Milwaukee - August 7, 2017 - Devil Met Contention has made quite a splash on the music scene in Milwaukee and beyond. The quartet’s unique sound feels like a walk down a dry and dusty road, or a scene from a Clint Eastwood Western, when the hero rolls into town. Their poignant mixture of country, blues and Americana makes Devil Met Contention unlike any other band on the scene. Their song “Fire” earned them the Song of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) this year. Spurred on by introspective, narrative lyrics that resonate with complex themes of modern times, Devil Met Contention bring their soulful and diverse sound to the Pedal Power Stage as part of this year’s Rock the Green Festival on Saturday, September 9th. Rock the Green recently had a chance to catch up with Ehson Rad, the lead singer and songwriter for Devil Met Contention to talk about their forthcoming performance.
Rock The Green: For fans unfamiliar with Devil Met Contention, how would you describe your sound?
Ehson Rad: As musicians, we get asked this often, and we find the best answers come from listeners. At the end of the night, after our set, I always listen for what the person running sound puts on as were packing up. It’s always different! Some nights it's the Elvis, or Willie Nelson or Merle Haggard. Some nights we hear Prince or Nick Cave or Leonard Cohen. Its sometime The Stooges or The Doors or even the Rolling Stones if the crowd wanted something louder that night. Were a modern rock band through and through.
Rock the Green: You guys have emerged as one of the top bands on the local scene these days, getting frequent airplay on 88.9 Radio Milwaukee. Can you comment please on the Milwaukee music scene and how it's helped you emerge as artists?
Ehson Rad: The Milwaukee music scene is as diverse as the city itself. We’ve spent the last 3 years carving D.M.C into every venue and radio station Milwaukee has to offer. Thankfully its media outlets and concert goers embrace that diversity that one finds in the music scene like ours.
Rock the Green: Rock the Green is a family friendly festival, and there will likely be a fair number of aspiring musicians that will be attending the event. What advice could you give to young people interested in pursuing their passion for creating and performing original music?
Ehson Rad: Never stop learning and desiring to know more. No one who ever stepped foot on a stage or in a recording studio did so without making the conscious decision to put themselves there. Being an artist means following avenues that might seem unconventional. Keep pushing your own boundaries, and by all means, patience will always be key for a new musician with giant aspirations.
Rock the Green: Where do you gather inspiration for your songs? Are you a lyrics first band and do you write the music and then set the lyrics to the songs?
Ehson Rad: When the group was started the songs were written quickly. The first song that I ever wrote for Devil Met Contention was written and performed within 10 minutes. These days most melodies and lyrics tend to come together all at once. I’ll take the song to David, our guitarist, and we’ll work through some arrangement and style before the four of us round out the sharp edges. From there it’s just a matter of time before we get to the recording studio.
Rock the Green: As you know, you will be playing on the famous Rock the Green Pedal Power stage with cyclists providing your power during your set. How are you looking forward to this unique experience?
Ehson Rad: We're really excited to be a part of a show like this! The statement made by the Rock the Green Festival about sustainability is unique and effective. It's a fun way to give a different perspective on the complexities of sustaining our planet by incorporating fun and education in something universal (music).
Rock the Green: Rock the Green's focus is on sustainability and helping educate the fans in attendance about the importance of being aware and active to help protect the limited resources in our environment. Are there any things that you do as a band to "be green" while you are performing or are on the road?
Ehson Rad: Even little things on the road make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Our set lists are written on reusable surfaces most of the time. Anytime on the road is spent in one small van, as opposed to a larger shuttle van/bus, and on a road trip it's easy to accumulate waste, so we tend to stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, reusable metal water bottles, and recycling as opposed to dumping out “trash” at every other filling station. The little things add up.
Rock the Green: Is there any advice or thoughts that you would like to share with our audience about the importance of being mindful of the environment and a good steward of its resources?