WHS graduate carries Nation of Language to musical success


Photo courtesy of Instagram @nationoflanguage

Nation of Language Band: Michael Sue-Poi, Ian Devaney and Aidan Noell (left to right)

For most people, the past two years have been anything but productive in the midst of a global pandemic. However, for the indie-pop band, Nation of Language, this reclusive time has been crucial for the release of their two most formative albums entitled Introduction and Presence and A Way Forward.

The Brooklyn-based group started in 2018 is led by Ian Devaney, a 2008 WHS graduate. Devaney still credits part of his musical success to his Westfield roots with his high school band, The Static Jacks. He said, “We started playing together freshman year for a humanities class…we would play as many Folio coffeehouses as we could. That was the foundation of my whole journey through music.”

Devaney and one other band member, Michael Sue-Poi, decided to pursue music as a career shortly after their high school graduation. They started college but he said that they “ended up leaving after just one semester.” The rest of The Static Jacks remained in college and a few years later Devaney began writing the first songs for Nation of Language, and then his wife, Aidan Noell, joined the band.

“It’s a strange thing to say you feel like you benefitted from a global tragedy,” Devaney said, adding that “the music resonated with people because it was music they could listen to if they wanted to be sad in their own space, while we were all confined, or if they needed to just get up and dance around their living room.” 

During the band’s most developmental stages, they couldn’t perform for their fans; however, this made the band’s first tour that much more special.

Now, the ability to perform live and connect with fans has become very meaningful for Nation of Language. The band has toured in Europe and is currently on tour across the United States. Devaney said, “Whenever we go on tour it feels like we’re meeting most of our fanbase for the first time and to feel them respond to those songs like they do creates this amazing sense of togetherness and gratitude.”

The Brooklyn-based trio could be described as the future of indie-pop. Devaney said he used to exclusively write music on the guitar, but now, “all the new sonic landscapes synthesizers opening up can really inspire [people] to break out of [their] own mold.” Synthesizers have helped him and his band find their sound as they have utilized new technology to create genre-bending music.

Anybody looking for new music to mix up their playlists should definitely check out Nation of Language. They are also currently on tour and if you want to experience their music live, tickets are still on sale for their March 5 show at Underground Arts in Philadelphia. 

Whether you’re new to indie-pop or a frequent listener of the genre, their new album, A Way Forward, has something for everybody.