It’s a Sunday night, and George has the chance to sit down and chat to North-East upstarts This Is Divine; they talk about the competition that could see them play Download Festival this year, share details of an upcoming new EP, give their opinions on screamo-crunk, and drummer Jamie talks about his very powerful Zapdos. Seriously, it’s level 73.
George: Can you say your names, and what you do in the band?
Ronnie: I’m Ronnie, I play guitar.
Chris: I’m Chris, I’m on vocals.
Robbie: I’m Robbie, I play guitar too.
Jamie: I’m Jamie, I play drums, and I’m Chris H, and I play bass. [laughs]
George: For those unfamiliar, can you describe your sound, and a bit of history?
Robbie: Without using the A-word?
Ronnie: We’re kinda like Solid State sound, heavily influenced by big heavy American Christian bands, without being personally remotely Christian.
Jamie: It’s post-metalcore. In a nutshell.
Robbie: Which we coined ourselves.
Ronnie: So the answer you’re looking for, is post-metalcore.
George: That comes to my next question, what is post-metalcore?
Robbie: Solid State. [laughs]
Ronnie: It’s like the Solid State sound, played by big American Christian bands.
Robbie: Do we have a bit more tech or a bit less tech?
Ronnie: And we’re kind of influenced by some Brighton metal bands that have a techy edge. [laughs]
Jamie: Most of our stuff sounds a little nu-metal, ’cause Ronnie’s a little nu-metal geek, and that’s where all our riffs come from.
Ronnie: Basically, it’s post-metalcore.
Robbie: Post-metalcore is post-metalcore? [laughs]
Ronnie: It’s metalcore but it’s post.
Jamie: Still Remains. Post them!
Chris: Still Remains are fucking class.
Jamie: We’re Still Remains-squared! Cubed!
Ronnie: I dunno, basically it derived from a lot of people calling us metalcore, and a lot of people calling us post-hardcore, so we threw the two together. There’s a lot of old post-hardcore.
Chris: Are you trying to say that we made it up?
Jamie: We did make it up!
Robbie: We can be that arrogant and say we invented a genre.
Ronnie: We didn’t invent a genre, we just coined a name. We didn’t invent it, we just named it. We never claim to be anything ground breaking or new.
George: You recently did a live stream for Red Bull Bedroom Jam, can you tell us a bit about it?
Robbie: It was surreal. It was really, really good, we turned up at Ronnie’s house, I got there last because I couldn’t get the day off work. It started, on my birthday we uploaded the Dear Armourer video.
Ronnie: We uploaded the video to the Red Bull site, and initially, the idea was to stay in the top ten of the Buzz Chart, because obviously when everybody logs in, they see your name. When everybody logs in, they’d see This Is Divine on the chart, and that’d get us exposure. It was initially a way of getting a bit of new exposure, and new people checking out the band and stuff, but gradually we climbed up until we got to number four or number three, and then we decided to take it a bit more seriously, and promote it, and then we got to number one within a week, and we got to the live show and it was weird, two camera vans at my house, and my tiny bedroom.
Robbie: It was surreal. I’ve been in Ronnie’s bedroom many times. [laughs] For different purposes, you walked in and it was like a porn-shoot. Big red bulbs and really expensive cameras which was nice.
Ronnie: Yeah, just camera crews, and camera vans, and cameras.
Robbie: And can I take this moment to mention how ridiculously professional they were, really good at their jobs.
Ronnie: They were stupidly polite, as well.
Chris: And Ronnie’s mam put on a spread!
Ronnie: Aye, my mam put on a buffet, and Robbie brought some of the buffet, but that was so he could eat it himself, because he’s getting a little bit fat.
George: Did it feel strange playing in a bedroom to a camera instead of people?
Ronnie: Yeah, definitely.
Robbie: I’m going to say no, having played a venue called Rock-It Club in Bridlington, which is the size of a tiny bedroom.
Ronnie: It wasn’t weird size wise, because we’ve played venues that small before, we’ve played stages that small, but the fact that there was no-one there, was just weird.
Chris: I don’t think the live show itself was weird, I think it was the camera crews and stuff that were weird.
Robbie: …and then seeing Lacuna Coil on a TV screen. [laughs]
George: So, you ended up winning that, and now you’re through to the festival stage?
Ronnie: Yep! That basically means that people can vote for our live show, and our video still, and all the votes count, and basically now we’ve got a 50:50 chance of playing Download, T In The Park, Underage Fest, and possibly Leeds, but we don’t know what the score is with that one yet. So it’s really cool.
Jamie: [strangely fast] redbullbedroomjam.com!
Ronnie: Previous live shows, This Is Divine.
George: What would that mean to you guys to win that and get to play these festivals?
Ronnie: It’d be ridiculous! I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet.
Robbie: The thing is, I don’t think it’ll have a chance to sink in, because it’s only announced four days before download. It’s only gonna get worse over the next twelve weeks, and then the day’s gonna come, and when you do get it, you’ve got four days to be ridiculously excited about it! So between now, and the 7th of June, if everybody that likes us or wants to support a North-East band, and every vote everyday counts, so vote for us!
Ronnie: It’s still a little bit surreal in the sense that we might end up doing it, and I dunno, the whole live show in the bedroom was over so fast, we didn’t get a chance to really sink it in.
Chris: I remember asking you before, “Are you going to Download this year?” Now, we’ve actually got a chance of playing it!
Ronnie: It makes that question no different at all! [laughs]
George: You’re releasing another EP soon, can you tell us a bit about that?
Ronnie: Yep, we have finished, I can tell you officially right now, we have finished the drums, the guitars – my guitars, and bass.
Robbie: I feel cut out! [laughs]
Ronnie: We’ve finished my guitar tracks, the drums, and the bass tracks, for the new EP which will be called These Human Ruins.
Robbie: Shall we give him the little story about recording in the worlds most mobile recording studio?
Ronnie: Yeah, we did the drums in the same place we did Broadcast, but it sounds a million times better. We did the guitar tracks in Wickham View, which will make no sense to anyone reading this.
Robbie: Which is about 15 miles from where the drums were recorded.
Ronnie: That was in a full protools HD studio, then we recorded the bass in our practice room in Byker…
Robbie: Which is another ten miles away. So far, we’ve probably spread it out.
Jamie: And all the sessions were done in one day, in hours time, really!
Ronnie: I think we thought it’d take longer to do really, but it hasn’t, we’re almost finished!
Robbie: We’ve been very resourceful.
Jamie: And, two days today, it should be mostly done!
Ronnie: Robbie’s guitar tracks next, then vocals, hopefully in the same day, but maybe not on the same day. Then that’s it, it just needs to be mixed, and sent out. Hopefully people will have it in their hands by May.
Jamie: That’s not a release date, that’s hoping.
George: Are you doing anything special for it?
Ronnie: For the EP release? I don’t know, we haven’t talked about it yet.
Jamie: We are planning something, we just haven’t discussed what it is yet. [laughs]
Robbie: We should do a Bedroom Jam 2: Release Party.
Ronnie: Except a practice room jam!
Jamie: Hey, that’d be good!
Ronnie: I can’t have loads of people in my house. Two people could fit in the doorway, and the rest would only be able to hear the drums.
Jamie: Think a million people could fit in our practice room?
Robbie: That’s a good idea, we should do that!
Ronnie: Short answer to that question is, we haven’t really discussed it in depth yet, but there will be something.
George: Dear Armourer is fast becoming “that song” that people associate with you…
Chris: Not enough people! [laughs]
George: Is it nice to be recognised for that?
Ronnie: Yes, and no, because we don’t want it to burn out too quickly in a sense, but yes because it’s happened quicker than we thought it would.
Robbie: Yes, because it’s great!
Ronnie: In my opinion though, the title track from These Human Ruins; These Human Ruins, is gonna be better, but that’s the next song we’re going to be doing a video for. It’s going to be better than the Dear Armourer video, which people seem to like!
Jamie: Which is on Red Bull! Also on Youtube. High quality version…
Ronnie: Along with all of our shitty antics!
Jamie: Lots of blogs of shit crack.
George: Being an upcoming UK band, and still playing relatively local, can you tell us who are your favourite UK, and local bands?
Chris: I just wanna say, right…I really like The Fray! The Fray are one of my favourite bands!
[Everybody else laughs]
Robbie: You know who I really like, and I’m gonna use this oppurtunity to plug? The Blitz Kids! They were on the Red Bull bedroom jam, and they won a week, but it turned out they didn’t have anyone under 19, but I thought they were absolutely mint. Fantastic! We Are Knuckledragger, a Newcastle band who are amazing, ex members of Yourcodenameis:Milo and all sorts of stuff.
Ronnie: Other local bands would be XisForEyes, In Oceans, and Arcite mainly. Definitely.
Robbie: Also Shadows Chasing Ghosts!
Ronnie: Shadows Chasing Ghosts. They’re great.
Chris: I’m not a fan.
Ronnie: We love Shadows Chasing Ghosts.
George: What do you think of the local scene in the North-East at the moment?
Ronnie: It’s terrible.
Robbie: It’s not, this gig tonight is going to prove that we still have a local music scene.
Ronnie: The thing about the Newcastle scene is, it’s got a lot of amazing bands in it, but it’s so under-appreciated. The younger kids don’t seem to be getting into it, with the local bands. They’re more likely to go and see big bands, and now because no-one uses MySpace anymore, it’s really hard to appeal to them. The good thing about Myspace was you can just look through everyone’s friends and stuff, but if it’s Facebook like we’re on now, it’s absolutely solid to get across without physically going out and punching kids in the face and stuff. Which is heavily frowned upon, but it does work.
Jamie: Kids will go to a gig, like, Bring Me The Horizon or whatever, and there’ll be thousands of little scene kids, and none of them turn up here!
Robbie: Here’s what sums it up, and George you were there, when we played with BrokeNCYDE. BrokeNCYDE who are technically the worst band in the world, by the way. All the kids were there, that was in Sunderland, and there’s no kids in Sunderland, they all came out of the woodwork to see this absolutely appauling kareoke band, and we played, kids were like, “You were great!” and we were like “Check us out on MySpace, see when we play next” and then, nothing happens. We got an awesome review from that show, and then nothing happens off the back of it. Because we’re not on MTV… Yet.
Ronnie: I think that’s basically what I was saying, there’s so many really good bands and the kids don’t seem to be interested in local music anymore.
George: Kids all just flock to the Academy.
Robbie: That’s a good point because we’re playing a show in June with Shadows Chasing Ghosts there on the 8th. The day after we find out about Download, so we coud be buzzing, but yeah, there’s a guest co-headline that hasn’t been announced yet for that. The thing is, Shadows will pull the kids, and it’s great that they do that, because they’re really good, but that other band, should really be pulling a lot more, and the thing is that if they do pull people, they’re the people that should like us because we’re quite similar to that band, I’d say. And hopefully, that’s the point where we can say, “Right, we’re playing Download in three days time, we’re all over hopefully Kerrang! by then, and we’re playing with this amazing band that you love, get into us, we’re on your fucking doorstep!” I hope when it’s announced, all the kids look them up and realise how amazing they are.
Ronnie: It’s going back to that, back in the day you had bands like The NX (Noise Explosion), and they were huge, and all of the local kids knew who they were and all of the local kids were interested, but we were the local kids then, and now just don’t pick up on stuff and check bands out. If you’re not on Kerrang!, then you’re nothing, really. If they look for it, they will find it.
Robbie: We shove it down their throats, they don’t have to look!
George: That’s why I like Men Of The Cloth (local music promoter) gigs, because they always put on local bands with big bands!
Robbie: That’s always been their mission statement, to give local bands a chance to play with touring bands of good quality, that are in a similar genre to them. They put us on with The Arusha Accord.
Ronnie: There you go, going back to your original question of UK bands, The Arusha Accord, ridiculously good. Men Of The Cloth got us on that, and what else are we playing? Viatrophy’s last ever tour, we’re on that.
Chris: Postmortem Promises.
Ronnie: Postmortem Promises, who were pretty sweet. Being unsigned has its benefits, like we don’t go through anyone, we’re totally independent with the decisions we make and what we do with ourselves, but on the downsides, magazines and stuff when you’re trying to get promotion, just see that we’re an unsigned band without any sort of agency or a label.
Robbie: There might be something coming that will change that, but we’ll see.
George: You’ve supported some very varied bands in the past year, such as like you said, The Arusha Accord, Yashin, Shadows Chasing Ghosts, Exit Ten… BrokeNCYDE…
Robbie: Definitely varied!
George: What was your favourite to play, and why?
Ronnie: BrokeNCYDE, because they’re amazing.
[Everyone bursts into laughter once more]
Ronnie: I dunno, for me personally, the Yashin gig in November was my favourite, because it was just really good.
Robbie: You know what it was, that was the first time we’d played the Academy, and people knew Dear Armourer, and that was a big buzz. What I liked was the tour we did last year with Shadows Chasing Ghosts, where we cracked out Dear Armourer, and we took it to people, and they just did not know what was going on with the “my name is Apollo” gang chant, you could see people going “What the fuck?”.
Jamie: The Yashin one was great, me personally I absolutely loved playing with The Arusha Accord, and let’s not forget that was A Textbook Tragedy, and Ghosts On Pegasus Bridge.
Robbie: I enjoyed the last time we played the Head Of Steam, there was over ninety people here. Ninety people paid to get in, and that was a massive boost.
George: What do you think of screamo-crunk as a whole?
Chris: Love it.
Ronnie: I’ll answer that question with a question; do you wanna get freaky? Right now.
George: Let’s get fucking freaky, now.
Jamie: I’ll answer it with a quote from the great men themselves, “One, Two, We’re coming for you, Three, Four, Lock your door, Five, Six, Suck on my dick, BrokeNCYDE will never die!” Until someone in prison rapes them to death. [laughs]
Ronnie: This is the band that infront of a crowd that mostly consisted of fourteen year old girls, said “You know what I fucking love about the UK? How sexy all you bitches are!” [laughs]
Jamie: Wasn’t that just before they played ‘you make my peepee hard’? That’s my favourite song off their album.
Ronnie: The other thing that was just ridiculous, I’m not shocked by a lot of things, but when he was asking again, fourteen year old kids, if they wanted to go and smoke dope with him later, I was like, “What?!”
Jamie: But to answer the original question, no, crunk, screamo, is the worst form of music ever.
George: I’m not opposed to a bit of 3OH!3.
Chris: I like 3OH!3!
Robbie: Original 3OH!3, before Katy Perry happened!
Ronnie: The difference between them and BrokeNCYDE is, they write catchy songs, and BrokeNCYDE write shit! It’s shit, and also, 3OH!3 wouldn’t go on tour and leave a member at home. We’re not into it.
George: So, what do you aspire to achieve with This Is Divine?
Ronnie: Play Download.
Jamie: Anything we can.
Ronnie: Sky is the limit. We’ve always said from the start.
Chris: We should play on an aeroplane.
Ronnie: Since we released Broadcast, and toured, met loads of nice people, we’ve always said the sky’s the limit.
Chris: Tour as far as we can, and enjoy it, really!
Robbie: If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen this year.
Jamie: Or next year. Or after!
Robbie: This year, before I die.
Ronnie: We wanna take it as far as we can go, before one of us is killed in a tour bus crash.
Jamie: It’ll be me.
Robbie: How can you drive a tour bus? You’re like, twelve. With the facial hair of an old man, I’ll admit.
George: You’ll know you’ve made it big when…?
Robbie: You suck my dick. [laughs] Not really.
Ronnie: When we get the key to the city.
Chris: When we get sandwiches for a rider!
Jamie: When BrokeNCYDE support us!
Ronnie: When we’re headlining a Metallica concert.
Jamie: When Metallica are supporting us.
Chris: Metallica will be dead by the time we’ve made it!
Jamie: When we make enough money off shows not to have a job. When we can do this all the time.
Ronnie: When we can completely afford to be self-sufficient and sustainable from playing shows.
Robbie: I’d be really happy and satisfied to keep doing this, keep touring, and taking this to new places.
George: What is ‘divine’ to you?
Jamie: A really shit word we don’t like using. [laughs]
Chris: Chocolate that you get from Tesco!
Ronnie: Really expensive wine.
Jamie: It’s literally divine tesco branded chocolate, and divine Rosé.
Ronnie: I like Adidas shoes and Rosé wine.
Robbie: I like walking dogs. [laughs] I really do.
Chris: I like orange juice!
Jamie: Notifications on Facebook!
Chris: When you get promoted on Call Of Duty.
Ronnie: As a band, what is divine to us, is having a day when we’re completely satisfied with our crack.
Robbie: As a band, what’s divine, official answer is Morrisons pastry counter.
Chris: Nah, because sometimes they haven’t got cheese rolls there for me!
Ronnie: That’s on the thanks on the Broadcast cover. As a band, it’s gotta be pastry counter, it’s definitely divine.
George: I like beating the Pokémon league.
Jamie: AH! Beating the fucking Pokémon league! The Elite Four! My Zapdos right, level 73, can do it without any damage, and I don’t even have to change Pokémon, my Zapdos is the fucking boss.
Ronnie: Moving on…
George: What’s in store for This Is Divine in the near future?
Ronnie: The near future, new EP…
Ronnie: Hopefully playing Download, hopefully all the Red Bull stuff will happen, tour in April with XisForEyes, playing the Academy in June with awesome bands, hopefully we’ll get some cool coverage for the new CD, lots of press and stuff.
Chris: Hopefully, I’ll get a lot of presents for my birthday.
Ronnie: Hopefully, Chris will get a lot of presents for his birthday.
Robbie: An important thing to note, is that when me and Chris joined the band, some of the Broadcast songs were already written, so this CD, not that this CD wasn’t us as a band, but this, everyone’s contributed to it a lot more, like Dear Armourer was the first song that we wrote as a band. There was an original riff that got jammed out. Not that it drags or anything, but it’s such an obvious progression, whereas much of the newer songs, actually, the newest song which isn’t going to be heard by human ears until it’s released, it’s called Spoken In Muted Tongues, that song is just a chaotic mash of mutant bits. It’s a total headfuck.
Ronnie: This is the first actual CD we’ve all written the songs. Only The Worth Of Water and Toronto were written by us on the last one.
Robbie: The Worth Of Water was written the day I joined! There are going to be two tracks off Broadcast which we’ve re-recorded and changed, just slightly, but not loads, which is The Worth Of Water and Toronto!
George: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Chris: This Is Divine.
George: Everyone either says their own band or Deftones.
Ronnie: Deftones! I recommend Deftones because their new song is amazing. The Bled’s new album is unbelieveable too.
Chris: The Fray!
Ronnie: Fuck. Off.
Robbie: I really like the new Brand New CD, Daisy. Everyone should listen to that.
Ronnie: It’s quite a mix. Deftones, The Bled, The Fray, Oceana, Brand New, and…
George: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Ronnie: Thanks! Final thoughts?
Robbie: Please everybody, if you do have an internet connection, log onto Red Bull Bedroom Jam, you don’t need to sign up or anything, just click on the five stars and get us to Download!
Chris: …And share it on Facebook and Twitter!
Robbie: Keep checking our Myspace for new blogs which will have cheeky snippets of new tracks in, and bigcartel, if you want one of the last two t-shirts, which we will be getting reprinted with a new t-shirt, in line with the EP release!
Robbie: I love hazelnuts!
Ronnie: Robbie loves hazelnuts.
Chris: I like Brazil nuts!
– George Cannings.
Many thanks to This Is Divine, to help get the boys to Download Festival this year, follow the link to Red Bull Bedroom Jam: http://redbullbedroomjam.com/band/videos/lacuna-coil-and-divine and click five stars on their live video stream. For more information, visit http://www.myspace.com/thisisdivine. The band release These Human Ruins around May time, and play a show at Newcastle o2 Academy with Shadows Chasing Ghosts and an un-named special guest on 8th June.
Stay tuned for your chance to win a signed copy of This Is Divine’s Broadcast EP!