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Deb Never on Confidence and Co-Signs

Angst is an attitude for WEDIDIT’s newest member.

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Angst and apathy is a mood which record label and collective WEDIDIT have always upheld. Their roster—who defined the bedroom producer wave of 2013—were the first to outgrow it too, with Shlohmo giving us Dark Red in 2015, and D33J dropping Infinity 33 in 2018. Both bodies of work added live instrumentation and vocals to WEDIDIT’s traditionally beat-centred tracks, ultimately paving the perfect path for their latest signing—Deb Never. 

Deb Never grew up in the Pacific Northwest of America, home to grunge and moody guitars. She inevitably picked one up, and found herself playing as a session musician in a random assortment of bands, before dipping to Los Angeles to give Hollywood a try. An impossibly chill demeanour led her to newfound friendships with WEDIDIT, A$AP Nast, and Brockhampton.

Deb’s live credentials soon became equally enviable, with dates on the road penned with Dominic Fike, Tommy Genesis, and Amrit, along with a coveted slot on 88rising’s Head in the Clouds Festival. Not a bad year for an artist who only found her calling 12 months ago. Now with her debut EP House on Wheels released into the universe, she is equal parts ecstatic and petrified. It’s hard to radiate confidence when your heart is gaffer taped to the internet for public viewing, but Deb Never seems to wear vulnerability well.

So tell me Deb, how did it feel to share a stage with Brockhampton and JPEGMAFIA? That show looked sick.
It was so fun. It was nice. It was an amazing experience, to share a stage with this boy band that I’ve known of for so long.

You’re probably popping on Reddit right now. Have you acquired any of their super fans?
I think so. It was crazy! I was surprised by the amount of people who knew the words to ‘Ugly’ because that song literally just came out. Brockhampton have such amazing fans, who are all super supportive and receptive. I can tell that they’re diehards.

I’m not surprised that you’ve been working with Brockhampton, because you both make such existential music. When you get deep, is it generally about macro issues, or more personal shit?
I think a mix of both. I’m pretty honest in the way that I make music, like whatever I’m feeling at the moment I just write it out. There’s a lot of things I write that are angsty—I feel a lot of pain in there, and a lot of existentialism also. But I like to make it more fun, because that’s how I am. I’m not this brooding, tortured artist, but I do have things to say. I like to portray all of that in one project—whether it’s fun with the beat but sad with the lyrics or the other way around. I like juxtaposition. 

Your lyricism in ‘Ugly’—I felt that. Was that song written about a personal situation, or was it more of a voyeuristic observation about relationships?
I’ve been through that type of toxic relationship, and I’ve witnessed that type of toxic relationship unfold. It’s very common and everyone’s been through it, so it’s just one of those things that had to be written about.

I was watching the video clip, and it got me thinking; you can go anywhere in the world and the suburbs are the same. It’s just a lot of kids loitering, skating, doing dumb shit. Where did you grow up?
I grew up moving around a lot, but I mostly grew up in Washington State, between the suburbs of Seattle. You’re right; suburbs anywhere are relatively the same. So it’s easy to be relatable and portray that, with kids running around and doing bullshit because they’re bored.

I guess that explains why you ended up playing guitar. Did the Seattle band scene have an influence on you musically?
Oh, absolutely. Growing up around there—that’s where the brooding side of me comes from. It’s just always gloomy, and has this dark mood up in that area.

At what point did you realise you didn’t just want to be a session guitarist, and you were ready to do your own thing?
Literally last year! I guess I was always scared to be my own artist. I didn’t know if people would like what I have to offer, so I hid behind bands or other artists, in my comfort zone. It wasn’t until this year that I was really like “Fuck it, let’s just see what happens”. So far it’s going really well.

I’ve been following WEDIDIT forever—and not in a tokenistic way—but I’ve been waiting for them to sign someone like you that actually suits them sonically, not just for the purpose of female representation. How did that all come to be?
It was natural and wasn’t forced, which I think is the beauty of it all. We just met and became friends first, and then started making music together. And it’s interesting that you say that, because as a female, I still find myself working with so many dudes. I just wanted to actually do something and branch out—like be homies, but also be able to represent for other females by being a dominant figure within the collective.

That’s really sick, and is definitely what drew me to you. I’ve always been the token girl in dude heavy environments too. I do feel like it’s about having big dick energy though. Like, yeah what? I’m a girl, and I’m doing the exact same shit as you.
Yeah, definitely. I think it’s a huge underrepresented, and misrepresented demographic. I feel like women get pitted against each other, when we should be teaming up. Like even if I’m surrounded by all these dudes, I’ll be the one with a big dick energy being like “Nah, I’m going to run this”.

I gagged when you went on tour with Tommy Genesis, because I felt that type of way about her too. How was touring for the first time?
The actual experience was physically tiring, but I had so much fun. Being around Tommy is inspiring, because she has a very “This is who I am, this is what I like” energy, and she has her shit figured out. It was nice being around another girl who is like me.

I’m always tripping on this idea that youth will perpetually get younger, and we will just keep getting older. Does it freak you out to think that eventually you’re just going to be old?
Yeah, 100%. I’ve always said that I’d never want to live past 40. That’s where I draw the line. I’m like, dude, I don’t know if I could do that. It scares the shit out of me.

Do you think there’s a difference between being old and being washed?
I think there’s a way to still have the energy, and be yourself, and be accepting and excited about new things when you get older. Ultimately, it is the youth that paves culture. They’re the ones who really have a say about which direction everything is going. So even if you’re getting old, but you’re open to that, then it’s chill. It’s once you become resistant and you start being like “This is the way it is, this is how I grew up” then that’s when you start getting washed.

Coming back to your EP House on Wheels, it must be such a trip to finally have it out there in the universe after having it in your head for so long.
I’ve had these songs on me for this whole year, just performing them over, and over again. I’m itching to make more music. I hope I don’t get judged solely on this project, because I know I have more to offer. 

Okay, so hypothetically, your song or EP just goes viral overnight and tomorrow you’re hectic famous. There is paparazzi floating around, turbo fans, mad celebrity culture. Do you opt out and run away into witness protection, or do you embrace it and just do that shit?
To be honest, I want to say witness protection. I think it would terrify me if it happened overnight, I would be so overwhelmed that I would just break.

Is it possible to stop the momentum once it starts rolling? Like, can you even stop fame, once it gets into the hands of fans?
It’s different for every artist. It comes down to the way they handle it, and the way they take ownership of it.

I guess you’ll just have to go viral and find out.
We’ll see. I might have a 2007 Britney Spears breakdown. 

I often think about 2007 Britney Spears. She has bounced back so hard.
I’m not going to lie, she has had one of the best comebacks of all time. Shout out Britney Spears.

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