Deb Never Puts on a Front
Fans and journalists alike might be wondering, “What is her intention with the project? What do these songs mean?” For Deb, there isn’t always an answer. She even becomes self-inquisitive on tracks like “Ugly,” venting about relationships, “Am I desperate to feel the way that we used to?” and “Same,” where she repeatedly asks herself, “Will I always feel the same?” Instead of putting a heavy focus on lyrical denotation, though, this project is more about the process of feeling. As many music projects are, this EP is an emotional response to the artist’s collective life experiences, both past and present. What makes Deb unique is her ability to transform her feelings into a sonic landscape that reflects the essence of her own personality: someone who has seen darkness, but chooses light; someone who has reasons to cry, but chooses to fucking mosh.
The EP’s title rings true to the life of a touring artist: constantly being on the go, a struggle to find stability or knowing what’s to come in the future. But leading this life as an artist is the only option for someone like Deb–her desire for self-expression transformed into something tangible outweighs choosing a plan B. This is about the immediacy of creating: having access to an outlet, in Deb’s case, her guitar, that allows one to articulate their emotions without insecurity and pressure to define what they mean in the moment. The visceral release of performing, even if its only for yourself at first, can be an extremely cleansing thing. The melodies and beats that Deb creates are representative of her consciousness: the dissonant guitar drowns out the sound of reality… tunneling the listener into her world, a private jam session motivated by loneliness, love, frustration, uncertainty and the combination of them all. And then the 808s kick in.
Though Deb’s art isn’t overtly about identity politics and representation, these are two things that unavoidably lie at the heart of day-to-day human experience, even when it seems easier to escape or avoid them. But instead of letting prescribed identity makers confine her, she makes them her own simply by being herself: when she feels something, she says it, and when she wants something, she does it, Deb doesn’t have to do much for you to fall in love with her–her transparency of self is a quality sought after by many, especially in an age when individuality is the new “fitting in.” Her genuity has allowed her to carve a path for herself in the music industry, where all signs point to her career and fanbase growing in a real, organic way.
With early influences ranging from Nirvana and Radiohead to Three-Six Mafia, Deb’s genre-meshing grunge-meets-emo rap music unfolds as if the listener has access to her stream of consciousness. With the vulnerability of a personal diary, she wants you to hear what she’s saying and feel how she’s singing it. That being said, House on Wheels EP is music for many moods: car rides, parties, lonely nights, break ups, mosh pits, smoke sessions, hanging out with friends. But most importantly, it’s Deb Never’s way of proving herself; after growing up with a sense that no one out there was really listening, she has now become a person that others are listening to. On “Swimming,” her latest single off of the EP, Deb unforgivingly sings, “Treat me like you give a fuck about me now.” Coming from a past reality of small-town isolation and discouragement in the Pacific Northwest and landing success in Los Angeles, she’s reminding us that, deep down, she’s always been the person that people are finally acknowledging her as today.
How, if at all, did your hometown influence your sound?
The only thing about my hometown that influenced my sound was my environment growing up. I was always trying to keep my head up in a sad situation.
Where does the title House on Wheels come from?
House on Wheels comes from the way I feel about this EP and my life [laughs]. I feel like each song takes you to another place even though they all live in the same world.
You've talked about music being a release for you, is it a cathartic experience seeing the EP as a finished product versus the process of putting it all together?
Yes, seeing it finished and listening to it altogether is crazy cause it all started with me making songs in my closet [laughs] literally. It’s like seeing my music baby grow.
What has the power of collaboration brought to your work?
Collaboration has only made me better and inspired me.
Do you feel like you're defining your own identity in music rather than letting others define you?
Absolutely yes. I think music is such an honest way of representing yourself and saying things you would probably never say in real life. You can say I’m this or that but I’ll tell you exactly how I’m feeling and show you who I am through my art.