The Devlins started playing shows in Dublin around 1990 with the line up consisting of Colin Devlin on Guitars and vocals, Peter Devlin on bass, Sean Devitt on drums and Niall ‘Herbie‘ Macken on Piano and Keyboards.Peter and Colin were both in college at this point but had been writing songs and demoing at home for quite some time. They recorded a demo tape which eventually led to them signing a record contract about a year later with Capitol Records in Los Angeles.They released their Debut album ‘Drift’ to critical acclaim in 1994. The record was produced by long time Daniel Lanois collaborator Malcolm Burn “We were both big fans of the album that Malcolm had produced for blues guitarist Chris Whitley” says Peter, “and also his contribution to Bob Dylan’s Oh Mercy. We met Malcolm in NYC and eventually ended up recording most of it it at Lanois’ Kingsway Studios in New Orleans after beginning at STS Studios in Dublin”.David Bottrill engineered the album, coming straight from Real World Studios where he had just completed recording Peter Gabriel’s ‘US ‘ record.”We were lucky to get him, but he fancied a break from Real World and New Orleans seemed like a good option I guess!”.He guys also collaborated with Robert Bell from Scottish legends ‘The Blue Nile’ on one track of the album. The band toured extensively throughout North America and Europe over the next two years to promote the release which helped to successfully build an international fan base for their music. Press for the album included four stars from both ‘Rolling Stone’ and ‘Q’ magazine among others.
While touring in North America with Sarah McLachlan Colin and Peter had met her songwriting partner and producer Pierre Marchand in Montreal.They were a big fans of his work and asked him if he’d be up for producing their next album.This collaboration led to the making of ‘Waiting’ which was recorded in Montreal in the winter of 1996 at Pierre’s Wild Sky Studios in the Laurentian mountains about an hour outside the city.He played piano and keyboards on the album also and Sean Devitt continued on drums.Waiting was released in 1997 and was engineered, mixed and produced Pierre Marchand.
“Waiting still stands up really well today I think” says Colin “He really took the time to let the songs and the sound of the record develop into something coherent and special. A song like Waiting is so simple, but that’s the key, not adding anything you don’t really need and getting to the essence of the song with a great performance. We really liked his somewhat cinematic approach to music and felt that being in his creative space and environment was the right approach for us musically at that time”.
They continued to tour extensively over the next couple of years which cemented their recognition and standing as an international act, receiving positive reviews for both the album and their live shows.Playing everywhere from small clubs and theatres to Madison Square Gardens and most places in between.
‘Consent’ was the third release from the band which came out in 2001.It was co produced by Peter and Colin and recorded at a large old house in West Cork, Ireland, owned by Tori Amos whom they had met while touring with her in support of ‘Waiting’. Feeling the need to record at home, a studio was set up in the house for the duration and then was completed at Tori’s studio in Cornwall with the help of her production team of Mark Hawley and Marcel Van Limbeek who helped with additional recording and mixing.There was also a couple of weeks recording in San Sebastian in Spain ”We’d become great friends with Mark and Marcel on tour and they had done a wonderful job on our live sound every night for a long time, so it seemed like a logical step for them to get involved”.Robert Bell again produced a couple of tracks on the album adding his atmospheric touch.Sean Devitt again played drums on Consent but was joined on a few tracks by Matt Chamberlain whom the guys had met on tour also.”We didn’t get to tour as much as we’d wanted on ‘Consent’ for various reasons but we’re very proud of it as our first self produced album.Songs like the title track, ‘Static in the Flow’, and ‘There is a light’
are among my favourites in The Devlins back catalogue” adds Colin.”We had alot of fun making it also, with some great memories of moving from place to place to complete it and to get the sound we were after”.
The fourth Devlin’s album ‘Waves’ was release in 2004 and was recorded at The Devlins own studio which they had set up in the control room of The Factory Studios in Ringsend.
“We were looking for a new space and rehearse and record in at the time, The Factory was supposed to be closing down to make way for yet another apartment block” says Peter, “but it seemed like the perfect place for us to make a slightly edgier record than ‘Consent’ so we rented it for six months and it worked out great. We mixed it with
Danton Supple who we’d met through a friend and we’d loved the work he’d done on Coldplay so he seemed like the right guy to mix it”.
At this point the line up of the band had become solid with Guy Rickarby taking over on drums and Mark Murphy adding additional guitars as the fourth member.The line has remained the same since then. The band embarked on a North American tour in support of Waves also.
The cinematic atmosphere of The Devlins music has attracted many film directors and music supervisors over the years and their songs have been used in numerous international film and tv projects including the Batman Forever soundtrack, several HBO shows including ‘Six Feet Under’ and the movie ‘Closer’ to name a few.Their music continues to be discovered by new fans due to the enduring quality of the songs and production. In 2011 The Devlins released their first new material with the song ‘Julian’ which was again produced by Pierre Marchand and recorded in Dublin and Montreal.
A new album is scheduled for late 2013.
"This is by far the most mature and introspective work that the Devlins have released to date and we suspect the new album is going to be massive" : Hot Press.