Growing up in Los Angeles, young singer-songwriter Devon Thompson often found herself on the periphery, a solitary figure amidst the urban expanse. Derided in her formative years for her artistic inclinations, such trials only honed her artistic resilience. With the aim of distancing her from the caprices of youth, she transitioned between educational institutions more than once. This, paradoxically, may have deepened her sense of solitude, yet it also nurtured her creative instincts as a refuge.
“When I struggle mentally, I use my writing for good and create stories where I can more positively influence myself,” she explains. “Even if the concept is dark, it helps me so much to write about it, and write about it from someone else’s perspective.”
So Close is for the people who love those moody, dark, intense, hot songs that make you feel almost feral and crazy… but in a good way,” she explains, describing the song as a ‘hot, dark, intense , fictional slow burn about a serial killer in love. “One moment, they’re in a happy, loving relationship, and the next, they’re fantasizing about how beautiful their headstone would look with flowers all over it,” she jokes.
Penning motifs reminiscent of gothic sensibilities, So Close evokes the journey of a usually buoyant spirit venturing into its more introspective, somber corners. The ethereal strumming of the guitar paired with the gravelly, evocative vocals ensures that listeners traverse a dreamscape of alluring nocturnal reverie.
“I was on a little bit of a ‘serial killer documentary’ kick when I got the inspiration for this song,” she confesses. “It’s essentially a fictional story about a person who goes mad and kills their lover. Why did they do it? Did they do it because they’re just crazy? Did someone tell them to do it? In my head, they’ve been a serial killer all along, and one day something snaps in them, and all they can think about is the poetry and the beauty in their lover being buried in a beautiful garden.”
Adopting a cinematic touch reminiscent of vintage B-films, the evocative visual accompaniment to the single, masterfully directed by Bianca Cruz, portrays Devon in a rather lethal disposition, exacting a heart-piercing act on her unsuspecting paramour. Though the song charts a more straightforward path, the emotional undercurrents of the video invite various interpretations. For Thompson, it’s less an ode to malevolence than a whimsical tale, galvanized by passion.
“In my head, it’s sort of a Beetlejuice-kinda story where I’m already dead, but my lover isn’t,” she laughs. “I kill him and bring him back to life so we can exist as the dead together cuz it’s more romantic.”
Watch the video for “So Close” below:
In many urban landscapes, the sensation of being on the fringes can be a desolate journey. Yet, for Thompson, Los Angeles seemed to cultivate this sentiment as almost a rite of passage. Drawn to the timeless allure of classic rock and other individual pursuits like skateboarding and snowboarding, she navigated the challenges of adolescent taunts, the quest for belonging, and a transient academic history, ultimately grounding herself in the world of music.
By the age of 21, she has gracefully transitioned from nascent high school band experiences and overcome the sting of youthful mockery to firmly establish herself as a rock musician, seemingly undistracted by the contemporary pull of pop and hip-hop. Possessing a vocal prowess that brings to mind greats like PJ Harvey, Blondie, or Lucy Dacus, combined with her flair for darkly poetic narratives, Devon resonates as a timeless artist.
“I might be young, but music has been my life for eleven or twelve years now,” she said. “It’s been my life forever. I eventually realized I can’t do anything else, dropped out of college, and decided to do this. I work my ass off to make my songs original, to get better at guitar, and on my songwriting. I want to make a life for myself as an artist, following up some of the female musicians that really made a difference.”
“So Close” is out tomorrow via Exquisite Feline. It was produced by James Salter (The Raveonettes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club).
“We were just going to do six songs together and part ways, but we had something going,” she explains. Bonding over a shared love for the 4AD shoegaze band Lush, Devon and Salters continued to collaborate which resulted in a wealth of new music, more of which is planned for release in 2024.
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