the AU interview: Kevin Devine (USA) talks Hobbledehoy Record Co. in Adelaide and the likelihood of Bad Books songs on his tour with Manchester Orchestra

Ahead of his shows with Manchester Orchestra, which kick off tonight in Brisbane, I caught up with Kevin Devine to talk about how Adelaide label Hobbledehoy Record Co. helped get his latest records out in Australia and we reflect on his Bad Books shows in the UK, ultimately asking the question: "Will we hear some Bad Books songs during your Australian shows?"

Tell me a little bit about the release of Bubblegum and Bulldozer here in Australia. What led it to be such a later release here compared to the rest of the world?

You know, we were intending the record to come out roughly at the same time than it did everywhere else, in October 2013. We wanted a global release. So we started reaching out to a few different labels there, one of whom we had made some real progress with - to the point we had a contract ready to go - but then the person we were working with went really quiet. So we missed October. So we were hoping that maybe we'd at least get it out in your Summer, in January. That's no so bad... but five or six months late, that's really rough in the digital age - people can get it the day it comes out on Mars! If you want it you just have to have a wi-fi signal.

It turned out that there was a big shake up at the label, and a bunch of people were either fired or let go, and the person we were dealing with left as a result. Our contract was literally sitting on someone's table waiting to be signed and executed, for about two months. And when we finally found out that the person had left, we knew we had to figure something else out. So it seemed like we weren't going to ever get it out there, officially. And that was a real bummer, especially because there were probably 50 to 100 people who backed the kickstarter campaign from Australia, including one of the biggest backers. And without a release, it's hard to figure out to how physically tour down there and get a backer like that to a soundcheck, or to have coffee with them, or whatever their reward might have been.

What ended up happening was that we wrote to Hobbledehoy Records in Adelaide - we have some mutual friends, and Tom (Majerczak, label founder) and I spoke when the Brother's Blood record came out (Devine's fifth studio record in 2009), about releasing that one. Unfortunately that didn't happen due to a bunch of different reasons, so for this one he was really interested but thought it was too late to release it. A label that size would get their asses kicked, essentially, if we put it out six months late. Which was totally understandable. But we kept talking, about other things, and then he came back a little bit later and said he'd reconsidered, and he wanted to work on the release and so we made it happen.

So we've done a very modest pressing there, just to have enough of a presence to enable a tour. And I think Tom is fighting the good front and doing everything he can uphill. It's a hard thing for him to sell. My base there is not 5 Seconds of Summer's base... most of the people who love what I do would have already found a way to get the record online six months earlier. But I think coming over there and touring will help. This is all a long way of saying that it wasn't necessarily the plan to have Australia be the end of the cycle. For someone in my position, it's just getting harder and harder to get stuff out over there. So I'm really grateful to Tom for giving us the independent platform he did.

And of course you're touring with Manchester Orchestra alongside a couple of solo shows this month. You've toured quite a bit with those guys this year. I noticed too you did shows in the UK where you and Bad Books (your collaborative project with Andy Hull, Manchester Orchestra's lead singer) playing shows together. They must have been pretty busy nights for you...

So what would happen at those UK shows would be that Bad Books would play first, then me and my band and then Manchester. It was weird actually, mainly for the Manchester guys I think. They would go out and open the show and then come back and headline the show. I think for them it was a little strange psychologically. We did 10 shows in 13 days or something like that and what we learned was that though it was a good idea, we might not want to execute it in a US environment, where you might be doing that thirty or forty times.

Everyone on that tour except for my guitar player, who only played my set and Manchester's drummer, who only played their set, was playing at least twice. And one dude, the bassist, played all night. He was always on stage. We were excited though that people in the crowds knew the Bad Books material, because it never came out physically anywhere other than the US. There were some though who were really confused, "What the fuck am I looking at!? Why is everyone from the other two bands standing on stage right now, playing music I've never heard before?!".

I think that it's a good idea, it sounds great, but after doing it, we figured that it was enough of doing that for a while.

So that rules anything out for Australia then?

Well, I would imagine that with these Australian shows, if there are any Bad Books songs - Ben's not there, our drummer - it'll probably just be me and Andy just doing a solo song or two at some point. Which I do imagine will happen!


Kevin Devine's latest records Bubblegum and Bulldozer are available now through Hobbledehoy Records in Australia. Kevin kicks off his tour with Manchester Orchestra tonight in Brisbane.

*Manchester Orchestra & Kevin Devine* November 12 – BRISBANE @ THE HI-FI –
*Manchester Orchestra & Kevin Devine* November 13 – MELBOURNE @ CORNER HOTEL – Sold Out
*Manchester Orchestra & Kevin Devine* November 14th -MELBOURNE @ CORNER HOTEL
*Manchester Orchestra & Kevin Devine* November 15 – SYDNEY @ METRO THEATRE –
Tickets available at

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