DIVENIRE (from l-r): Charlie Carter (drums), Dom Morgan (vocals/rhythm guitar), Josh Holmes (lead guitar), Steve James (bass)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Divenire, an indie/alternative rock four-piece from Stoke-on-Trent may only have formed last autumn, but already, they have attracted much interest on their local music scene.
Having all been friends since school, the quartet have a great rapport between them, which is clearly evident in both their big sounding music and live performances.
It’s still relatively early days for them, but with frontman Dom Morgan having been an acclaimed singer-songwriter, and lead guitarist Josh Holmes having previously played bass for fellow Potteries outfit Arcadia, they have talent and ambition in abundance.
After playing at the Lymelight festival in Newcastle-under-Lyme, I chatted to them about what lies ahead.
How did the band get together initially?
DOM MORGAN (vocals/rhythm guitar): It’s a long story, but we’ve been friends for a long time, since high school, which is about eight years now.
We formed as a band for a school concert, I think that was in 2011, but then we parted ways and did our own different things over the years, and then it’s only been recently, it will be a year this September, that we actually got together as Divenire.
Where did the name Divenire originate from?
DOM: That’s a funny story, actually. We were listening to iTunes on a shuffle playlist, and we’d just come back from getting a takeaway…
CHARLIE CARTER (drums): Yeah, it is a very funny story. Like Dom’s said, we were listening to iTunes and we were also trying to come up with a name for the band, so we put the playlist on shuffle to see if we could get any ideas.
A song came on, and we saw that the title of it was ‘Divenire’. It was basically an old Italian orchestral piece, I think it had been used on an advert, and I said to the others that it would be a good name to use. We found out later that the name was actually Italian for “to become”.
In your own words, how would you describe your sound?
CHARLIE: I don’t think we really have a set sound at the moment.
DOM: I think the best way to describe it would be indie/alternative rock, basically.
CHARLIE: We tend to write big songs, songs with a big feel to them.
DOM: Yeah. It doesn’t necessarily matter too much about how the sound is, as long as we enjoy playing the songs that we write, like, there’s some songs of ours that are rather soft and mellow, and others that are dead upbeat, which have kind of a pop-punk vibe to them, like ‘Caravan’ and our new song.
We’ve only had a few months to mould our sound. Maybe in a few more months, it might change, but at the moment, we’re quite happy with what we are writing and how it is sounding, so we’ll see how it goes.
Which bands/artists serve as inspiration for you?
CHARLIE: I would like to think lyrically, we are inspired by Biffy Clyro.
DOM: Also, to make big sounding songs, we take inspiration from Catfish and the Bottlemen, because they tend to play big, stadium arena-like songs. Yeah, we kind of have that vibe to us, but we all have different musical tastes, like I’m heavily influenced by, and I’m sure Charlie is as well, Biffy Clyro, Stephen idolises Ed Sheeran…
STEVE JAMES (bass): I’m in love with him.
DOM (laughs): Yeah. What about you, Charlie?
CHARLIE: I don’t know where my influences come from. I like writing the songs with us. I get influenced when I get motivated, when I hear you guys play chords, and I will just say: “I can hear something, I want to put that to it.” Just hearing you guys play something and being able to build it up from that…
DOM: So you’re saying you’re influenced by Divenire. (laughs) What about you, Josh?
JOSH HOLMES (lead guitar): I have no idea.
DOM: Have you ever heard of a band called The Hunna? We supported them at The Sugarmill in Hanley towards the end of last year, and some of their songs are quite similar to what we’re trying to do, especially our new song.
We wouldn’t class ourselves as being in the same genre as them, it’s just a coincidence that our new song sounds like The Hunna, well, it doesn’t sound like them, but it has a similar vibe.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
STEVE: Everyone grabs an instrument, sees what they can come up with, and if we like it, we’ll go back and see what bits we can make a little bit better, tighten it up, see if we can add some more dynamic in certain places.
Most of the time, when we first start though, it’s just a case of hit the drums, play a few riffs, stuff like that.
JOSH: We were jamming one time, and me and Charlie were, I was playing the first two chords of an intro, then Charlie started playing, and then, Dom, you were out getting something, weren’t you?
DOM: Yeah, I was out.
JOSH: By the time Dom came back, we’d got this riff going, we showed it to him, and…
DOM: Yeah, like Charlie was saying earlier, when you hear your bandmates playing, you usually go: “I can hear something there“, so as soon as Josh and Charlie started playing the intro, I got my guitar and I was like: “I’m going to play in a different tune, because I know exactly what to do“.
I tuned the guitar and started playing the two chords. It was exactly the same as what we had got, but it worked with Josh’s harmony, and we wrote ‘Caravan’ there and then, didn’t we?
With the lyrics, sometimes I will take the song away, record it onto my phone and then I will sit there and listen to it, coming up with lyrics as I’m listening back to the tune. Sometimes, Charlie will help.
CHARLIE: Well, he’ll write the lyrics, show them to me, and I’ll then do a bit of editing.
DOM: Yeah, Charlie’s the editor. He’ll sometimes change the words, they’ll still mean the same, but with better pronouncation.
CHARLIE: To better go with the way he sings, things like that.
DOM: We’ll all help each other. If Steve wants to have a bass riff in a song, we’ll ask him to make something up and then we’ll see. If he’s struggling, then we’ll help him. The same goes for Josh, and if I’m struggling to find chords, Josh will show me where his chords are, so I will know what to do, and that’s how we will basically write our songs.
CHARLIE: It’s just a big team effort.
How well do you think the reaction has been to your music up to now?
JOSH: It’s actually been better than we expected. We’re now getting lots of people from different countries messaging us on social media.
STEVE: It’s cool to see people from places like Russia and Mexico liking our music.
JOSH: We got a message the other day from a Belgian man who said he liked us and had even bought some of our songs online.
DOM: So you know, it’s really nice to see that. Also with the local scene, it’s nice to, because we’re a relatively new band, we try and do as many gigs as we can to try and build up a fan base.
We’ve gigged a lot with Bonsai, and because they’re nice lads, when we play with them, we get a big crowd. We don’t try to nick their fans, but if they like Bonsai’s music and they like us as well, then that’s a bonus, isn’t it?
So gigging locally, we’re trying to get as many people as we can to like our songs and come down and see us.
CHARLIE: We’re headlining The Sugarmill in June, so we want to get some fresh material for that, as people are only coming to see us, and most of them have seen us before.
You were talking about your local music just then. What is your current opinion of it?
DOM: To be fair, when we first started looking at the local music scene, we were around thirteen, fifteen, it was a lot different to what it is now. Back then, it was very heavy metal oriented.
Literally, you would go and see a band that you friends were playing in, and at the end, it would be like: “See you next week!” But now, the scene’s huge. There are so many bands in Stoke that are indie rock, alternative, you know, that sometimes it’s hard to keep track of who’s playing, where they’re playing, what’s going on with them.
I think that’s why the Lymelight festival is good, in that they have brought all the local acts together, it’s really nice.
How, for the band, is the experience of playing live?
CHARLIE: It’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else. It’s amazing and it’s great to see a crowd get involved. When that happens, the feeling you get is of amazement.
JOSH: When we last played at The Sugarmill, we had people climbing up on stage with us.
DOM: Yeah, we had a stage invasion. Playing live, for me, I can get into the zone, close my eyes and go all out, moving around the stage and stuff. I am really happy to play on a stage with my best mates, especially when the chemistry between us all is just spot on. That’s why we’re in a band.
Aside from headlining The Sugarmill in June, what does the band have planned for the near future?
DOM: A song release and hopefully a music video to go with that. We’re also playing an acoustic festival in The Roebuck in Leek.
JOSH: Yeah, there’s a stage there at the back, and it gets so busy.
DOM: It’s in the summertime, and it’s also a beer festival.
JOSH: It’s good fun.
DOM: We’re good friends with The Roebuck’s landlord, so we’ll get some drinks down us and it should be a good time. Other than that gig wise, we’re not playing anywhere locally for a while once the headliner is out of the way.
CHARLIE: We want a break from gigging, so we can do more songwriting.
DOM: I think since last September, we have done a good ten to fifteen gigs, and that’s been in the last seven, eight months. Before Divenire, I was a solo singer-songwriter, and I would often do that amount of gigs in an entire year.
Of course we want to do more gigs, but at the moment, we need to take some time out from doing that.
Will you be planning on bringing an EP or album out at all?
JOSH: No, not at the moment. We’re just going to focus on writing a load of music and releasing them individually. We were going to do an EP, but we feel that it would be forced.
DOM: We want to make ourselves more established before we do anything like that.
CHARLIE: We need to find our sound more as well.
DOM: Yeah, and because our fan base is rather small at the moment, we do have dedicated fans who come to our gigs, which is brilliant, but we’d like to have an EP that would be worth actually getting out and selling to loads of people.
At the moment, we just need to focus on writing some really good songs and releasing them as singles, but when we get to do something like a mini tour and reach that threshold of getting great crowds, that’s when we’ll be releasing an EP.
MORE INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND AT THESE SITES:
AND DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THEIR MUSIC ON SPOTIFY, iTunes, SOUNDCLOUD, DEEZER AND MORE.