Conversations: Mal Devisa & Long Beard

The Northampton and New Brunswick artists interview each other.


Northampton’s Mal Devisa and New Brunswick’s Long Beard chat with each other about how they spend their free time, their favorite TV shows, their fears, and more.

Long Beard: Do you believe in ghosts/spirits? Have you ever had any supernatural experiences/encounters?

Mal Devisa: I do believe in ghosts and spirits​​​. I also very much believe that our ancestors are watching us. Don’t think I’d even be here if I didn’t believe and feel that. It’s comforting feeling when you are scaaaaaared.

​I don’t think I’ve ever had a supernatural experience but for some reason, if I eat too much fast food or sleep too much I have sleep paralysis. So scary.

Long Beard: Sleep paralysis terrifies me to no end! 0_0

Mal Devisa: If you weren’t playing music, what would you be doing these days?

Long Beard: I also believe in ghosts, although I am too afraid and hope I won’t have to encounter one.

Oof, that is a tough question! I’ve been playing music in some form for most of my life, but I didn’t take it seriously until High School when I learned how to play guitar. Before that, I was actually really into skateboarding, although I never really got that good at it. So if I weren’t playing music, I might be picking up a few more tricks these days, but of course the neighborhood boys would still probably have bullied me out of it…

Where do you like to spend your free time?

Mal Devisa: I usually end up at shows but I think the true answer is: My bed.

I’m pretty much an angry old lady and I don’t think there’s much a good bed burrito and Bob’s Burgers can’t solve…

Do you like to cook?

Long Beard via Daniel Dorsa

Long Beard by Daniel Dorsa

Long Beard: Yes! I spend most of my time in bed watching TV, and Bob’s Burgers is one of my go-to shows!

I actually do like to cook but I’m really lazy. Having shared a kitchen with eight other people and the accumulation of dirty (or missing) dishes kind of deterred me from cooking. Mostly, I end up eating pizza and fast food. Compared to everyone else I know, I’m a terrible cook, and will usually just make noodle soup with some bok-choy and throw in an egg for protein. Oh, and I throw in lots of garlic powder.

Mal Devisa: Yesssss.

Long Beard: What were some of your favorite TV shows growing up?

Mal Devisa: Growing up, I was super weird. I loved watching music videos and Disney channel movies. I would spend hours and hours watching the same music video and somehow not get tired of it. I memorized the steps to Destiny’s Child songs like it was an assignment though. I really don’t know why I found that so fun. I watched a lots of TV as a kid but nothing really beat watching like Rage Against the Machine music videos on On Demand.

Long Beard: That’s awesome!

Mal Devisa: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Long Beard: The only other country I’ve lived in was China. I really love it there but now I feel like I’m too claustrophobic and would have a hard time adjusting if I lived there… one place I was always really interested in was Iceland, but it’s more of a fantasy for me. I really just like the idea of having multiple days in a row and multiple nights. Also, the idea of seeing the Aurora Borealis and hanging out with sheep sounds real nice. All the photos I’ve seen of Iceland look so beautiful, it seems too dreamy/like a bedtime story, but who knows if I would adjust to living there either!! Honestly, if I could live anywhere in the world, it would be wherever my friends and family are, even though everyone is scattered! I can only dream…

Mal Devisa: Lets go on an Icelandic tour.

*Mal Devisa/Long Beard Icelandic Tour 2016*

Long Beard: Yes! Let’s do it :) Would love that so so much!

Speaking of tour, have you been on any tours? What did you like/dislike about it? I’m always curious to hear about tour experiences because I’ve actually never been on tour!

Mal Devisa via Daniel Dorsa

Mal Devisa by Daniel Dorsa

Mal Devisa: I have such a love/hate relationship with touring. I love it because it’s a means of seeing other scenes, connecting with other people who are both alike and different from me (and what I know at home)… Sometimes it’s hard because I’m a pretty impulsive person and I put a lot of trust in the universe that things will work out and then I end up scrambling in Philly with 13 hours to book a show. Thing usually work out but there have been a couple nights where I was like, “This can NEVER happen again.” Those experiences are fine though—touring is probably one of the most trial/error things that musicians go through. It’s definitely made me a better, more calculated and helpful person. DIY touring is kind of a weird language. It’s a boys club and can be really hard to figure out at first.

The first tour I went on was during senior year of High School. Since then I’ve probably gone on around 10 tours and they’ve only become more fun. I also find it interesting as a person who becomes anxious at shows that playing shows away from your friends is REALLY helpful. I’m about to go on tour with Swings and I am already scrambling because I have no merch and too much homework to do to even think about making any. I’m not really that worried because what can be better than getting into a really sweaty car for two weeks with nothing but Cliff Bars and water?

What is your relationship with “the outdoors”?

Do you like being outside? Hiking? etc.

Long Beard: I love being outside! I’ve only gone hiking once but have been meaning to go again for quite some time. As a kid, I spent almost all of my time outside. My favorite thing to do was to climb trees. There was a game we would play where we shoot a long rubber band up into a branch, and then we would take turns climbing up and getting it. Wasn’t the safest game though, and we always got in trouble for it. Now that I’m old and grumpy, I spend less and less time outside which really bums me out, but I like to go for walks as often as I can.

Do you have any irrational fears?

Mal Devisa: I’m not sure that I have any irrational fears. I try to be really realistic about all of my fears so I generally feel hopeful but there are definitely things that I don’t mix with yet.

For some reason, I don’t like looking at clusters of small things… like ants. I’m also one of those annoying people that can’t handle the thought/talk of the world ending. Freaks. Me. OUT.

Long Beard: Ugh, clusters of small things or even patterns make me feel like I’m gonna pass out!

Mal Devisa: I am pretty afraid of snakes, too.

Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure”?

Long Beard: Haha, that is a good question. I mostly listen to popular radio music in the car, but occasionally I will listen to a very old Taking Back Sunday CD that I managed to not lose. It’s Tell All Your Friends, and I am always surprised that I still know all the words after all these years.

What is the first song/artist you remember listening to?

Mal Devisa: Well in middle school, I would buy CD’s and listen to them on repeat. That was when that started. I’ve always been big into repetition—which is great because it feels good to know things by heart. I think the first band I remember obsessing over was the Flobots. I knew (and know) every word to Fight With Tools because that album was like my Blue or Thriller.

It took time to get into those other iconic albums for other reasons. I was really into hip-hop then but also went out of my way to acquire the music people like Paul Baribeau who was a HUGE, Huge inspiration for me growing up. He was probably the second real concert I saw—The first concert I saw was Big D and the Kids Table. I am glad I stuffed my little ears with weird and varied sounds… I feel like it’s what makes it a little easier to make music that is different from itself.

Read our previous Conversations piece—featuring Mitski and Mark Redito (f.k.a. Spazzkid)—here.

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