Devil To Drag

An interview with singer Morgan Rae
by Teri Barr
May 2015

Morgan Rae - photo by Cocao Malamiravicht

Morgan Rae
photo by Cocao Malamiravicht

Sometimes, starting in reverse, can throw you into full forward.
It’s what the members of Devil to Drag may be learning right now. This Madison-based group began simply—as an acoustic duo—but expanded to a trio, and eventually a full power alt rock band. And though Devil to Drag is still young on the scene at less than a year together, the musicians involved bring experience, and an aggressive attitude for forging ahead. I recently talked with lead singer and guitar player Morgan Rae for Maximum Ink, just as the band gets ready to release a new video and album on May 15th: 


Maximum Ink:  Introduce us to your band, and why it’s pretty unique in the way you got together?
Morgan Rae:
  Cocoa Malamiravict plays guitar and sings with me. It’s actually how Devil to Drag got its start. The two of us played and wrote together acoustically. It was his idea to then add Wade Coisman from Real Knives on bass. They’d played together in Underground Day 1 too, and have always worked together really well. It’s almost creepy sometimes to watch them communicate in rehearsal, because a lot of it is done through looks and vocal cues that aren’t actually words, but they still somehow understand each other.
Kai Anderson, also from Real Knives, was the last member to join, but in my opinion is the most influential addition when it comes to creating the sound we have today. We had asked him to play with us for a bigger show, then realized none of us wanted to go back to the more stripped down sound.
I feel really honored to be able to write and play with these three, and aside from all their musical talents, they each bring something different and important to the table, which I think is really going to set us up for success. Cocoa knows everyone and his brother, because he travels the country building greenhouses. He gets us a lot of great opportunities like playing Steelbridge Song Festival in Sturgeon Bay. Wade works at a print shop, so he knows all the ins and outs of navigating merchandise. And Kai not only works at WJJO Radio as a D.J., but also teaches at Madison Music Foundry, so he really helps make sure our practices to run smoothly when we’re tightening up material. Oh, and I have a full-time job too, at Peak Performance Massage.

MI:  Alot going on between the four of you! Where do you find your energy, and even your spirit for working on the new music?
MR:
  I think for the most part it’s really easy to stay excited about writing and performing because we all love it so much. I think the most difficult thing we face is when Cocoa is traveling for his job. It’s difficult to have a band practice without guitar and half the vocals!
But, we are all really proud of this album. Dan Stoffels did a great job recording and mixing our stuff. It’s currently being mastered by Travis Kasperbauer. Caitlin Kirihara has also been doing a fantastic job on all of our artwork.
We’re also about to release our very first music video! It was shot in two days by Bob Love and his crew. I’m truly floored by the team we have assembled—and it’s all of these talented people who are helping us take our product to the next level.

MI:  Can you describe the band’s style?
MR:
  I never know how to answer this question, but I guess I would say we’re a loud, in your face rock band with some catchy, danceable elements that even get a little bluesy at points. Haha! I might have butchered that, but I guess you’ll just have to listen to our album we have coming out in a few weeks.

MI:  Good tease Morgan! So why are you a Madison-based band? Where are you from originally? 
MR:
  I am from a 1500 person town in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. It’s called Whitehall, and it takes 45 minutes to get to the nearest mall or movie theatre. But, you can stand in the center of town, start walking in any direction, and end up in a corn field in less than ten minutes…so there’s that.
I came to Madison for school when I was 18, and had always planned on leaving for NYC. But, I started playing music here, and it’s really difficult to give up on it to just move. I also think Madison is working for us as a band. It’s a great city and has a lot of amazing music and art going on. We enjoy being part of it.

MI:  How do you keep up your energy, and even your spirit for working on new music? And especially with all the other obligations?
MR:
  I think for the most part it’s really easy to stay excited about writing and performing because we all love it so much. I think the most difficult thing we face is when Cocoa is traveling for his job. It’s difficult to have a band practice without guitar and half the vocals!
But, we are all really proud of this album. Dan Stoffels did a great job recording and mixing our stuff. It’s currently being mastered by Travis Kasperbauer. Caitlin Kirihara has also been doing a fantastic job on all of our artwork.
We’re also about to release our very first music video! It was shot in two days by Bob Love and his crew. I’m truly floored by the team we have assembled—and it’s all of these talented people who are helping us take our product to the next level.

MI:  What makes you proud of Devil to Drag right now?
MR:
  Our Brainerd cover we did for local Love Fest 2015! It was also amazing to play the Bomblastica show in March. I played it a few years ago with my old band ONE LAST RUN, and I have to say, it just gets better every year. And I’m stoked to be playing Maybash this year. There’s just so much to be thankful for right now, and playing kick ass shows for kick ass people is my favorite part of it.

MI:  Does it mean you’re satisfied at this point?
MR:
  I’m so happy! We’re all very proud of the album we’re releasing on May 15th. I think we succeeded in making it something unique, and it definitely has the Devil to Drag stamp on it. I’m also super excited to see what we do with our next album. We have continued writing throughout the recording process, so we’re basically ready to start it all again as soon as we release this one.

MI:  What’s your goal for the band?
MR:
  I want to tour this summer. It’s always been my dream to wake up, and drive to a new city each day to play our music. I think we’d do well on the road, so it’s really the next thing goal I’d like to see us tackle.

Connect with Devil to Drag on facebook:
www.facebook.com/deviltodrag

Support the band’s EP release through kickstarter:
mkt.com/thedevilkickstarts


-Release show on May 15 at The Frequency, Madison, Wisconsin
(with Sexy Ester, Eddie Ate Dynamite, Basement Fire, and Bron Sage)

Other show dates:
-Maybash on May 23rd, Rio, Wisconsin
-Steelbridge Song Festival, Friday, June 12th in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

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