The Devil Makes Three on The Morning Mix

Cindy Howes recently spoke with Pete Bernhard of The Devil Makes Three on the Morning Mix to discuss their new album, I’m A Stranger Here. The Devil Makes Three is a unique band for our time, having been inspired by New Orleans Dixieland jazz. The band formed in Santa Cruz, California, but they “sound like they formed on a boxcar in Oklahoma”, according to Cindy. 

The band was signed to New West Records for this record, and The Devil Makes Three got to work with producer Buddy Miller. “As a sort of figurehead and leader of the whole thing, he was really relaxed and laid back, and he put everybody at ease. Not to mention he surrounded us with some really great musicians to sit in, and we had a really great engineer working on the record. He really made our job a lot easier,” Pete said.

Cindy asked Pete his opinion on a quotation from a review she read of the I’m A Stranger Here. “If New West is savvy, they’ll market this album directly to disappointed Avett Brothers fans” was the quote, and Pete didn’t seem to agree with the comparison. “All bands of our genre get grouped together, but we’re all pretty different. Just because you have a banjo in the band doesn’t make it the same band,” Bernhard argued. “We’re not like the Avett Brothers, they’re not like us, they’re not Mumford and Sons, and Mumford and Sons isn’t the Old Crow Medicine Show.”

The Devil Makes Three usually likes to perform general admission shows. The idea is that they want people to get up and dance to their New Orleans style music. “We put a lot of time into our setlist and thinking what we’re going to do. We’re a live band, really.”

They got into their sound just by listening to the music that came out of the Big Easy years ago. “We just listened to the records. It was just a challenge for us to learn how they did it.” Pete added, “So much great music came from New Orleans. Once you get started it’s really endless.”

I’m A Stranger Here was released the week of Halloween, and the music sounds kind of creepy at times. Cindy wanted to know if that was an intentional thing, but Pete said it’s mostly that they just enjoy creepy music. “We’ve always had [creepy themes] in our band, and I think we’ve always gravitated towards minor key stuff, and we used to listen to a lot of gypsy music as well.”