"Why is it so important where you were born when you have all this musical DNA coming out of you?" asks Devotchka singer/multi-instrumentalist Nick Urata. In this era of globalization, Devotchka certainly manifests the concept of world citizenship. The Denver-based quartet has solidified a name for itself over the past decade playing theremin-inflected cosmopolitan gypsy-rock in contexts as diverse as burlesque shows to outdoor music festivals.
Following an appearance at September's Austin City Limits Music Festival, Devotchka, which takes its name from A Clockwork Orange, returns to the Texas capital for its third appearance at SXSW, a format that somewhat hamstrings the band's emphasis on visual spectacle.
"I like the showcase format, because we can just play the hits," counters Urata.
Wait, hits? What hits? Most people outside of Colorado probably hadn't heard of Devotchka before 2006. That year the group broke out at Bonnaroo, released the covers EP Curse Your Little Heart (Ace Fu) – which features a devastating version of Siouxsie & the Banshees' "The Last Beat of My Heart" – and scored the Oscar-nominated indie film Little Miss Sunshine, the soundtrack for which also earned the group a Grammy nomination.
Not too shabby for a little cult band that once toured in support of Burlesque superstar Dita von Teese. Devotchka's fifth studio LP, A Mad & Faithful Telling (Anti-), is the group's best work yet, which should boost them even further into the public consciousness.
"The music itself is worth the price of admission," says Urata. "We have amazing guests, and we used painstaking old-fashioned recording techniques, huge and prodigious string sections [in addition to band violinist Tom Hagerman], and trombones."
The time is now for a band defying categorization based on nationality.