Donn Devore at Gonja Land
This week's featured artist is Donn Devore, a talented multi-instrumentalist who creates electronica and post rock inspired by the paranormal, his spiritual experiences, and more. He even has an album of Brony music!
Q: When/how did you hear about Second Life?
A: It was around the Thanksgiving holiday in 2006 when I saw a news story on tv about SL and virtual worlds. I had been playing WoW for a couple of weeks but I wasn’t that interested in quests and monsters. SL seemed more interesting: with an economy, virtual real estate, you can fly everywhere, meet people, make out with them, have a laugh, and no one is trying to kill you. I explored SL for a year before I decided to perform. I saw musicians performing for crowds of 80+ listeners in a sim and thought, I can do this! So I learned how to set up a Shoutcast audio stream and started playing gigs, singing cover songs and playing acoustic guitar. That was in October 2007 and it’s been an interesting ride.
Q: What types of instruments do you play?
A: I play guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, organ, drum machines, and various electronic devices. I’ve played guitar and keys since I was about 9 years old, I took lessons as a kid and studied music in college. I performed in metal and hard rock bands all through high school and college but was always creating electronic music in my room with synthesizers and drum machines. I worked as an audio engineer in recording studios for many years so that experience helps with the technical aspects of performing a live stream show since it’s essentially a live broadcast of a studio session.
Q: While there are so many types of music software, do you have a favorite or do they each serve different functions?
A: It depends on what kind of project I'm working on. I’ve been a Protools operator for over 20 years in recording studios. It’s the most stable DAW and is especially good for recording acoustic instruments and bands, and it’s better at synchronizing with video or film. But in the last 5 years I prefer to use Logic Pro and Ableton Live for electronic music production. Ableton is a loop-based digital audio workstation which lends itself well to electronic music, letting me trigger samples and loops in real time to create a song from sections instead of a pre-recorded track that plays the same every time you play it. I use Logic Pro for a few specific instruments because it has the best sounding Hammond B3 organ and electric pianos in the game. I perform using Ableton Live and Logic Pro in combination with real keyboard synthesizers. With Ableton Live I can create song arrangements on the fly using an 8x8 grid controller like a Novation Launchpad, triggering different loops that play the various sections of a song. It gives me control over each individual instrument in the mix. I use drum pads and note repeat functions to play live drum fills, create transitions, and dial in delay and reverb effects on the fly. Or, I will let the loop run for a while and I’ll play melodies or improvise solos on keyboard or guitar.
Q: I'm a fan of electronic music and I really enjoyed your album Telepathic Alien Communication. Did you have a strong reaction to the Pentagon releasing UFO videos? Although it quickly faded to the background with all the 2020 madness!
A: Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the album. As a fan of the paranormal and ufology I appreciate this question, and I could speak for hours on UFOs and the decades of government cover up. We’ve known since the 1970’s that UFOs have shut down nuclear launch control systems like Malmstrom AFB in Montana and visited military bases in the UK. Other countries have released video and information about UFOs. Our military has known about them since the 1940s going back to the Roswell crash and the Mt. Rainier sightings or the Phoenix Lights in 1997 and other more recent events like the Tic Tac videos released by the Pentagon. I’ve followed many of the authors and speakers in the UFO community that have advocated for disclosure for many years so it wasn’t really a surprise, but it was an odd time to drop that information on the public given what we’ve all been dealing with in 2020. Most people either didn’t notice, didn’t care, didn’t believe it, or said “I’ve been saying this for years and I told you so!” I’m probably in that last group. But we should always be skeptical since we've been lied to and they have reversed their position on this topic many times in the past.
My personal contact with aliens was through a series of shamanic experiences. With the intention to quit smoking cigarettes in 2015 I used psilocybin mushrooms to help me overcome my addiction to nicotine. In those ceremonies I communicated with different alien-like entities. This is a common report from people who travel in these spaces. I composed most of the songs for that album as a result of those intense experiences. I spent the next three years recording and mixing the songs, all the while suffering from serious health problems as a result of a toxic mold exposure. This album project was part of a long healing process for me and the ‘aliens’ gave me encouragement to continue on the path, to find ways to heal myself from a painful chronic illness, to tell my story and help others. I’m in a much better place now, despite the current pandemic, since through that crisis I have learned many different methods for maintaining my mental and physical health. Music is a part of that along with a healthy diet, yoga and exercise.
Q: Where would you suggest starting out to someone unfamiliar with the SL music scene?
A: For listeners, the fastest place to find music inworld is through the live music listings in the search tab. Search for live music events inworld and go to lots of shows. If you want to get onstage and perform, search for open mic events. It doesn’t matter where you start, just go to lots of different places to listen and watch what people are doing, and you’ll get a feel for the environment and find a place you like. Make some friends, talk to hosts and venue owners. The scene is like a small town with hundreds of musicians and dozens of live venues where we all play on a weekly or monthly basis. There are many live music announcement groups you can join inworld to get artist info and landmarks for all the shows happening or upcoming.
Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
A: Sharing a few precious moments of live music with other humans listening from around the world is meaningful. Music relieves stress and reduces anxiety for the listener. It transcends language, political and cultural boundaries, it can lift spirits, make you cry, make you laugh, make you dance... It can have an emotional impact on the listener, remind them of the beauty and joy in the world, and how awesome it is to be alive. When someone tells me they have been inspired by me or my music to improve the quality of their own life, that's meaningful and makes me proud of what we are doing here.
Thank you, Donn!
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