Q&A: The Devil Makes Three chat touring, riots, and future plans

Fusing elements of blues, jazz and punk, The Devil Makes Three are an energetic American folk trio embarking on their second European tour.

Inspiration for their latest album ‘I’m a Stranger Here’, released in October 2013, was found out on the road, influencing the band’s mesmeric and lively sound.

The trio take to the stage without the use of a drummer and instead use the natural percussion of their acoustic guitar, banjo and bass to inject rhythm into their music.

Of the three members, guitarist and singer Pete Bernhard and multi-instrumentalist Cooper McBean met in high school in Vermont before heading to California, while Lucia Turino learnt to play the upright bass before she joined the band.

With the banding planning to visit Manchester for the first time later this month, MM posed Pete a few questions.

What have you heard about the Manchester music scene, what are your expectations ahead of playing here? 

My knowledge of the Manchester music scene is fairly limited. I know about The Smiths and Joy Division, but as to the modern music scene there I don’t know very much. As usual my eye is on the past when it comes to music. Most of the people we are influenced by have been dead for a very long time at this point. This will be our first show in Manchester so I have no idea what to expect but I have a good feeling about it.

Are there any landmarks you are hoping to visit in Manchester?

 I would like to see them all if we have time but touring can keep us on a tight schedule. We might need a willing fan to act as tour guide. Free tickets anyone?

What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you on tour? 

There are so many strange things that have happened to us in our years of touring. I would say the strangest was when the crowd in Vancouver, Canada left the venue and started a riot outside in the street. The police closed down the entire street and arrested everyone. They had to bring a few police vans to fit everyone in. That had never happened before, and thankfully hasn’t happened since.

You have done some touring in Europe before, are you looking forward to expanding you fan-base with this latest tour? 

Yes, most definitely we are looking forward to it. We have toured Europe before, but we only played in England so this will be our first proper tour of the UK. The show in London was one of the best of our tour last time.

Have you got any plans for your next album, or are you currently working on new material? 

We do have plans for a new album, but right now we are working on recording some demos to see what we’ve got material wise. We hope to play some new material on this upcoming tour.

Are there any artists you would like to work with in the future? 

Yes, I’d like to work with Willie Nelson again in any capacity. We opened a tour for him recently. Buddy Miller would be great to work with as well, he produced our last album. We’re currently looking for who we want to produce the next recording.

Who has been the most memorable person you have met on tour? 

Willie Nelson.

Which do you enjoy most, or which is more important to you, writing & recording or touring & performing? 

Playing live shows is my favourite. We enjoy writing and recording, but I would say we are at our best live. We have plans to release another live album and a tour video of the live show together this year.

Is there any where you haven’t performed yet that you would like play? 

We want to tour more in Europe. After that I guess we should go to Japan right? Australia? Our plan is to tour the globe, anywhere that will have us.

The Devil Makes Three play at Ruby Lounge on March 21.

Image courtesy of ChunkyGlasses, with thanks.

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