Rich harmonies, swaying instrumentals and eerie melodies – meet Дeva (Deva).
Budapest-based musician Dorina Takács’ solo project weaves Hungarian folk into vibrant polyphonic textures. The impressive 20-year-old performs, writes and produces all her own songs. If that’s not enough she also designs all the artworks for her releases. Дeva’s latest single Witchcraft breaks free of conventional musical labels; the harmonies follow the style of a traditional choir, the melody is Eastern European folk-influenced, while the pulsating bass wouldn’t be out of place on a nightclub dance floor.
I caught up with the artist to discuss her latest offering and to find out a bit more about the musician behind the songs.
How has this past year in lockdown been for you? How has it affected you creatively?
I had a gap year and I had a lot of time to focus on my inner health. Thus, I was full of pure power that could be turned into creativity with great ease. Lately, I’m not as inspired as I was a year ago, but I’m learning how to be free outside of my responsibilities.
Why did you choose the name Дeva/Deva?
I had a lot of names on my list but none of them touched me. ‘Veda’ was the one I felt closest to but I didn’t want to be associated with something big like ‘knowledge’, so from that evolved the word ‘deva’. I hadn’t heard it before. After googling it, I knew that this is what I’d been searching for. In some cultures it represents good but for example in Zoroastrianism daevas are evil creatures.
How did you first get involved in music?
I went to a special music class in primary school. By the time I was seven it was obvious that I had to follow this path. I don’t know who I inherited this from because we don’t have musicians in the family.
I hear you are vegetarian, for how long? And what inspired this decision?
I’ve been vegetarian since the age of fourteen and now I try to avoid dairy too. Firstly, it was an ethical and moral choice but now it’s environmental and spiritual too. Unfortunately, there are less and less animals that live happily due to the amount of meat and dairy products we consume. When we eat them we take in all of that negative information that were collected during their lives. It’s not good for us. Not to mention the suffering we cause. In my opinion, this diet and talking about this topic is something I can do to prevent animals from being abused.
Tell me about your song writing process?
If I were to describe my song writing process in one word, it would be: chaos. Sometimes it begins with writing or searching for the lyrics but sometimes I start it with recording melodies and layers. After that everything comes when it wants to.
Your music has a very unique sound, who are your influences? Including any Hungarian music?
Alt-J was the first one who had a great impact on my music taste and they are still my favourite band. It’s hard to choose from those musicians whose art I felt close to but I’d mention these artists:
Alt-J, Nils Frahm, Weval, Four Tet, Tame Impala, Kodály Zoltán and Hungarian folk.
Tell me something interesting about yourself, outside of music?
I’ve started to fall in love with gardening. In my free time I feed, trim and observe my little plants. I get lost in their beauty every time, they teach me their language and purify me with their power. They give me much more than I could imagine.
Your latest single is called Witchcraft, what is it about?
It’s about finding love. The song was inspired by a Hungarian folk song that says: “My garden is full of sage and love”. According to the song, love is not only a fusion of two paths but also a pact with nature and a connection with our inner self. The monotony of the groove, the smooth rhythms of congas and the traditional Hungarian melodies give us a warm feeling that takes us to a sacred land.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Jacob Groening: Varanasi
Lab’s Cloud: Spiritual Level
Meszecsinka: Felülről Fúj
Sergio Mendes & Basil ’66: For What It’s Worth
Theo Hirschi: Bless Me With Grace
What have you got planned for this year?
In the summer I’ll be performing with other musicians, we will be performing at many summer festivals in Hungary such as Bánkitó festival, Kolorado festival, Campus Festival and many many more places. My first album will be released in autumn and we’re working on a music video as well.