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  • Writer's pictureLeon Riccio

Deva St. John wear their colours with Pride

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

Photo credit: Louis Jean La Grange

Punching a hole through the dull clouds overhead, Deva St. John threw a coarser tone into their incendiary live display of heavy pop-rock at Saturday’s Reading Pride festival event.

Sporting a set of multi-coloured patchwork trousers, The 27-year-old artist ripped through the first two songs, Reckless and Information Age, on the 19th anniversary of the bustling town’s LGBT+ event, pushing an emphasis on the grainy heavy-rock guitar and vocals over her usual pop sensibilities, and complimenting the harsher sound with her own on-stage frantic theatrics.

The Maidenhead native performed her latest three singles - two of which are set to feature on her soon-to-be-released EP, Nauseous Ad Nauseum, where she pulls from her internal struggles, her experiences with living with Cystic Fibrosis, and concerns over glorification of mental illness within her own scene - all the while letting her lyrics boldly declare her own optimism.

Discussing the upcoming EP, featuring the latest single DIE!, Skye Bennett/Deva (pronounced ‘Dayva’) said: “The EP is a four-track EP, the first two tracks are DIE! And Pity Party, which I played here. The third track, Poser, is about posers in the alt-rock scene who glorify mental illness and addiction - just how toxic it is, especially as these artists sometimes have a really young fan base.

“The fourth track, The Curse, was written when my health was on the decline and I was in the hospital doing a really intense IV treatment - they compare it to Chemo, because of how aggressive it is. I wrote about how tired I am, how I need to deal with it, and I’ve been dealing with it. The theme of the EP is sort of all over the place.

“Like most of my songs, it has an undertone of hope even though the themes are quite dark. I don’t like to leave it at that - I like eliciting an emotional response in the listener, but I don’t want to depress people too much.

“I think the general theme is dark rock, but with a hopeful undertone. I think I’d describe my music kind of like that.”

Photo credit: Louis Jean La Grange

The performing her latest two singles to the beaming crowd - of which were suitably draped in Pride regalia - the artist accompanied by blue-haired drummer Kurt, guitarist Wyse, and Colin on keys gave an unrelenting mesh of rich hard-rock riffs and forceful vocals.

The performance, punctuated by Deva’s wide-eyed, thrashing stage antics, struck a contrast to her slightly-more polished saccharine releases - kicking life into the show while losing none of the pop fun, in spite of the microphone malfunction half-way through the set.

Discussing her own music style, the Reading-local added: “I am super-inspired by pre-2000s rock, so I like taking those songwriting styles and incorporating modern production - I love the way songs are produced now, so I try to incorporate pop production into rock music.”

Following her last gig of the summer, American-English Deva let-on to what she has in store next: “I’m actually looking to go to school next year, studying music production at Abbey Road. It’s something I’ve been super interested in for as long as I can remember, but only recently have I got the confidence and drive to do it.

“Obviously there will still be songs coming out, and hopefully a tour, but we’ll see how much work I have to do! I think I might do a show in London in October to promote the EP, but that’s in the works. Anything I book will be on my Social Media.”

To keep up-to-date with Deva St. John, visit her Instagram page @devastjohn.

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