Interview: DeVante

Since finding his feet with multiple appearances on Armada Music, and then launching his own Kognitiv Records, Australian artist DeVante has shown his potential in a number of different roles within the industry.

Next up on his release schedule, we find him return to Kognitiv Records, this time releasing his brand new single, Long Road To Nowhere.

We spoke with him ahead of the tracks release, to chat about the inspiration behind the project, what else we might expect to hear from Kognitiv in the near future, and how he compares self-releasing to working with another label. Get the full discussion below.

You’re about to release your new track Long Road To Nowhere, what is the inspiration behind this one?

Long Road To Nowhere is a track inspired by a feeling/situation that I believe is universally experienced at least once in a lifetime. The feeling of putting your absolute all into something, whether it be a career, a relationship, studies and then realising that it has lead to a dead end and you have to start over.

The track is quite minimal in its construction and has a mixture of dark inspired sounds to re-create the true feelings during these times. Like with all my music, although it is electronic and sits within the dance music world ,it isn’t about dance floors for me, it is about evoking thoughts and feelings within people.

Whether they are listening in bed, in the car, on a bike ride, a walk, or anything, if the track can touch them and have them transported into an almost meditative state, I am a happy man. The music for me isn’t about how hard a drop hits, or how well a crowd will react at a festival or club, it is all about the listener creating their own dreamlike states to work through feelings and emotions in their subconscious mind.

And it comes via your own Kognitiv Records, what are the biggest differences between releasing on your own label versus the label of someone else?

The main difference for me is there is literally zero need to cater to another labels vision when releasing through your own label. I am such a strong believer in music’s ability to heal and even control someones mindset to work through things in their day to day life that it is important for me to keep my music authentic to myself and who I am.

A true musician is sharing their soul with the world and it is a very exposing exercise to share such deep emotions with anyone who listens. In general the dance music world is very dance floor focused, which was one of the reasons for creating Kognitiv Records.

Although we are a dance music label, we are not genre specific within that. For Kognitiv it is about music that can connect with people on a subconscious level. If that happens to translate to a dance floor then that is great but it isn’t the number one focus. I am also passionate about mental health awareness and investing in learning more which is why Kognitiv Records donates a percentage of our profits from each release to mental health charities globally.

You have also released with Armada Music and Subjekt Recordings, what do you look for in a label when considering them for a release?

My debut EP was on Armada Subjekt and did nicely in the Beatport release chart, hitting number 2 in the deep house genre. This was before Armada did a rebrand for Subjekt which has proven to be a fantastic move on their side! That EP lead to a remix for Jan Blomqvist on Armada Music which was a privilege to be a part of and I’m thankful to Jan for having me on board for his remix pack!

My reasoning for choosing a label like the Armada family starting out was to join a well established company so I could see and learn how they operate and knew my music would be in safe hands. But my advice to anyone who is deciding who to send their music to is to really just know your sound, know your vision, learn about other labels visions and direction and see which ones align with you. If you feel it is not quite right don’t bother sending as if you are hesitant then it is extremely likely the label will feel the same.

There are so many quality labels worldwide that there is going to be a perfect fit for everyone it is just a matter of doing your research to find each other or creating your own lane to grow if you want full creative control of your art.

With the internet and streaming how it is, I have noticed a number of labels finding talent and reaching out on their own. This brings me to what I feel to be the most important part of music creation. Be passionate, be authentic, be genuine, keep making the music for your self expression and NOT for others. This way the right people will find each other.

What can you tell us about which labels we might expect to see you on soon?

Currently all my focus is on Kognitiv Records and our mastering suite, Kognitiv Mastering. In the near future you will only find DeVante on Kognitiv Records. My other project Frahan, you will find on a number of other labels (e.g. Kosa, Dialtone) to date with an upcoming release on Shango Records.

And which other producers can we expect on Kognitiv?

We have an absolute belter of an EP coming from Berlin-based powerhouse producer PYSH featuring an epic remix from Afterlife regulars HUNTER/GAME! Keep an ear out for this release, it genuinely is a great EP. We also have Frankey & Sandrino, UNDERHER, MED33P, Daeve Khz & Kimse for upcoming releases, to name just a few.

Long Road To Nowhere comes as a single, why not an EP?

Technically to date Kognitiv Records has only released singles apart from one EP from IPeiqi. Not that we don’t release EP’s or albums, as mentioned above PYSH’s release is an EP. Daeve Khz & Kimse have an EP for release with us as well. I find often with an EP there is one stand out track and some that get left behind or lose their power due to being paired with other tracks.

If I feel this may be the case we will do a single release schedule for the artist, or in the case of the previously mentioned releases, we felt the tracks allowed for a consistent sounding EP. I like to let each track breath and get everyones full attention. It is different if you are creating a full work that tell a story and link together nicely. As with almost everything in music, there are no rules, just do what feels right.

And no remixes?

Yes, being a very personal piece I didn’t want to include a remix on this one. In life sometimes we need to let go of things and Long Road To Nowhere is an example of something I needed to let go of emotionally and didn’t want to bring another artist into that space.

DeVante’s Long Road To Nowhere arrives November 6th on Kognitiv Records.