Artist Spotlight: Devil Met Contention

Island-pop band Paper Holland is currently touring with the Iowa-based Halfloves, and they played Linneman’s Friday night after being in Chicago Thursday. Rock and roll outfit Devil Met Contention, who haven’t played much in awhile, joined the bill in support.

Devil Met Contention consists of lead vocalist/guitarist Ehson Rad, guitarist David Schuyler, bassist Max Nemer, and drummer Nez (who was not present). The project began primarily as a solo thing of Rad’s, but has had its current lineup for about four years. Their most recent album “Fuel the Lights” came out in 2016, and their latest single is “Take A Chance” from last year.

Rad explains the band tried something new – playing their set without a drummer.

“We just wanted to change it up – it’s good to challenge yourself in new ways. It’s always interesting to me when you expect something like getting to a Field Report show and it’s just a solo show…and I really feel like when bands do that, they get people that have seen them a few times a chance to appreciate the songs in a new way. I know there were songs on the Field Report album I didn’t appreciate fully until I heard them solo, and then I was like “that’s my favorite one on the record.” Caley Conway does a good job with that too. I like to think that we’re versatile enough to play a full-band set, play solo, play two or three of us…it’s a fun challenge. We don’t have to recreate something the same way every time.”

The band recently dropped a cover of the popular jazz number “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home.”

“Milwaukee Record approached us about public domain, and we were just wrapping up at the studio – I told the band they wanted us to cover this jazz song, so we might as well have a studio recording of it. So that’s what we did…we took a day and wrote and recorded it…we did a demo in about two hours and then a few hours later the band threw some stuff on it.”

Rad goes on to describe their single from last year, as well as their plans for 2020.

“That was really the first time we went into the studio not planning on recording the song live. Everything we’ve done before that was very much as you would hear in concert. We got a lot of great time spent at Howl Street Recordings for those first couple records and after that I really wanted to spend some time in a studio doing some mixing and work the song, seeing what we can make. I talked to Daniel Holter at Wire & Vice – really talented producer and engineer – and he offered to record and engineer some songs for us, so we did “Take A Chance” with him and another one called “Everyone You Pass” which will be released later. Our big plans are coming up – we have three EP’s coming out in 2020 – each one has a music video and single released with it. That’s the big plan and our first one I’m really excited about…KP Kaszubowski directed it; we shot it in two nights at the Ambassador Hotel. She had a cool concept and we ran with it…I laid in the street when it was 40 degrees and I was in pajamas. The single will be out on 88Nine too. We’ve never done it like this, so I’m excited. We’ll have a light touring schedule with some local shows and we’re looking for a diverse lineup of support.”

Devil Met Contention plays the Milwaukee Film Festival Music Series on the 23rd with Social Caterpillar. Rad is self-producing and shooting the band’s new music videos; one of which is a space epic complete with costumes.

“We’re just in the back room till 2020, getting everything gift-wrapped for everyone to check out.”

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