Devience are one of the most exciting bands in the UK right now. With honest rock songs at their heart reminiscent of Guns N' Roses and Alter Bridge; they've also got a charismatic frontman in Gio Spano to match.
Photogroupie caught up with Gio to find out more about his background in performing at the amazing debut album.
PHOTOGROUPIE: (PG) YOU STARTED SINGING AT THE AGE OF 8, WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO TAKE UP SINGING?
GIO: (G) It was funny actually. I went to see the musical Starlight Express and I bought the soundtrack out of my pocket money and started listening to it all the time. My mum was walking upstairs one day and thought 'who the hell is singing?' and it turned out it was me. So she sent me to classical music, opera lessons. That's where that belting sound comes from, I learnt good breath control from a young age. Music was always a massive part of my life, any CD or cassette I could get my hands on regardless of whether it was Barry White of Pavarotti I would listen to. One of the first songs I heard was Bohemian Rhapsody, and it all went from there. I've never stopped, and I love it more than anything.
PG: YOU'VE GOT A BACKGROUND IN MUSICAL THEATRE, HOW HAS THAT HELPED WITH YOUR VOCALS AND PERFORMANCE?
G: With performing, I'm a bit of a cheeky chappy anyway. Apparently, my Grandfather in Italy would knock on doors and get people to come out and dance in the piazza. It's in my genetic makeup to get everyone going. I do struggle if people aren't involved and caught up in the moment of the gig, so I will do something 'out there' and nuts and get everyone involved. The whole musical theatre thing has helped with the vocal training and in terms of performance.
PG: THERE'S QUITE A FINE LINE BETWEEN ROCK AND OPERA/MUSICAL THEATRE VOCALS DESPITE WHAT PEOPLE MAY THINK, ISN'T THERE?
G: Massively, if you are talking about more legitimate musical theatre like Les Miserable, yes definitely. I think Myles Kennedy would be the greatest Jean Valjean you've ever seen! Singing big rock vocals and power ballads requires an enormous amount of technique. One of the guys in the band asked me how I get those high notes or make that sound. It's the mixture of the head voice and chest voice, you have to find the middle place between the two. Some of these big rock stars could easily walk into any legit musical theatre show.
PG: YOU SPENT SOME TIME IN AMERICA WITH THE BAND, WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THAT EXPERIENCE?
G: The main thing we learnt was performance, performance, performance. Before we went to the states the guys would just stand there and play, and it was ok that they were a good enough musicians. But that's 30% of the battle, the audience has to be entertained when they watch us. They might love our songs, but you have to entertain them. Now they do silly things, spin guitars around, put on a show, that's what it's about. From my background you have to put on a show, if we're not enjoying it, they're not enjoying it. You have to be taken on a journey.
PG: YOU'VE JUST RELEASED A DEBUT ALBUM, WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE SONG?
G: Easy, it's a beautiful song. It's my little child. I was in a relationship at the time, it's easy to fall in love but everything else that happens that's the tough parts that you have to deal with. It was like saying 'I do love you, but bear with me, we have figure everything else out and move forward.' That's where that was spawned from. I love it, it's very much part of me. Whenever I hear it I get goosebumps. Normally I can't listen to things we've done before but this particular record I can sit down and listen to it and be proud of it.
PG: HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT MAKING AND WRITING THE ALBUM?
G: We all write. Lyrically I do most of the stuff. One of the guys did a bit on New Blood and Jim has just sent me some lyrics to look over, which is nice. Musicians don't always tap into that part of the artistic side, but they have been which is great. Everybody does have input, the boys on guitar and myself do the bulk of it, but we all do our five pence worth. Most things were written before we went into the studio. We got the drums down first, then the rhythm guitar, bass and lead and I did the vocals separate away from the boys with my friend Kai McKenzie who's the producer. He gets some stunning vocal arrangements together. The formula is great, but it took too long to get done due to availability.
PG: THE BAND'S NAME IS INTERESTING?
G: The two words that I love it to vie for something and to defy. So defiance and to vie for something became Devience. We surprise ourselves by doing something unexpected, and hopefully, we can inspire others. Never stop trying, never give up. That's what Devience was born from.
PG: WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE BAND?
G: We're going to try and get a new album out early next year, we are starting to write soon. I'm very excited. We're going to do a campus tour of the universities and going to LA again might be on the cards. We're trying to get out there as much as possible and get people knowing about us.