The New Division first caught our ears with their dark, snaking, melancholic beast of a song, Opium, which, in a nice twist, turned out to be like, oh so tasty™ , audio smack squirted straight into the ear canal (see above for said ‘audio smack’). They were kind enough to answer a few questions about their upcoming Lp, the Cali music scene and how it all begun so get comfy, grab your mug of tea and read on:
Hey New Division, starting at the start who are you and how did you begin?
We are John (vocals/songwriting), Brock (guitars), Mark (synths), and Janzie (synth/sequencer). We started about 4 or 5 years ago in John’s apartment at California Baptist University. John was writing a lot of songs and needed a name for the project and drew on the two main influences on him at that time, Joy Division and New Order. About a year after that we added Janzie, then Brock a little later, and finally Mark. We’ve held that line up for a little over two years now.
On the creative side who does what in the group? Is there one of you who does most of the writing or is it a fully collaborative effort?
It’s mostly John. He’s a massive song writer, coming up with several songs a week. He never stops writing really. We usually take all that material and sift through it as a band, finding songs that connect with each of us and that we feel are best for our sound. We do some collaboration, especially for the guitar parts, but it really is mostly driven by John’s writing. After the writing, we take the tracks out and sequence them for the live show, that is where a lot of the inter-mixing of sounds and styles take place when the rest of the band can really take the song and make it our own.
The Lp, Shadows, is dropping soon and, being lucky enough to have had a preview, I have to say the whole thing is very solid but are there any songs on there you guys were like ‘this is the one’ when you were recording?
Well, yeah. I mean as you work on something like that you’re always gonna connect with something really strongly and be like “this is the best track!” Each of the members would probably give a slightly different answer, too. Opium is definitely one that we would all agree stood out right from the beginning. It really captures the whole spirt of this album; dark, sorta contemplative, very nostalgic. When the whole band heard that one, we knew it was the single, for sure!
Who/ what are your main creative inspirations?
Musically, definitely whatever was being made in the 80s electronically is a huge source of inspiration. Also a lot of modern-day electronic music artists/producers like Royksopp, Gareth Emery, etc. Outside of music however, probably just the need to write in itself is a source of inspiration. It’s a therapuetic process of releasing whatever’s built up inside, whether good or bad.
Do you feel like part of any particular music ‘scene’ out in Cali and are there any other local bands you feel we should check out?
Honestly, Southern California seems to have a very disperse musical scene, with bands from many different genres all doing their own thing. We can’t say there are any local bands that we know of that we’d highly recommend. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any good ones, we just don’t know of them yet. The only one that comes to mind is Francisco the Man, but they’re in a different genre category, more shoegazey, guitar oriented. Our guitarist, Brock, actually plays with them
(Lot’s more after the jump!)
Typically though, the best bands seem to come from other cities outside the state. LA isn’t really exploding with local talent, it’s more of a city where huge acts come through and leave the next day. Do we wish there was a scene around here? Probably, but I suppose when you live in the entertainment capital of the world, it’s hard to get your name out there. Most “LA” bands don’t live in LA. Out here you’re a dime a dozen. Everyone seems to be in a band of some sort.
On a topical note, being summer and all, what song do you blast when the sun’s out?
One personal favorite (Janzie) is “Age of Consent” by New Order, that one and some of the Chris O’Reily piano transcriptions of Radio Head really complete the season for me. John mentioned “Heart In Your Heartbreak” by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and Arty’s “Around the World.”
When you write your songs do you have any particular scene in mind? E.g do you, like I know some bands do, write your songs thinking ‘this will be a great driving/summer/club/chilling track?
Sometimes that’s the case when we write dancier stuff. Our goal is really to get into the club scene eventually. I think those are the most fun shows to play. I think our style still has a long way to go before it gets any acceptance in that scene, but we are starting to write more with the idea in mind that we’d love to get people dancing at a decent tempo. That becomes difficult when you think about the slower songs we do, which we really enjoy, such as “Starfield” and “Devotion.” We don’t want to become completely one thing or the other, but we definitely want to introduce New Division into the club scene somehow.
Cheers for all your help, last of all, what are your plans for the rest of 2011 and when can we expect to see you over here in the Uk?
2011 will be the year we begin promoting “Shadows,” our latest LP. Our goal is to get this record out there, for the masses to listen to. We believe its our best work yet, and it’s a reflection of what’s to come. As for coming out to the UK, we really have no idea at this point, but let’s just say this: If we could be there now, we would.