Dogzilla protégé Devlin is the Dagenham-born, MOBO-nominated rapper whose crew consists of Britain’s most talented songwriters and producers.
Influencing a generation of today’s most ambitious MCs, Devlin’s debut mixtape Tales From The Crypt is often cited as one of the most influential grime albums of the noughties. Throw forward to 2012, the latest offering from this 23-year-old, Island Records signed sensation is the highly anticipated A Moving Picture. Released on October 29th and produced by Devlin’s closest and most trusted ally, Lewi White, get set to salute the grey haired, rhyme slaying, spitting machine. Here he performs a stripped back version of his latest single ‘Watchtower’ exclusively for i-D online.
How did you feel watching your mate Ed Shereen perform at the Closing Ceremony? He texted me before he went on saying he was nervous. I’m just mad proud, I met that fella on Example’s tour three years ago. For a young geeza he’s killed it. I was watching it with my manager and my other pal, it was emotional, I’m happy for him. When did you start working on your latest single Watchtower together? That was a while ago now. Labrinth said they’d heard the Jimi Hendrix version over the radio and that they’d like to do something so I should put a demo together and sent it over. That was about five months ago, it’s all come together, Labrinth did the beat, got my lyrics together, and we’re finally here. What’s the concept behind your new album? It’s a transition, the last two years the stuff I’ve seen, I’ve been living the dream, it’s what I’ve always wanted. I think the music’s progressed and in terms of production, when I’m making cinematic songs, when there’s that orchestral feel behind a song think that always draws something out of me, that’s where I thrive. So we tried to make the music like a film score. Do you see yourself continuing in the rap direction? I’d love to write songs and I think I’m more than capable of doing that but at the moment my grime and my rap is what’s most important to me. Obviously I’ve got a lot to do still, I’m credited for what I do but I’m not as successful as a lot of people. I think that’s the music I’m making, I’ve got to try and go round the long way and keep chipping away. What other artists could you imagine writing for? Ed writes songs for One Direction and I think I could write things that I couldn’t necessarily sing or use. I could write a love song and have someone else sing it. I’m a young man so wherever these next few years take me I just want to be happy with what I’ve done in my career before I can start branching out and writing for other people. How are people reacting to the new material? Watchtower’s going down really well, it’s got that slap in it, it’s got that energy. When the songs more familiar I think it could be a real festival hit.