The Devil Makes Three | 01.22.15

prev Devil-Makes-Three_smI would say we have so many influences mixing in our brains that what comes out can be hard to classify.

 

 

St. Louis is no stranger to blues, country, or rock music, yet when a band comes to town that infuses all three styles and more, it’s time for everyone’s ears to perk up a bit. I had the opportunity to speak with Pete Bernhard, lead guitarist, about the formation of the band, where they draw inspiration, and using technology to connect with their fans.

prev Devil-Makes-Three

How did you end up making music together?

Cooper [McBean; guitar and tenor banjo] and I met in eighth grade; Lucia [Turino; upright bassist] and I met in high school. We are all from the same small town in southern Vermont.

What was the first instrument that you picked up, played, and thought, “I want do this forever?”

Guitar, bought for me by my dad when I was 12 years old.

What was the transition like, moving from the Northeast to California?

At the time, it was great! After years in Vermont, it seemed like paradise. 

What musicians do you draw inspiration from?

The list is long. Blues, country, gypsy jazz, ragtime bluegrass, and old time. As for artists, Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, the Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Hank Williams, Bob Wills and the Texas playboys, and Django.

There are a lot of genres that your music can be classified as, such as Americana or folk punk. How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard you before?

I try not to describe our sound. I would say we have so many influences mixing in our brains that what comes out can be hard to classify. We prefer to let the fans decide what we’re doing. 

You are a part of Skype’s “Ones to Watch” series that focuses on new and emerging bands, yet you guys have been releasing albums for over a decade. What was it about the last year that launched you into the spotlight?

We have been a band for almost 12 years, but the last three or four years have been really good to us. We got to open for Willie Nelson, Allison Krauss, and Emmylou Harris, and recorded an album with Buddy Miller. Seems like our hard work is paying off! 

Not only have you worked with Skype, but also Yahoo! Screen, and you’re all over social media. How has the ease with which you can connect with fans changed music for you in comparison to when you were first getting started?

When we first started, we didn’t even have cell phones and social media was not something bands used outside of basic promotion. Everything has changed; now it is so much easier to connect directly with our fans. The power is now in the hands of the artist, but so is the responsibility to promote. All in all, I think it’s a huge improvement.

You have played all over the nation and been a part of many festivals. What are some of the shows that stick out as being great experiences?

Newport Folk Fest, Telluride Bluegrass, and Outside Lands are some of our favorites, festival-wise. As for cities to play, we love every city and town. California, of course, as that’s where we got our start, but New Orleans is another band favorite. 

If you could fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck, which would you choose?

We would ride the duck-sized horse into the sunset. | Kyle Green

 

The Devil Makes Three will be at The Pageant in St. Louis on January 22. Visit www.thepageant.com for ticket information.

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