Indus Adams, aka Devin Castleton, is a singer-songwriter from San Antonio, Texas. He used Covid quarantine to take a deep dive into songwriting and recording. He is currently at work on his debut album.
NewSong Music: What sort of music was playing in your house when you were growing up?
Indus Adams: My dad loved the Beatles and Chicago and The Beach Boys, so there was a lot of that from the beginning. Then, as my older brothers got into high school, I got all the stuff they were into, like Depeche Mode, REM, U2, New Order, The Cure, etc. When I got into junior high and high school and started developing my own tastes, I was big into ’90s and grunge — Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Gin Blossoms, Toad the Wet Sprocket, etc.
What inspired you to become a songwriter?
More than anything I always wanted to write songs. But I never could. I always had a million tunes in my head, but I could never figure out how to write lyrics that were any good. I would hear a song on the radio and be moved by it and just wish I could do that. When covid happened, I forced myself to finish some songs, just to go through the exercise. “Find Me” was the first song that kind of came out of that, and when I wrote it I actually felt like it was right and it kind of did what it was supposed to do. I just didn’t know how I did it. But I have always been most moved and inspired by a good song and I always wanted to be able to do it and express myself in that way.
What is the first song you wrote that you were really proud of?
“Find Me” was kind of the first one that started the whole thing. As that started coming together, I felt like I was having some kind of a breakthrough. I was really proud of it and I wanted to try and do it again. A few months later, I wrote “Spiritual Confirmation” and felt at the time like that was the one that really best expressed what I was feeling. It has a lot of meaning to me and it was incredibly rewarding on a personal level to have finished it and felt good about it.
If you could partner with another living songwriter to co-write a song, who would it be?
Oh, man. I have thought about this a million times. I’ll give some honorable mentions and then I’ll try to narrow it to one. I’m a huge James Taylor fan and his music is so iconic for me and such a fixture in my life. Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) blows my mind and always makes me feel like he takes everything he does to such a unique place and I’d love to know what a hybrid of that and one of my songs would feel like. But I think I would say Pete Yorn. Lesser known, but his music speaks to me clearer than just about anyone else. It would be a true life moment if I could even tune his guitars, much less write a song with him.
What attracted you to submit your song(s) to the NewSong Competition?
I have largely kept these songs to myself for over a year now. When I first resolved to write songs in the first place, it was purely for myself and to have that experience and to try to create something relevant and meaningful for myself. Outside a small handful of friends and family, I just never imagined anyone would ever want to hear them. But after a while I started to wonder if they were any good, frankly. I figured a song contest might give me some kind of feedback and/or validation. But I really had no idea what to expect. To be here now is pretty surreal. But incredibly rewarding and meaningful.
Besides performing at the NewSong Competition, what else would you like to do or see while in Asheville?
I want to see Citizen Vinyl and I want to explore the city. Restaurants, bars, all the haunts. I love discovering a new city and I was coincidentally just in North Carolina for the first time ever (Raleigh) last week and I’m so excited to go back and see more. Fell in love immediately.
Do you have any recent or forthcoming projects to tell us about?
I am working on completing this first album … I’m hoping to be finished by first quarter of 2023. It’s being produced by R. Walt Vincent (Pete Yorn, Liz Phair, Tommy Keene, The Format, etc). I’m not on a label or anything so there’s really no hoopla or campaign around it, it will just be done. Which will be a pretty huge deal for me.