Introducing: Wrongchilde (Mat Devine)

By Lais

Mat Devine, otherwise known as frontman of Kill Hannah, has started up a solo project, Wrongchilde, and it’s pretty far away from everything you’d imagine. With My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way guest starring on one of his songs, it’s probably worth keeping an eye out for what’s coming next. We had a chat with him to find out all things Wrongchilde.

So how did it all begin? “I was living alone in NYC when I got asked to play an acoustic show in Saudi Arabia two years ago, and the thought of performing alone scared the shit out of me. I mean, I played acoustic at my grandma’s house for my family at Christmas and I was shaking from nerves. So in the process of forcing myself to pull that show off, I realised that I had a whole body of deeper, moody, personal songs that really meant a lot to me. They were their own thing, and I wanted to completely commit to it. I booked a studio in LA, and the first day I got to town, I wrote the track ‘Gold Blooded’, which just immediately symbolised a new phase. Not to be corny, but I just got fired up creatively in a way that I hadn’t been in a long time.”

Despite Wrongchilde’s mellow, atmospheric music seeming a million miles away from Kill Hannah’s brand of rock, Mat Devine claims that really they’re not that far away from each other at all: “Kill Hannah became best known when we evolved into a bigger-production, modern radio-driven band, but most people don’t realise that our very first indie EPs were totally atmospheric and textural. Wrongchilde is kind of like returning to that moody school of dark pop that has a lot in common with my heroes from the shoegazer scene—bands like RIDE, My Bloody Valentine, Catherine Wheel, Slowdive, etc.”

It never occurred to him that he wanted to do a solo project, until he wrote the song ‘Falling In Love Will Kill You’ (the one that went on to feature Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance’): “I just felt it was a special song, but it had no home on a Kill Hannah record, so what other choice do you have but to invent a new project?”

Wrongchilde’s debut album, ‘Gold Blooded’, comes out in August. What can people expect from it? “I guess everyone thinks his or her own record is awesome, but I will say this: my favourite album of all time is ‘Disintegration’ by The Cure, and I feel like ‘Gold Blooded’ has a similar ability to capture the vibe of driving at night, in the middle of nowhere, with all the windows down. Worst case, you can always use the CD as a plate.”

Like many artists at the moment, Mat Devine used Pledge Music to help fund the making of the album. How was that? “It’s new. For one thing, it’s nice to be in total control again. It’s cool not needing to convince some 60 year old accountant why I want to do something ludicrous. I can just do it, and if it fails and loses money, then I just won’t eat that week.”

And how was it working with big names like Gerard Way and Sierra Kusterbeck on the album? “It was humbling and totally cool. Everyone involved in the studio was experimenting with new directions, off tour, and re-discovering the joy of lawless creativity. It was just such a gift for such talented friends to contribute, and it was so cool to sit back and witness such great singers in the vocal booth. Definitely a career highlight for me.”

The aim for 2014 is to keep rolling out videos and play a select number of tour dates. Not to mention coming to the UK: “We are booking it now. I want to do a special show someplace in London kind of unexpected and then I’d like to stay a couple days to geek out and buy vintage clothes and stalk Robert Smith.”

And in the long run, what is Mat Devine’s main aim with Wrongchilde? Where does he see himself in five years? “It really depends if someone buys the Burn Notice Package or not—if they don’t, I’d aim to see more Wrongchilde albums, tours, and an entire new body of work, but if they do, then I’ll be in some fisherman’s hut in Nova Scotia with a beard and scabies, probably scraping barnacles off a rowboat.”

Sounds legit. But seriously, give this one a chance, because these are some beautiful songs and they deserve to be listened to.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]