Origins is a new music feature that presents artists the challenge of digging into the influences behind their latest track. Today, Devon Welsh explains why he wants to remind everyone “Somebody Loves You”.
On Devon Welsh’s forthcoming sophomore solo album, True Love, the indie singer-songwriter explores the “ambiguous emotional spaces around love.” That doesn’t just mean romance, though, as the former Majical Cloudz frontman poetically addresses all forms of interpersonal tenderness. Past singles “War” and “Faces” respectively dealt with a failing relationship and the need to care for each other in an impermanent world. The effort’s latest track, “Somebody Loves You”, finds Welsh’s reflecting on platonic affection that has dwindled with distance.
As with much of Welsh’s music, “Somebody Loves You” is a sparse composition, featuring little more than a metronomic beat and far-off, droning synths. Slowly, those textures grow, layers of twinkling notes gently folding on top of each other. It all builds towards the chorus, where Welsh declares his still warm feelings for a relationship that has grown cold: “I still hear your voice/ From inside my mind,” he sings out. “Heaven is a place/ I do hope you find.”
The track comes along with a music video directed by Welsh’s cousin. It was shot in the woods around Welsh’s new rural Wisconsin residence, a fitting location considering how the song’s themes relate to his friends and family back in his hometown of Montreal. Take a look at “Somebody Loves Me” below.
The follow-up to his Dream Songs solo debut from last year, Welsh’s True Love is out October 11th via his own You Are Accepted label. For more on how it and “Somebody Loves You” came together, the Canadian musician has broken down the song’s Origins.
I made the video for “Somebody Loves You” in Wisconsin when my cousin Braden came to visit. We’ve found it’s pretty easy to be creative together. We more or less improvised and had fun with the camera, and it was a lot of fun.
The song is about loving someone despite estrangement or distance, and now I think about my family when I think about “Somebody Loves You”, as we’ve been doing great work on healing separation and distance. The relationship between my cousin and I is a great testament to that!
Some of the inspiration for how the song (and the album) turned out was from a conversation I had with some friends of mine before I left Montreal. We were talking about making music, and I was mentioning that I have demos for a bunch of songs but that I need to add some extra layers to make it “finished.” They were suggesting that maybe it’s already finished, and that sometimes it’s okay to keep music simple, if simple music is what comes out naturally. That made me feel more okay with keeping my songs fairly simple, and not feel like I had to transform them into something more complicated and “polished” for people to understand them.
The song is also inspired by my friends in a different way. The emotion that the song expresses is probably something a lot of people end up feeling about old friends they have lost touch with or became estranged from for one reason or another. The song is inspired by a desire to overcome the separation that can occur between ourselves and people we love.
My friend gave me his old Korg M1 a few years ago, and for a while I made a lot of music on it, and that’s the time period that “Somebody Loves You” came from. I really liked the bass sound that is on “Somebody Loves You”, I used it on a lot of different things I was working on.
I made a bunch of instrumental dance tracks that for obvious reasons did not end up on my upcoming album (haha), but “Somebody Loves You” is a final product of messing around on the Korg M1. Thanks Nick!
I read his book of Collected Poems called Half-Light during the time I wrote some of the songs on True Love, possibly “Somebody Loves You”. In any case, the types of emotions that inspired that song are infinitely more eloquently and beautifully expressed in Frank Bidart’s poetry. This section of his poem “Elegy”, called “Envoi”, is an example that particularly resonated with me. I can’t speak highly enough of Bidart’s poetry in general.
For more insight from Devon Welsh, check out his recent appearance on This Must Be The Gig, where he talked about growing up listening to metal music and what it’s been like going solo. Listen below.