Since 2009, October has been Filipino-American History Month in the US. Recent events and statistics (“Filipinos make up 4% of nurses in the US, but 31% of nurse deaths from COVID-19” — Business Insider) have highlighted a need for awareness and appreciation of the often overlooked struggles the API minority face.
Vincent Medina, a Filipino-American PhD student of cognitive and brain sciences who moonlights as a Twitch affiliate and makes nostalgic shoegazey dreampop under the moniker Devin World, is standing up for the visibility of his community. “I want to highlight that I am Filipino (and a
little Chinese),” said Medina.
“This is unique because there is nearly zero representation of this in the indie pop realm. Literally the only Filipino indie pop artist I can name off the top of my head is Jay Som. One of the reasons I push forward with music other than artistic reasons is the possibility that I might inspire other Filipino creatives who could really use more representation in this role. I am also bisexual and that type of representation is important as well.”
Devin World’s latest release, a three-track EP titled My Heaven, is a dreamy goth inspired trip through three scenes. Creating hazy soundscapes and painting a circumstantial visual with narrative lyrics, Medina tells tales of dancing with bonsai trees in Chinatown and coming alive under a new moon.
“My songwriting style typically is a bit strange in that stories will form purely in my imagination, so many events I write about haven’t actually happened to me. I leave it up to the listener to fill in the blanks and feel what they will from it. This approach does not make me feel detached from my art at all, though. I feel emotions from my writing whether they are real memories or third person (in the same way one would feel from any third person stories, such as watching a movie or reading a book).”
On the real experience that inspired “Cherish,” Medina explained the emotional backdrop of the poetic lyrics: “I realized that even
among pretty lights and big crowds, it is so easy to feel unhappy. This is the deepest song of the batch in that it explores the bigger questions about who and what in one’s life truly matters.”
“This perspective is inspired by an interview I read by Black Marble, where he stated that his approach to his newest album Bigger Than Life was more about ‘what’ rather than ‘who’, and that it is easier to write about people (e.g. love) but it is more satisfying to him to write about what matters and is important.”
In addition to shining a light on Filipino indie artists and embracing bisexuality, Devin World is pushing for the future of new genre “goth pop,” an exploration of moody and grim expression with pop structure and influence. “Goth pop is something I am excited to advance, as my next step is writing my first album which will be a development of this sound. I want to push this idea and aesthetic as far as I can and follow in Robert Smith’s footsteps, in a way, because I really do idolize him.”
“Cherish” and other tracks can be heard on Sun Rose Early’s Spotify Mix Distortions, below.