My Device, NYC

It’s rare nowadays to chat to a band from the UK who does their own DIY trip to NYC, hooks up with some local bands and cultivates a mini scene for themselves.  I haven’t seen so much enthusiasm and energy with a band eager to simply play in the city and feed off the vibe, only to see what happens.  My Device hasn’t got any grandiose plan to take over the scene and conquer the country.  Just yet.

With two albums under their belt that are oozing with feedback heavy, frantically spastic pop melodies that screech like old Birthday Party tunes at times, this trio from Brighton (Todd Jordan, Russell Eke and Alex Uren) have the creds of a great band in the making.  Aside from being hooked up with Oxford’s respectable Shifty Disco label, they’ve got almost seven years of history, which entails a deep-rooted friendship with each other and their music.  Spending the afternoon with them in downtown Manhattan was quite the buzz, and needless to say, our conversation was anything but ordinary.

Before I met you we talked a bit when you were in Brighton.  Have you expectations changed now finally being in New York?

Todd:  I was kind of anxious before we got here. I didn’t know what it was going to be like.  I didn’t know if we would fit in or what people would make of us.  But as soon as we arrived I knew everything worked out.  It was weird, we actually made it into the country and it’s on!

My Device, NYC

You recently played your first official gig in Brooklyn, how’d it go?

Todd:  It was our first ever gig outside the UK.

Russell:  It was a house party, so there was a homemade audience for us, a nice way to ease up.  We were playing with [Brooklyn band] The Library Is On Fire.

Todd:  They [the crowd] really got into it.  That’s what’s different with the crowd at home.  Unless they’ve heard about you, people generally won’t give you the time of day. Everyone was ready to give us a go and it was really refreshing.

Alex:  I think that’s going to happen with the rest of the gigs we play at the venues (The Silent Barn, Cake Shop, Knitting Factory) since we’ve heard about them all, and we’re really excited.

Todd:  I want to be playing right now!

Is the material you’re performing a mix of old and new stuff?

Todd:  The luxury we have here is nobody really knows our stuff, so we’re playing a mix. Everything is new to everybody.

Alex: We’ve had two albums out, Jumbo Fiasco and Nervous System, so we’re playing stuff off of those and hopefully the new record we’ll have out next year.

You’ve got two full-lengths out, that’s very impressive.

Todd:  Yeah, they’re not very long because we like to do things fast and we don’t like to overstay our welcome with a song.  I think in music publishing terms to qualify as an album it has to be around thirty-five minutes.

Alex:  Most of our songs are about 1.5 to 2 minutes long.

Todd:  If a song is really great and really short, you can play it twice in five minutes.

Alex:  We like to give off as much energy as we can in a short amount of time.

Todd:  I’m not so sure with the live set that we can sustain an hour or so.  After twenty minutes we were ready to drop last night!

My Device, NYC

What are some influences behind your music?

Todd:  I’m a massive Frank Zappa fan.

Alex:  We all are.

Todd:  Obviously we don’t have the same command of instruments, but I just like the sense of fun.  That’s what music should always be.

Alex:  We’re about having fun, all the time.

Do you feel My Device has evolved together musically?

Todd:  We grew a lot together.  When we got together we were at the same level of competency with our instruments.  We’ve got a good language together now, and we know each other very well.  It’s the longest relationship any of us have had!

What is your outlook or timeline for the band?

Russell:  Well we never thought we’d even be playing in New York, so we don’t really think in that kind of way.

Todd:  Already we’ve done a lot more than I would ever dreamed.  When we got the first single I was like, ‘wow’, we’ve got the first, we could end tomorrow and we’d have this under our belts.  We’ve got two albums and now we’re in America.  We hope to do Europe next, we’re playing with an Irish band and see about going there perhaps.  A friend of mine just went to Dublin for one show and the gig got canceled.  They were supposed to play a cider festival, but the sound man got drunk!

I want to go to a cider festival!

Alex:  It’s good fun.

Todd:  Next time you’re in Sussex, I’ll hook you up; there’s a place called Middle Farm, it’s a proper barn with like sixty different ciders in big barrels to sample!  I was taken there for my birthday a few weeks ago and was just let loose!

So from a cider barn to Silent Barn, My Device have definitely come a long way!

Will you be coming back to the U.S. soon?

Todd: Yes, as a matter of fact, we are planning a bit of an east coast US tour with our Brooklyn buddies, The Library Is On Fire.  We haven’t booked our tickets yet, but we’re planning to do about two weeks in July, visiting New York, Chicago, Columbus, Rhode Island, Virginia, and a bunch of other places… We can’t wait!

–Andrea D’Alessandro/photos by Tear-n Tan

  1. [...] are good friends with the Brighton band My Device and had an East Coast tour with them last year. Do you think you’ll have any more shows or tours [...]