Words – Izzy Church 

 

Mat Devine is an American singer, songwriter born in Norwalk, Connecticut who moved to Normal, Illinois with his family during his junior year of high school. He enrolled as an English Major at Illinois State University and later transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he graduated with a BFA in film. Currently, he is residing in Los Angeles, California. He is most well known for creating and fronting the alternative rock band Kill Hannah. In 2013, Devine announced that he was recording a solo record. The album, Gold Blooded, was released under the pseudonym Wrongchilde in August 2014 and features collaborations with Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, and Morgan Kibby of M83/White Sea and Sierra Kusterbeck of VersaEmerge.

What makes Wrongchilde so right?

This question is a trap! Not sure I’m the right person to extoll the virtues of my own band, but I have to say, our album cover is pretty tight. But I didn’t paint it so I can proudly brag about that.

 

What has been one of your toughest moments or hardest decisions to make musically?

Well, on this record it was really hard deciding what to keep from the original bedroom demos. Every choice we made in the studio enhanced the fidelity and the performance on all levels, but sometimes those things come at a price, you know? Flaws are cool; flaws are human, and my favorite songs of all time, like the early Cure records, are so under-produced and raw. So finding that line and protecting those innocent accidents and flubs when the greatest tools and talents in the world surround you is hard as hell.

 

How has your music affected your personal life, friendships and romantic relationships?

Well on all practical levels, it’s my identity. For better or worse. In terms of relationships, I’m sure all careers have different perks and drags. They just might be a little more extreme when you’re touring all the time. It becomes a long distance relationship, which requires maturity and trust on both parties. As for dating anyone new, I’d say my career in music is probably a net loss—I mean, I certainly don’t volunteer any info. I just say I’m a fisherman.

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I really love the heart-shaped vinyl for “Falling In Love (Will Kill You)”. Who came up with the idea to create the vinyl in the shape of a heart? Was it hard to manufacture?

Thanks! We went through a manufacturer in San Francisco, and it was just something they offered. I was shocked that it was the first time I saw it, and it’s just so apropos to the single title, “Falling in Love (Will Kill You)”. Man, I get so geeked about vinyl!

Does the moniker Wrongchilde inspire a central music theme?

Yeah, I think so… I mean, it has more to do with mood. Everything under this moniker could work in a soundtrack to a Donnie Darko/John Hughes -style film. But that doesn’t limit us at all stylistically. It means we can explore any format, from brooding acoustic weird shit to pop, but it will all have a central thread that unifies it. My favorite bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and Peter Gabriel all do this really well—keeps things interesting for me as a fan.

 

After reading your NYC vs. LA battle on Thought Catalog (very funny), I was left with the impression that you may have traded in your NYC zip code for an LA one for good. Would you say that is true?

No fucking way! I was just being diplomatic! NYC is such a superior city. That’s why I waited for my infatuation with LA to cool before I wrote that. For the first 6 months, it’s easy to get swept up in the natural splendor of it all, but then you realize that people out here believe in crystals and astrology… like, REALLY believe in it without irony.

 

How did your experience recording “Gold Blooded” differ from your experience recording with Kill Hannah?

Well, the biggest difference is, in Kill Hannah, I had such talented bandmates to lean on in the studio—guys who play their instruments far better than I. “Gold Blooded” was really a matter of me being exposed as the dilettante that I am. It forced me to step up my game, or at least be honest with my limitations. I also got some great players to come in and rescue me.

 

 I read that you reached 102% of your goal with PledgeMusic. Can you tell us what it was like to go through that experience from choosing your perks to reaching your goal?

 

Yeah, that’s a challenge. It becomes a full-time job. You feel like a politician. I luckily had a lot of help. I could not have done it alone. My favorite perks that we sold were the phone calls. On one hand, it’s a little bit prostitute-y, but on the other, I’m raising promotional funds simply by chatting about music with a thoughtful fan on the phone… pretty cool.

 

If you could travel to space what would you take with you?

Just to orbit? Would there be astronaut ice cream? I fucking love that stuff. I assume I’d take a 5-D so I could shoot a music video. I’d love to take some wines. And maybe just random crap to do, just to say I’m the “first person ever to do ____ in space”. I mean, if you can’t rack up one Guinness credit in space, you just aren’t using your imagination. All that being said, the entire thing would probably just be one endless anxiety attack. I had my first and only anxiety attack in Saudi… sitting in a racecar. Claustrophobia. That’s a car. Imagine an airtight tube flying through space. OH—final answer? What would I bring? Xanax. Final answer.

 

Is there one song on the album that stands out more than the rest or has significant sentimental value?

Yeah… Frostbite Year was written through the eyes of my ex.

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