Alumni band The Devious Means to release second EP
The band Devious Means consists of Biola alumni who graduated between 2002 to 2005. One of the members, Andrew Faris, is a theology professor at Biola. | Courtesy of Devious Means
Devious, they are not. Fun, inviting and truth-seeking, they are. The young indie rock band, The Devious Means have a sound as playful and interest-grabbing as their name. The “Meanies,” as they have been nicknamed, are all Biola alumni who graduated between 2002 to 2005 and the friendships established here led to the establishment of the band in 2010. In light of the upcoming release of their second EP titled “Songs We All Are Singing,” I had a chance to sit down with all five of the band members as they shared what uniquely defines The Devious Means.
Indie rock genre with strong melodies
Christopher Faris, lead guitarist and male vocalist, helped describe the band’s genre.
“I think our style is very simply indie rock — we’re not trying to reinvent any wheels. On the new disc we really got to show the kind of diversity in our style and in our sound,” he said, as he continued to describe their musical styles, ranging from a ukulele-accordion combo to a gospel choir feel, all captured on the same EP.
His brother, Andrew Faris, the band’s guitarist and also a theology professor at Biola, added that strong melodies are characteristic of their sound.
“I think that’s one of the defining features of our band — that catchiness,” Andrew Faris said. “Even with the darker songs, I still want to sing to it and the vocal melody really pops out over the top and invites you in.”
Music with a positive message
While all of the members want The Devious Means to succeed in the music industry, they said the focus comes down to creating honest and good music that can positively speak into another person’s life.
“There’s a couple artists that I love and even though the song’s not written about me, I feel like it speaks what my heart is saying,” said Rachel Anderson, the female vocalist and one of the primary songwriters. “If I can write songs like that — even one, or even a lyric of one song that could do that for someone — that would just be the coolest thing.”
Drummer Jason Mize explained that The Devious Means is not a band that alters itself to conform to the expectations of the public.
“One of our number one goals is to write good songs and to not contrive the songs in a way to fit some target market,” he said. “A lot of the songs take shape on their own and we come along for the ride.”
Strong foundation of friendship
On top of the influence of their music, the friendship and respect between the band members is something in itself that drives them.
“I don’t find more joy in many other things than I do in playing music with these people. I cannot emphasize enough that it is with these particular people,” Christopher Faris said. “I think there’s a chemistry amongst us that is prized and valued more than anything else.”
Bass guitarist Megan Polendo added to these sentiments.
“I am so thankful for every experience we’ve had up to this point,” she said. “Every day is added to that and every time we see potentials of publishing, or of labels being interested, or other shows — it’s just all icing on the cake.”
Branching out to a wider audience
While all of the members of The Devious Means are Christians, they do not label themselves as a Christian band targeted to Christian audiences; rather, they simply seek to bring light, positivity and hope through their upbeat sound and redemptive lyrics.
“I think what’s most important is that [our music] is truthful,” Christopher Faris said. “My faith is integrated into every element of my life so I’m not going to write a song lyrically that would be untruthful to our experience, and our faith informs those experiences.”
Though the songs may not explicitly declare Christ, the band said that their music clearly does reflect Christ because their faith is so central in their lives. They said they value this place of authenticity and honesty to experience.
Being a part of the broader music community also provides the band opportunities to meet and befriend people whom they may never have known otherwise.
“When they say, ‘Oh, what do you do when you’re not playing music?’ and I tell them I’m a pastor, they know,” laughed Andrew Faris. “When we make friends and they like us, knowing that we’re Christians, there’s a real chance for honest dialogue that wouldn’t happen if we were coming right out and singing super-Christian songs all the time. At the same time, we can write songs that — if you’re paying any attention — are clearly Christian lyrics.”
Interact with the band
Christopher Faris shared what he simply wants Biola to know and understand about who The Devious Means are.
“We are a community that everyone is invited to join,” he said. “It is not uncommon at our shows to have hand claps, random dancing people, sing-alongs — you will have a great time. As we’ve said before, it all comes from a very honest and authentic place. Joy is just as honest and real and truthful as every other emotion out there and we enjoy embodying that in our music and in our live show.”
The band invites Biolans to come check out their live show at their album release party at the House of Blues Anaheim on March 30 to see for themselves what the Meanies are all about. For more show details, visit their event page. Tickets are $10 through the band, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.