TAKE FIVE: Erin Devany

Erin Devany is a personable, fun-loving person, someone that you meet and feel instantly drawn to as though you’ve been life-long friends. Whether she’s behind a camera shooting a music video or shooting a horrific series of beautiful photos, or on stage singing with Springtime and the Changes, she has an eye for creativity and a drive to keep growing in her crafts. She’s been in Denton since September of 2016, and has collaborated with several musicians and artists, including Teenage Sexx, Lorelei K, Pearl Earl, MNKR, and Loafers, to name a few. Be sure to keep up with Springtime and the Changes for all of their upcoming shows, and Erin’s creations at her page, All Hallows Productions.

What got you started in music?

I’ve always been a huge fan of music. I was depressed and angry in high school, and that was the way to show that off. I actually didn’t really start singing and being in bands until I met Charlie [DeBolt, her boyfriend and fellow bandmate in Springtime and the Changes]. He was like, ‘You have a good voice. You should do something with it.’ I always knew I had a nice voice, but I just thought, ‘I don’t know if I want to do anything with it,’ because I don’t like performing as much as I like running things from behind the scenes. Valentine’s Day of last year, Springtime got booked for a show and Charlie was like, ‘Hey, either you sing this show with us—that way we’re spending Valentine’s Day together—or I’ll cancel it.’ And I was like, ‘I know all the words to your songs, I’ve been listening to you sing them the whole time we’ve been together, so I’m there.’ We had a great time and it was kind of all thrown together at that point, but it has developed from there, and he’s included me in more of the music and let me write lyrics [with him]. That’s cool, it’s cool to be a vocalist, but I had always wanted to learn an instrument. I finally took the leap last year by joining a band to learn an instrument. Essentially, it was like, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to play, this is what we need you for.’ I’ve always loved music. I feel like I have a natural groove for it, but I’m not nearly as talented as most of my friends are quite yet.

On the flip side, what got you into photography and filmmaking?

I used to write horror short stories all the time when I was a little kid because horror movies used to absolutely scare the ever-living fuck out of me. I couldn’t watch Spy Kids 2 with the skeleton war that they had. When I was maybe 10 or 11, a friend of mine sat me down and talked me through a bunch of horror movies that she had seen. She said, ‘If I tell you everything that happens and then I make you watch it, it’s not going to be as scary.’ Another friend in middle school was super obsessed with horror movies and he said, ‘Okay, here’s all the ones on Netflix that you need to check out.’ I started with B horror movies and then I moved my way up from there. I had this fantastic AV teacher at my high school who kinda led me through [screenwriting and directing]. We had to do short film projects at the end of every year. I did my first one when I was 16 and it took us three weeks total because we had 2 hours every day to film it and edit it, so it was just a very short amounts of time for this 15-minute long video that we were putting together in our high school, with no budget. It was such a cool experience, and I had such an instant knack for directing. I could see my vision and I could very plainly put it into words of like, ‘This is what I want this to look like.’ We submitted that short film to the Austin Youth Film Festival and it won runner-up that year. From then on out, I started to get really serious about it. Then, graduating high school, I got a camera the Christmas after I graduated and my old equipment. At first, I didn’t utilize it and I wasn’t doing anything with it. I met Charlie and he said, ‘You have this camera and I know you don’t do photography but just start coming out to shows. Take it with you and let’s see what happens.’ I started bringing my camera to shows with me and it was another thing I have a natural eye for. I just started to get more serious after that, started buying more equipment and everything, meeting more bands around the area and starting to do music videos for people. It’s been a big building process. I feel like I have developed quite a style in the last year.

How has Denton fostered your artistic contributions?

The best part about Denton is the overwhelming amount of people who are willing to work on whatever and just want to get their hands dirty. I think that is a big inspiration for me because like I can do a short film with 40 extras and I don’t have to worry about people not showing up. People want to be a part of stuff. They want to create things, they want to help people create things. Everyone is chomping at the bit, and everyone is just young and ready to make something. I think that helps a lot, and watching other people succeed in what they do and everything helps a lot too, because I can be like, ‘Oh, they’re getting to these places and they’re going elsewhere, I can do it too.’ It’s not just them. I’m capable of this as long as I put my mind to it. It’s just been a good inspiration.

Do you have a favorite Denton memory?

Our friend Drew Kee had a house show on his birthday and Springtime played. Charlie and I do this thing at the end of our last song where we’ll either step out into the crowd or both kneel down in the last bits of the song, because I do these little trail off notes and he’s the last one that plays in the last song. We kinda stepped out into the crowd, got down on our knees. I look over, and all of our band is off of their instruments and down on the ground. I look back out in the crowd and every single person that was standing up there was down on their knees. It was just that super-interactive. Nobody had to say anything, they all just did it.

Who and what inspires you?

Quentin Tarantino has this style that is mostly just him taking inspiration from other movies and recreating them in his own way. That’s really cool to me. That really inspires me, just other people’s work, even if it’s not even close to what I do. Ellie Alonzo’s photography is really good. I would say Garrett Smith is a major influence for me. Director-wise, Stanley Kubrick is a perfectionist and takes his time with everything and he’s very meticulous about it all and pushes the limits. In Barry Lyndon, he used candlelight for the whole film. Everything was candlelight or fire, and it was really genuine.  Stepping out of the norm, doing things that people don’t normally do, taking chances with shit that may not have filmed right before, that’s just really cool to me. I just love the dedication and effort that everyone puts into their work. I think one thing that really inspires me too is female-driven horror is becoming a huge thing. There are so many fantastic female horror directors out there. The director of The Babadook, Jennifer Kent, is releasing a new film soon. There’s a horror anthology called XX that came out last year and it’s all female directors [Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark (yes, St. Vincent), Roxanne Benjamin and Karyn Kusama, starring Natalie Brown, Melanie Lynskey, Breeda Wool and Christina Kirk]. Anthology horror is one of my favorites. If you can scare someone in five to ten minutes, you have done your job. I like being able to pack a punch in a short amount of time.

Header image courtesy of Erin Devany
Header image design courtesy of Christopher Rodgers

Linda Smith