It was with great pleasure that I got the opportunity to have a chat with three fifths of Exeter rockers, I Divide, before their show with The Dirty Youth back in October. Standing in a freezing car park next to a dodgy looking church, Josh (guitar), Henry (guitar) and Kristen (bass) waxed lyrical about festivals, social media and what their plans are for world domination. Or something like that … enjoy!
How did you enjoy your appearance at the recent alcohol and drug-free Butserfest?
Josh: Yeah, it was awesome. We’d never been there before so we didn’t really know what to expect – I’d seen some stuff online but yes, we really enjoyed the set and it was a good crowd. We hadn’t played for a few weeks, so it was just nice to get back on stage and play a show.
You also did an acoustic set, which was awesome and one of the best sets of the day. How was it for you?
Josh: It was cool. Although we’ve done some acoustic sets before, we never really done one in front of a live audience as it’s normally for radio or for a video interview. To do it in front of a little audience was really nice!
Henry: I didn’t expect there to be that many people there, really. Walking outside and seeing the queue and realising they were for us …
Awesome. So, you’ve been supporting the Dirty Youth on their UK tour, has it been enjoyable?
Henry: We get on with them really well, we’ve had a few messy nights out with them but it’s been a really fun tour over quite a lot of dates. You get a mix of tours where some you only do a handful of dates across bigger cities, but it’s nice to actually go to a few more places on this one. We’re covering the span of the UK, we went up to Aberdeen …
I’ve heard that the Scots like to party …
Henry: We love the Scots!
Josh: They’re amazing!
You’ve had a pretty good year, really – you’ve toured with some big names and you’ve done Takedown and Butserfest … what’s been the highlight so far for you?
Henry: Belgium was pretty cool, we played a festival over there with some awesome bands like Heart in Hand, Anavae, Carcer City …
Josh: Loads of British bands! We got to play with some big American bands over there as well though.
Henry: We haven’t done a lot of European touring, so it was nice to go over there and play to a big crowd.
Your debut album, ‘Last One Standing’ is excellent. Have you had positive feedback?
Henry: Thank you! Yes, we’ve had loads of good feedback so far.
You released an EP before that, there was a bit of a gap in between the two?
Josh: Yes, not quite two years in between them. We released ‘What’s Worth More’ in 2012, it was nine tracks, seven ‘proper’ songs and two instrumentals. A few of us played in a band before and some songs on that CD were written before we really, properly formed I Divide. What we began with was to get some music out there and some songs to play live, whereas ‘Last One Standing’ was us sitting down and writing an album, recording it together and that was the one we wanted as our debut album. To answer your question, the reaction has been wicked and we’ve had some really good reviews for it. It did really well in the iTunes chart.
Henry: We didn’t expect that, really. We weren’t sure what to expect!
What’s your favourite track to play off of the album?
Kristen: I like ‘Tell Me Something’.
Henry: I really like ‘Tell Me Something’ as well.
Josh: I really like quite a few to play live – ‘Runaway’, we’ve been playing that for quite some time, as we wrote it quite early on. It’s a really bouncy song, really energetic, it’s the one that makes me sweat the most! I really like playing all the songs off the album. ‘Monster In Me’ is a bouncy one and ‘I’m Not Leaving’ is a good one to jump to.
Kristen: It’s been good this tour – we’ve got a whole new set and everyone’s singing along, they know the words.
(At this point Kristen is stretching like a pro-athlete in the car park and it’s clear that they take this VERY seriously …)
Josh: When you play a load of live shows in a row, we always warm up anyway but …
Henry: The last few nights I haven’t warmed up and I regret it quite a bit now.
Kristen: We’re getting older now, as well.
Oh, come on – you’re only 23! Anyway, moving swiftly on to a boring question, who are your biggest musical influences when you write and who does most of the writing?
Henry: I would say Josh, mainly. He writes a lot of the lyrics and the music. I just kind of come along and get my guitar and start writing lead stuff.
Josh: I’m not the best guitarist in the world, but I love song-writing. I’ll sit down and write the rhythm, the lyrics and the melody – obviously I’ll get Tom involved for the melodies and the lyrics, then we’ll grab these guys and get the instrumental stuff put in.
You put a lot of pictures up on Facebook and you use twitter too, do you tend to interact with your fans a lot, or do you not really bother? You seem to be quite sociable and open to people.
Josh: We try and put a lot of effort in to talk to our fans. We do a lot of stuff on social media and spend a lot of time trying to write back whenever people tweet us and message us, to make sure people’s questions are answered and they feel like they have that interaction with the band. I’ve been speaking to a lot of people tonight who can’t believe that we message them back! Obviously it’s getting harder and harder as we progress as a band and we get more and more messages. We were just chatting to some guys at the bar, one’s been a fan of the band for ages and wanted to buy us a drink and every night that we play a show we always go down and just talk to everyone, take photos with everyone and get involved and make sure that everyone who wants to meet us at a show can definitely meet us; we don’t ever want anyone to go away and say that they didn’t get the chance.
Well, that’s going to get harder as your popularity increases! Let me throw in a question to mix things up a bit. Who’s the biggest pain in the arse on tour?!
Josh: Henry’s the biggest drinker. We went out in Sheffield the other night and Henry got himself into a bit of a state where he couldn’t really stand up and we had to carry him halfway across Sheffield to get him back! He then decided to sleep on the floor of the van.
Henry: It was £2.50 for triple vodka and cokes with free shots and the Jagerbombs were £1.00.
Kristen: To be fair, we were all sick that night …
That brings me neatly to the next question. What are the best and worst aspects of what you do?
Henry: It’s great to get out and meet people, to have connections with the music and stuff. It’s an honour. We had fans who came from Cornwall going up to Aberdeen to see us and they spent two days travelling. Sometimes people don’t understand how much it means to us to see people from home when you’re this far away.
Josh: One girl has travelled from Paris today to see us, she flew in to London and got a train down here. We were like, we had better play well! There aren’t many bad aspects to it though, apart from missing home, that’s the only difficult thing. When we were away in Belgium I had some family stuff going on and I found that quite difficult. Being away from my girlfriend is always hard.
You’re playing the Zombie Ball at Halloween – what does it mean to you to be playing alongside bands such as Skindred and Glamour Of The Kill?
Josh: Skindred are getting so big now, it’s ridiculous. It’s going to be sick, we’re really looking forward to that show. We’ve always loved playing shows on Halloween because it gives us an excuse to dress up as absolute idiots and Skindred are one of my favourite bands to watch live. I got given a ticket to see them down in Exeter and now I’ve seen them about ten times.
So what’s next and what’s your long-term plan for the band?
Kristen: Just getting our name out there, and to start writing for the next album.
Any festivals lined up for next year?
Josh: That’s kind of where we are – at this point in time, over the next few months we’ll be looking to get festivals. I was saying to Kristen earlier that next year is just going to be the year where we do try and get on to every festival going. We’re obviously going to be thinking about album number two and doing bits and pieces for that, but we’ll be touring as much as we possibly can and just keeping busy.
Do you have any longer-term goals or ambitions that you want to cross off of your lists, or do you take things as they come and enjoy it?
Josh: We all want to travel the world with the band – if we can get to the stage where we get enough international followers to make it worthwhile enough for us to fly around and see the world doing this, we would be happy.
Henry: If we make it as far as Australia that would be awesome.
Indeed, it would. Finally, a question I should have asked at the start – how did you arrive at the name I Divide?
Henry: We get asked that loads, but there is no answer – we need to make one up.
Kristen: We need some kind of epic story …
Josh: It’s lyrics from a Brand New song, actually. We came to the decision because we all came up with about thirty or forty names each that we thought were good, put them into a massive list and took it in turns to cross names off. We wanted something short and snappy that didn’t really mean much else that people would quickly associate the words with us. We really need to make up a better answer for this question!
Well, I had a blast chatting to these guys and although they’re not currently touring as such, they have just announced a show on 28th November at the Zombie Hut in Corby – check their Facebook page for more details and tickets. You can also buy a physical copy of their album from the usual outlets, or online at iTunes.
Check out the videos for ‘I’m Not Leaving’ and ‘Follow Me’ here –