Talk of the Town - Devine styles August 07 2003

Electronic composer recharges in Roswell

Richard Devine has traveled many of the great thoroughfares of the world, yet he can’t seem to remember which is Peachtree and which is Piedmont. The 26-year-old electronic-music composer spends much of his time recouping from jet lag and sorting through recordings in a bedroom in his parents’ suburban home.

Devine’s folks live in Roswell in what he describes as an “upper- middle-class golf course, extremely quiet, perfectly manicured lawn community.” The living room features rugs of tigers killed by his uncle. Ivory and jade elements are pervasive, brought back from his parents’ numerous trips to the Orient. Above it all hangs a $6,000 crystal chandelier, making the house a mix between a Chinese dynasty and, well, Dynasty.

But Devine stays in the parental nest by choice, not because of need. He makes plenty of bank playing worldwide gigs for an average of $1,200 for a couple hours performance.

Creative Loafing: So why remain in cramped quarters?

Devine: I still live at home in order to fuel all my resources into my passions: archiving music [the stacks total over several thousand pieces] and constructing a professional-grade home studio.

How much so far invested in your home studio?

My room is worth about as much as one of the neighbor’s H2 hummers, which is to say $60,000-$80,000. I think I got the better deal.

So, without getting too technical, in terms of audio warfare, what kind of firepower are you packing in here?

In my bedroom, I have a ProTools system, a Yamaha O2R, several analogue and digital mixing boards, a couple synthesizers, a handful of laptops. I have full capability to do THX-certified surround sound. We watch movies in my 200-square-foot room at full theater volume.

Has your ability to create so much sound ever posed a problem?

Well, lucky for my parents they sleep on the other side of the house and don’t hear the subwoofer rattling the windows and teeth like I do. Amazingly enough we’ve never had a complaint from the neighbors. The wives in my neighborhood, however, all meet on the street at 6:30 a.m. for a tea/coffee session with their identical 2-inch high dogs wearing little knitted sweaters, which is some shit I don’t see anywhere else when I’m traveling. I’m pretty sure they must get together to talk about us. They probably think we’re drug dealers because we have four black Mercedes, get in really late, and stay up all night. They go to bed by 9 p.m. and we’re just starting dinner at 11 p.m.

Speaking of making deals, how do you deal with paying for electricity? On a utilities map, your house must be a huge spike in the power grid.

My dad works for the state of Georgia and pays a flat rate a month so the power is used quite frivolously. I’m surprised when I turn everything on that the streetlights up and down the neighborhood don’t dim. I know the circuit breakers intimately. I have a power back up because I blow the circuits almost daily, drawing so much power off a handful of sockets. Blowing power for me is like coffee in the morning.

Richard Devine’s new album asect:dsect comes out in October on Schematic Records.