Devalued is one of the newer, younger, and hardest-playing successful metal acts performing in South Florida. You probably saw Nico Suave singing and playing guitar, Matt Stoyka beating the shit out of the drums, and Conor Barbato breaking his bass at the County Grind showcase at Green Room in July.
Fun to watch, these 20-year-olds are all based out of Pembroke Pines and Davie. Old buddies Matt and Conor met Nico through a mutual friend. They started out playing sludge but ended up making D-beat. As Matt puts it, "It all went downhill from there, and we got really crappy and ignorant." They may be young, but their self-deprecating humor, honesty about being fans of Jamiroquai, and generally fantastic stage presence make them a group worth watching. We spoke with them outside Churchill's Pub, and over the intense noise blaring from inside, we spoke of earplugs, Mariah Carey, and crying during sex.
New Times: [To Matt] You should wear earplugs.
Conor: I carry around a pill case on my key chain to keep earplugs in, and I constantly get stopped by police officers thinking it's drugs. I have to open it up, like, Dude, it's earplugs.
Matt: It's funny because me and Conor are straight-edge and Nico is impure.
It's good to be straight-edge when you're young, because you can always get fucked up for the rest of your old, sad adult life. You're all wearing band T-shirts. What are the bands and why are you wearing them?
Conor: I'm wearing a Buzzcocks shirt. I love this. It's actually falling apart and I refuse to get rid of it. It's a band I really like. We're all into really different music for the most part. They're just a classic punk band.
What kind of music are you into?
Conor: I'm really into techno rock.
Conor: No. I've seen Korn. Like, Does It Offend You, Yeah?; and Crystal Castles, Outkast, and the Gorillas. Stuff like I listen to all day, and they don't get it at all.
I thought you were going to say Mariah Carey.
Conor: No, not too into Mariah Carey. Celine Dion, not. Terrible.
Matt: I am wearing my Holly Hunt T-shirt — my favorite band in the 305. I listen to basically the same style that Holly Hunt plays — droney, stoner sludge music. I've recently been listening to Neurosis, Isis, Sleep. The slower the better. How that influences our music or me, I don't know. I'm the most impatient person; I have to play as fast as I possibly can. I guess it kind of balances itself out. I'm really angry and impatient when I'm playing the drums, always, and I listen to the stoner music to calm me down.
Nico: I'm wearing a Despise You T-shirt. It's this old band. I didn't like them at first. They sort of grew on me. I listen to a lot of music that's out of this world. I like classical music a lot — I'm a nerd with it. I took all of these classes in high school, and I fell in love with it. I listen to a lot of things that help me sing, easy shit like Bob Marley, which I actually enjoy. I love disco. The Bee Gees and Jamiroquai. I love it.
Conor: I think the band that binds me and Nico is definitely Jamiroquai.
Matt: I hate Jamiroquai.
When I tell people that I like Jamiroquai, they make so much fun of me. I remember when "Space Cowboy" came out. Nobody listens to it anymore.
Nico: He's actually really known in other countries.
Nico: He's huge in England. In South America he's huge.
Conor: He's not Auto-Tuned, so no one cares about it.
Nico: The musicians in that band are ridiculous.
Conor: He has the whitest bass player that plays the funkiest shit.
It's respectable that two of you like Jamiroquai and one doesn't. You'd lose all of your street cred as a band if you all liked it.
Matt: I'm going to be straight up — I'm not hard at all. I listen to hard music, but inside, I'm a fucking pussy. I cry when I fuck.
That'll get you laid. You're working on an album?
Nico: We actually recorded everything for our first release. We're going to do tapes for now, and when we get enough money, we're going to do vinyl. My brother recorded it; he records a lot of bands. Moe. He used to play in Maruta. He's really smart and he knows how to record well in any environment. We actually recorded at his [Matt's] house and it sounds like a studio recording.
Matt: I live in a trailer.
Nico: It's shit acoustics, but it sounds amazing. We're really lucky.