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A Dirty Dozen with NIKOLLAJ from THE DEV – February 2022

| 24 February 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Today THE DEV is making their mark in the metal world with the rollout of their new hard-hitting single, “Hell Bent.” With vivacious vocals paired with electric guitar, the highflier’s hit will become your new party anthem as you can’t get enough of their feel-good magnetism. THE DEV is a female fronted hard rock band from Central Florida. The band puts the fan experience at the forefront of everything they do from their unforgettable music to their dynamic and awe-inspiring onstage performances. The band’s mission is to wipe away the everyday stresses of life from the moment they hit the stage, leaving audiences relishing in the moment and hanging on until the very last note. The band is composed of lead vocalist Nikollaj, guitarists Ryan Danley & Barrett Jones, bassist John Panaccione, and drummer Chris Caruso. THE DEV showcases a bright new spirit in rock music with rising star and front woman Nikollaj. With no shortage of experience, THE DEV combines their unparalleled rock ‘n’ roll chops with their bright-eyed spirit of the scene’s next generation of powerhouses.” We get front woman Nikollaj to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

So, the song is quite literally written because of the fans. Being stuck at home the past two years was a stagnant time for most of us. Getting to go on tour inspired me SO MUCH for the new single “Hell Bent” with everything I saw and heard on tour from the hundreds of people. There are A LOT of nuggets that some people can pick up on, for instance ‘You’re Goddamn right’ is a phrase that one of the bar owners used a lot, his name is Tribble, and he is a character.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

For me music was always heavily intertwined in my life. When I was younger, I used to dance a lot. In my teens music helped me with self-expression. But I can say when I was 20 I got to see Lacey Sturm, the original singer of Flyleaf, and she shared some wisdom with me, which reaffirmed that I was gonna give music my all.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

To elaborate more into the Lacey story and more yes. There is a video Flyleaf – “All Around Me Acoustic” that used to have me mesmerized with music. That and System of a Down were artists that always were on repeat and making me think deep.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would love to collab with Lacey Sturm, Serj Tankian, or Sia just because they are such emotional & honest artists. I could not only learn so much from them but it would be an amazing song in the end too!

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

I really am into hair and makeup, I love the glam but because I do it so much with tour lately, I’ve just been into people watching at dingy bars and coffee shops and really been getting into massages, and aromatherapy. I really do love to entertain and brighten people’s day, as an artist I rely SO much on feeling and storytelling that lately my down times are very minimal, calm, and quiet so I can recharge for the next event.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe, or you disagreed with?

To describe my music I would say it’s a heavy/hard rock vibe that has strong yet sexy female vocals and it is very guitar driven.  I don’t really get cringey or uncomfortable much… but they’re was that one time I showed my strict non-English speaking Albanian grandma my music video “Queen of the Damned,” and that was… interesting.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I feel like I’m the band mom so I feed the guys, Ryan or Chris would probably bring the drinks and we just have a fun time.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I am so thankful meeting the bands that I grew up on, that it just feels like I’m meeting old time friends.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Everything from start to finish. This is plan A, with no rear view mirror.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’m an open book really so I’m down with anything. If anything, it’s having me describe my sound with comparison of other artists. We as a band have so many inspirations we don’t like to box ourselves in.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Nope. I believe in the power of experience.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Probably Toxicity from System of a Down, Flyleaf from Flyleaf or the live recording of “My Mind” by Yebba. I feel connected to these songs because of the energy.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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