Plan of attack
Sometimes the ringing in your ears is welcome. It signifies the experience of a good hardcore show. The kind you used to frequent in high school, taking you back to the days of chugging tall cans in the parking lot before running in to catch your friend’s band and maybe joining the mosh pit.
In the case of Our Devices’ assault on the eardrums, the ringing infliction is caused by a progressive hardcore sound—furious, fast-paced instrumentals underlying catchy vocals and digestible lyrics—think Finch meets Anberlin. It’s a formula the local quintet didn’t stumble upon accidentally.
“We really want to reach a broad audience,” singer Kraig Morgan explains. “That’s why a lot of the songs are more structural and almost radio-friendly. We want to find this happy middle ground where we’re still doing what we love, but at the same time playing what people want to hear.”
Despite having just played its first show and only being together as Our Devices for three short months, its members themselves aren’t newbies to the ways of the music world. All five musicians have previously played in other local bands—Morgan formerly in Ashton, and drummer Nick York, guitarist Jessie Gonzales and bassist Alex York were all members of The Airplane Game, and guitarist Joe Foley still currently plays in Wolf City.
Past experiences taught them to run their current show a bit differently this time around. Instead of traditionally playing live before making it into the studio, Our Devices digitally released its debut, self-titled EP earlier this month before ever taking the songs to the stage.
“From previous projects, we’ve all been in a position where we’re doing things kind of unprofessionally, so we all agreed that we wanted to do something that was completed before we presented it in front of people,” says Morgan. “We wanted to make sure that we had a record that sounded decent.” The album got its professional sound courtesy of Fat Cat studios in Sacramento, where acts such as This Calendar Year have recorded.
While some bands tend to pick their names based off the current popular forest animal, or just something that rolls fluidly off the tongue, Our Devices branding was carefully chosen.
“The name of the band comes from the term, ‘when left to your own devices,’” Gonzales, who coined the moniker, explains. “It sums up the whole band because when it’s just left up to us, that’s all we have, our sound.”
A sound that’s a mix of all five members’ talents and musical tastes. Each member contributed to at least one song on the EP, though Morgan is responsible for all the lyrics. Each member brought inspiration from their various favorite genres to the table.
“It’s kind of an eclectic mix of what these guys listen to, which is harder stuff, and what I listen to, softer, more straightforward rock like Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab for Cutie,” Morgan says of the EP’s five songs.
Our Devices is also not a band without a long-term plan. Having all grownup in the Reno music scene, they’ve got a bigger goal other than just bringing the music they love to the masses—and, they’re quick to point out, aside from world domination, of course.
“Basically, I want to rejuvenate the scene,” says Morgan. “Back to the way it was when I was in high school and kids didn’t care what they looked like when they rocked out in the crowd. I really want that Reno scene back again.”
With the help of their musical devices, maybe it will return.