:
Oh Land
Death On Two Wheels
River City Extension
Miniature Tigers
Kevin Devine & The God Damn Band

Day 2:
Dirty Projectors
Phoenix (With special guest Daft Punk)

Day 3:
Penguin Prison
Two Door Cinema Club

Day 4:
Porcelain Raft
Dominant Legs
Johnny Flynn
Chapel Club
Everything Everything
Blood Red Shoes

Bad Books Rocked Out and Sold Out at the Bowery Ballroom -CMJ

Doesn’t matter if you enjoy reading or not, Bad Books carved themselves open at the CMJ this year. We’re talking about a music side collective consisting of New York local artist  Kevin Devine and Andy Hull, the frontman of an Atlanta-based indie-rock group Manchester Orchestra.The band’s material is founded upon the close friendship between Hull and Devine. The two produce a contrast of buoyant folk-rock  while  interweaving threads of swelling alternative rock. With lyrics that are histrionically driven and dizzying spontaneity, the Bad Books won themselves a sold out show on Wednesday night at the Bowery Ballroom.

Bad Books released their self-titled album You Wouldn’t Have To Ask, on Tuesday, October 19 just a day before their New York show and will continue on touring across the nation through the month of December.

***Tour Dates***

Bad Books at  North Star Bar w/ Right Away, Great Captain!, Gobotron & Hardello, Philadelphia, PA

Sat, October 23 @ 6:00 PM

Bad Books at  Ottobar w/ Right Away, Great Captain!, Gobotron & Hardello, Baltimore, MD

Sun, October 24 @ 6:00 PM

Bad Books at  FG Present: “The Stuffing” @ The Center Stage Atlanta Music Complex, Atlanta, GA

Wed, November 24 @ 5:00 PM

Bad Books at  Andy & Kevin Devine @ Cats Cradle, Carrboro, NC

Wed, December 01 @ 8:30 PM

Bad Books at  Andy & Kevin Devine @ New Brookland Tavern, West Columbia, SC

Thu, December 02 @ 7:30 PM

Bad Books at  Andy & Kevin Devine @ The 567, Macon, GA

Fri, December 03 @ 8:30 PM

Bad Books at  Andy & Kevin Devine @ The Social, Orlando, FL

Sat, December 04 @ 8:30 PM

Bad Books at  Andy & Kevin Devine @ The Orpheum, Tampa, FL

Sun, December 05 @ 7:30 PM

-Viktorsha Uliyanova