I had a very hard time imagining who Devon Welsh might be. Who was hiding behind the last few songs I’d just heard from Majical Couldz?
We spent an afternoon with him. And the particular afternoon in question was passed in the company of a fragile being, picked up and dropped in an alien universe by a force so much greater than him. We didn’t speak the same language.
We were at le Sentier, having met in a piano bar near Oberkampf. We got there by métro. And in the métro, there was Devon, anxious, hesitant, glued to the platform. He got to singing, but his voice wasn’t steady enough to hide his timidity. A dozen trains rolled by before he was able to take the step, to deliver himself to the crowd of weary creatures, seated with their eyes fixed on him. When the doors closed, there was just this thin voice struggling to distinguish itself from the brouhaha of the train car. Then gradually, the train accelerated and with it his voice expanded.
In the métro and in the bar where he sang “Bugs Don’t Buzz”, Devon had this crazy look about him. All those times that someone has described a singer as being figuratively elsewhere, while he sings; Devon Welsh is literally elsewhere. He’s definitely looking at something, but something none of us can see. When he sings, Devon is addressing someone that only he sees, but whose presence none of us can deny. Bulging in their sockets, his eyes see beyond ours, and his voice takes us far away.
Translated by Dexter Blumenthal