INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
The American state of Tennessee is perhaps better known for giving the world Elvis Presley and being the home of country music than for its heavy rock bands, but five-piece Divided We Stand are determined to change that.
Since their formation six years ago, the Knoxville outfit have worked hard at crafting a high quality sound that is an infectious blend of rock, metal, groove and folk.
With this, they have gained a devoted following in the States, appealing to proper music lovers who want a refreshing antidote to the shallow, autotuned pop that is out there currently.
I spoke to them as they were putting together their eagerly anticipated EP, due for release later this year.
How did the band get together initially?
It started out with Mike Russell (drums), Phil Zimny (guitar) and Trevor Tucker (guitar) jamming out and writing songs.
Later, they added Randy Krouse (bass) after a random try out. Joe Turner was just hanging out with the band one night and asked to play a song for us. To our surprise, he had a golden voice and we quickly added him to the band.
After Trevor left to pursue other ventures, we had a few guitarists come and go on until we found Jake Wilson. He was in other bands that we had played shows with and he caught our attention with his strong stage presence.
How did the band name come about?
We have such different views and ideals in politics, religion, and just about everything.
While we were in the first phases of our band, we had so many different ideas of what direction to go in. Someone said “Don’t be so divided” and the name dawned on us, ‘Divided We Stand’.
To somebody discovering your sound for the first time, how would you describe it to them?
We listen to a wide range of music but we never try to take from other artists. We try to play whatever direction our emotions lead us. Some of our favorite bands include but not limited to are Avenged Sevenfold, U2, Ghost, Fear Factory, Poison The Well, All That Remains, Deftones, the list could go on for days!
What is the band’s approach to songwriting?
We try to listen to our emotions and reflect them in our music. We want to make music that can unite individuals who would otherwise remain separated.
Music has moved toward a digital sound but when you programme music instead of playing your instruments, you lose the emotion that made the music great before. We want to stay true in our song writing by playing our instruments in the studio and by not auto tuning our vocals.
Live, we actually play our instruments and sing instead of lip synching, which most mainstream music does now. They auto tune and programme their tracks because they can’t really sing and play.
Where does the inspiration come from for your lyrics?
Each song has a different message but all have a poignant life lesson. We write about the unmitigated truths about being alive. We try to come up with a simple singular idea to start off with. It helps set the tone for the whole process, and gives a default emotion to build each instrument around.
As the song takes shape, the lyrics start to form. First, we come up with melodies and one liners, then more poignant phrases and hooks come into play. Sometimes, one of the writers already has some riffs or some poetry to set the pace. Sometimes, it’s just a statement we want to reflect though our music. We try to follow our emotions during the writing process.
Last year, the band released a single. How did it go for you?
We recorded at the award-winning Spider Studios in Ohio, and we released it with a theatrical music video and distributed it on Spotify, iTunes, and more.
We learned a lot and found some new allies for promotion and distributions this time around and really boosted our stats for 2016.
We hope to grow even more in 2017 with the edition of some new ideas, opportunities, and friends.
You have an EP coming out soon. How is that going?
We’ve had these songs for a while and had plans to record them a few years ago, but we had issues with keeping a second guitar player and went in a different direction.
Now that the role is filled, we revisited these songs and sent the tracks to a producer in Mexico, who is in the process of mixing and mastering our tracks for the songs ‘Baptism By Fire’ and ‘Shred The Memory’, which will make up our next EP.
What is the band’s experiences of playing live?
There is nothing like playing music for people who love music. You get to satisfy a need by expressing your artist emotions. Being on stage is exhilarating, there is so more energy being exuded, especially if the crowd is into your music, it’s like you feed off of their reactions.
Before and after the show, meeting people and making friends is very rewarding, and those people are the reason any musician gets to play a show in the first place. If you’re out on the road, you have to make friends, as those are the people who come back to see you when you come back through their area. Trying new food and beer is a great perk of playing shows.
Getting to hear new music from other artists from different places and backgrounds is very awesome. We live, support, and grow up in our music scenes and for us, it is very special to be able to become a part of so many different ones.
What have you got lined up in the near future?
We actually have a pretty busy year ahead of us. We will be releasing a new EP soon and we will be recording a video for our lead track.
We have a tour booked for March, and we might also be going to Mexico for a few shows and recording later on in the year.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
We want to further ourselves as musicians, and we want to be able to keep expanding our brand.
We plan on playing 75+ shows a year and touring in different regions of the United States and even start to venture into other countries like Canada and Mexico.
We plan on releasing a few small EPs a year or one full album, and we will make cool music videos for our main singles.
We will also make merchandise for each tour and/or music releases, promote and distribute our brand and keep pushing forward.
Music is our lives and we don’t plan on quitting anytime soon.
THE NEW EP FROM DIVIDED WE STAND WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS YEAR.
THE BAND WILL BE ALSO ON TOUR IN MARCH.
FOR MORE INFO, GO TO:
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.dividedwestand.ninja/