Name: Deb Never
Hometown: Spokane, Washington
Latest Project: Intermission
Ever since she started sharing demos on the internet in 2017, Deb Never has been building a body of work that doesn’t fit into any genre and denies easy categorization. She sings, produces, and plays guitar and piano, with the resulting songs including touchpoints from emo and grunge to rap and lo-fi indie rock.
Never’s childhood consisted of splitting time between living with her mother in the United States and doing missionary work around East Asia with her father, a Korean Presbytarian pastor. As she told Fader in a 2019 interview, this only led to more feelings of isolation when back in America. She started writing music at 15 years old as a form of emotional release and taught herself how to play the guitar. After playing with bands around Spokane for a while, she decided to relocate to Los Angeles for a fresh start.
It was here that, after releasing just two songs, she caught the attention of her current manager who realized the potential of her lilting, pensive perspectives on life and romance. After a two-year period from 2017 to 2018 that included the release of a handful of rough songs, she collaborated with BROCKHAMPTON on their single “NO HALO” from the group’s Ginger album in 2019. Her debut EP, House on Wheels, came out that same year and in 2020, she followed up with Kenny Beats collab “Stone Cold” and quarantine-recorded project Intermission, with all proceeds going to charity.
Never’s ability to break down complex emotions into digestible morsels gives her full reign over the new mix of genres that she’s created for herself. As she continues to hypnotize the world with her dream-like soundscapes, she’s proof that doing it yourself and being in touch with your art makes it all the more enticing to eager listeners.
A SONG YOU HAVE TO HEAR – “SOMEONE ELSE”
The twinkle in your eyes comes from the stars that Never points at. She wants to know if you see the same moon. She wants your heart, your soul, to become one, immediately. “Someone Else” twists you around Deb Never’s finger as she convinces you to fall in love over a twinkling guitar from someone sent to serenade you until you’re head over heels with the singer. The image of slow dancing during a dark night makes the heart melt as you realize you’ve fallen for her spell.
“Someone Else” is Deb Never’s latest release and her first of 2021. The song was created after Deb packed her bags and bought a one way ticket to London towards the end of last year, moving in with longtime collaborator Michael Percy. Working with other London-based artists, Deb is feeling inspired again and “Someone Else,” co-produced by Jam City, is our first taste of what’s coming next.
A VIDEO YOU HAVE TO WATCH – “SWIMMING”
The best videos aren’t always those that have complex storylines and big budgets. Sometimes they are the ones that peel back the layers to reveal more about the artist that made them. “Swimming” falls into this category. From playing a guitar while being pushed in a shopping cart to singing while tomatoes are being beamed at her head, Never’s earnest nature shines through. She doesn’t need crazy special effects to connect with the viewer or make a point with this video. She just does it.
A FEW QUESTIONS FOR DEB NEVER
What genres and influences do you piece together in your music? How do they shape the sound that you create?
I don’t consciously try to blend together genres on purpose, I think it just happens because of the music I like and what I grew up listening to that shaped who I am. The thing that creates familiarity and nostalgia, but fresh at the same time, is not referencing a certain genre, artist, or song. I like going off personal taste and what I think sounds good together. It’s pure instinct.
How does a DIY approach influence the outcome of your music and creative work?
I think the DIY approach is important for that exact reason. I want everything to come from me so it is genuine and I can let you in on who I am, my perspective, and my world. It allows for freedom in expression and that’s important for any creative to be able to tell their story in their own way.
What are some of the reference points that inspire your music?
My music is inspired by the different environments and situations I’ve been in throughout my life that I’ve felt connected to in some way. That includes loud bustling cities, small broken down towns, mundane suburbs, big open fields with mountains, dingy rooms in basements crowded with odd characters, live shows with rowdy energy and mosh pits, isolation in tiny almost empty rooms, skating and feeling invincible, long drives at night. They all bring out an unexplainable feeling that I can’t nor want to characterize.
What can we expect from you in 2021?
2021 I’m gonna make it rain. With more music I mean.