Dev & The Cataracs' frontwoman talks about her musical rise from Myspace to The Dinah's stage and the top of the Billboard charts
You’ve heard her voice reverberating from speakers in clubs, bars, cars and iPods. Her vocals on the smash hit “Like a G6” have catapaulted the song to the top of the Billboard charts and into the heads of pretty much everyone but cave-dwelling hermits. She’s part of a tight-knit trio threatening to own dance floors around the globe with its addictive electro-pop tracks. She’s Dev of Dev & The Cataracs, and she’s descending on Palm Springs to headline The Dinah’s notorious “White Diamonds Party” this April Fool’s. GO caught up with Dev ahead of her Dinah debut to find out what makes this sexy siren keep her “Bass Down Low.”
GO: You and the Cataracs are headlining the Dinah this year. How do you feel about performing poolside in front of 5,000 screaming women in bikinis?
Dev: That’s my kind of party! I’m excited and I think it’s going to be awesome.
GO: We also saw you perform down in Atlantic City, N.J., on Halloween weekend for Out in AC. Do you plan on playing even more gigs for the LGBT community?
Dev: I would love to if they would have me.
GO: Who are some of your musical influences?
Dev: Growing up I was influenced a lot by Nirvana and Eminem. Looking back, I remember being handed the Marshall Mathers LP and the Nevermind album and I couldn’t stop listening. They really changed the way I felt about music.
GO: Are those artists part of what inspired you to make the move to becoming a performer?
Dev: Definitely. As I got older, I remember being given the No Doubt album and also listening to the Cranberries and a lot of Snoop, Tupac and the Fugees. And a lot of [barrier] rap music. I there’s a little bit of all of that in my music. When I sat down to make my album, I tried to add a bit of everything.
GO: How did you hook up with The Cataracs?
Dev: I recorded a song on my Macbook and put it on Myspace. They found me two months later and we met up because we were all living in California. We clicked instantly. They’re my main producers and partners for everything. We all just got back from Costa Rica and the album “A Night the Sun Came Up” will be dropping this summer.
GO: You’re a California girl, but you grew up in the burbs. What was it like moving from a small town to LA?
I’m from a super small town. I was an hour outside San Fran, but when I moved to LA, I was cement jungle and embraced it. I’m finding that LA has also embraced me and given me opportunities, and so it was a good move. I’m really happy that I did it. i was hard but I knew what I wanted to do isn’t that bad
GO: So is Dev a stage name?
Dev: My name is Devon, but Dev was my nickname growing up. Cataracs started calling me that and it stuck.
GO: The Dinah is known for staying ahead of the curve and snatching up acts like Lady Gaga and K$sha right before they go global. Do you envision a continued meteoric rise for you and The Cataracs coming out of The Dinah and everything else you’ve got going on right now?
Dev: I definitely hope so, of course! The songs “Bass Down Low” and “G6” have done great things for all of us and put us on a higher platform to share music with more people. I don’t think The Cataracs and I look at it as anything more than expressing ourselves. I guess that healthy mindset will lead to great things without it involving too much pressure. That’s how I like to think about it. But I’m so lucky the songs were successful.
GO: Who does the writing for your songs?
Dev: Usually [The Cataracs] will come to me and say, “You would sound good on this hook.” When recording my album, it was collaborative. I would wake up when we were all in Costa Rica recording and say, “I have this idea for a song” and that’s sort of how we did it. Those are my best friends. They know me better than anyone else and know everything about me, from who I dated to what I eat. We’re the perfect team.
GO: In your video for “Booty Bounce,” there are rapid-fire outfit/fashion/appearance changes, and in your other videos your look seems to mesh with your songs. Do you see fashion as part of your whole act, like Lady Gaga, who’s such a chameleon with her wardrobe and uses it as performance and political statement?
Dev: I love the performing and the fashion aspect as much as I love what people listen to. But I don’t think of style as anything I’m trying to achieve. Ever since I was little I’ve been wearing my own stuff. And I get really bored easily so it’s another way to express myself. I dont think of it as anything more than that. I work with the brand Hellzbellz, who did all the “Booty Bounce” clothes. They do my branding, they style me for appearances and performances, so it’s great having that to play with.
GO: Where do you see yourself in the future?
Dev: I’m gonna put out this album and share it with the world and do as many shows as possible and let me take this journey as far as it can. And maybe put out another album after. But right now I’m going to keep it moving as much as possible.
For more info on Dev and The Dinah, click here.