Over the next few years the brilliant live shows, great songs, and awards were countered with internal troubles leading to a number of lineup changes. Only very recently has the band settled concretely on a lineup which will take Divides forward through 2017 and beyond.
Given this, and following on from a very successful PledgeMusic campaign to fund the recording of an EP (the first to feature the new lineup), I met up with guitarist David Lennon just before the band headed off to record that EP to talk about their future.
Changes in a band are never easy. Do you feel as if the band is now settled and ready to move forward?
It’s always difficult, but we’ve become used to it. It happens to lots of bands, and we are just like any other. We feel there’s no one person who is bigger than the band itself, and we’ve been quite lucky in finding replacements who share the same view and are of the same mindset as us.
Previously Tasha Cowie and Andy Cook left (replaced by Nicole Mason and Scott Johnston) then after your January show in Glasgow founding member Colin Horn left the band. The replacement for the February tour which followed was Connor MacLeod (from Yashin), yes?
Yes. Yashin had recently split up, and Connor has brought a lot of experience to the band, which is great. The rehearsals for the tour was mostly spent bringing Connor up to speed with the songs we had, as well as the new songs.
To make that easier – and to break the set up a bit – we threw in an acoustic cover which Nicole and I used to do. We also put in a brand new song and took out a lot of slower songs which we felt brought the mood down as they were mid-tempo.
It sounds like the tour was successful, even if the set was being learned as you went on. How well were the shows received?
It went down really well.
The start of the tour we had some trouble with vans (it wasn’t ready to pick us up it was in the Garage getting work done). So we had to hire another van, and that was the next day which just happened to be the first day of the tour. Which was in Wales. So not a great start.
It happened to be the first day of Storm Doris; so we didn’t get to Wales!
Didn’t you have a previous with Wales?
Yes. We have history with Wales, it has struck again! Actually one of the bands we were playing with Breathe In The Silence are from Wales and we were really looking forward to playing it. We just simply couldn’t do it, we went straight to London for the next night.
In terms of how the shows were received – they went well. There was a handful of fans who would come to the shows and have been big fans since the beginning, who thought they wouldn’t enjoy it so much [because of the changes]. But they did! Those are the people we like to play for, because we can tell it means so much to them.
Just before the tour we’ve been talking about you ran a PledgeMusic campaign. Tell me about it.
Basically we decided we wanted to record an EP, as opposed to an album.
A while ago we wanted an album next, but with the changes and where the band are just now we are not in a position to support that; especially financially. Therefore we reached out to Pledge, and we hoped we could reach out to the fans and the people we know and get their help to do something smaller.
It also provided an opportunity for people who don’t know the band, to hear who we are now, and get on board and hopefully start to like us for who Divides are today.
Indeed. It’s also going to give people who come to Divides shows something to sing along to, beyond what they’ve picked up from just being to lots of shows.
Yes. That’s one of the issues we’ve had. Because of all the member changes, we’ve only really had two songs out since our debut EP; and just one with Nicole (‘Make A Killing’). But even with that the music was written before Nicole joined, which led to another problem which we’ve just discovered now. It wasn’t really for her vocal range, and even though she put a melody down it was slightly too high for her key, so live we’ve been reworking ‘Make A Killing’.
It could be. We’ve other songs, we might just let it go. Or maybe. I remember with NATWAL (‘Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost’) our first single, people just assumed it would be on the [debut] EP, and we decided not to. So this might just be the same idea.
So are the new songs from the shows the ones which will feature on the PledgeMusic EP?
Not the slower ones. Mainly the faster songs, some of which we’ve played at the shows anyway. But we are going to change them and make them better.
The campaign was successful and you hit your target, and we are sitting chatting before you head down to the studio. What studio, who is producing?
We are going to Longwave Studios in Cardiff, Wales with Romesh (Dodangoda). Basically my old band, years and years and years ago called The Gap Year Riot recorded with him in Wales and they loved it. Nicole’s worked with Romesh before on a side-project she had which had her vocals on it.
He’s been on the scene for a long time, he’s done Kids From Glass Houses first album, Funeral for a Friend, all the Welsh bands as well as branching out such as Twin Atlantic’s EP.
He’s really good. Most bands, even around Glasgow know who he is, and look up to him. We could’ve recorded here, and went with someone like Bruce (Rintoul) who we love and who recorded our first EP, but we wanted to try something different and decided on Romesh.
I’ve never worked with him so it will be really good learning for me as a guitarist to go down and see how other people work. He’s got a really nice set up, so it should be great!
That’s happening in April, is it going to be a fast release?
Not sure. I think we are looking later on in the year, perhaps August.
I’m really keen to get new material out, that’s been a big thing just now. People keep coming to our shows and they don’t know the songs as we don’t play the early tracks, and it’s not because we wanted it to happen that way, it’s just how it’s been with writers leaving the band. We understand that’s hard on fans, so we want to get new stuff out there.
I believe it’s going to a be a really strong EP, it’ll only be six months or so from the lineup changes setlling, hopefully people will see that as OK and they’ll get behind it!
As this is published, the band have been to the studio and recorded with Romesh. Now we just need to wait with bated breath to hear the result….keep up to date on all things Divides via their social media.
Photos: Adam Ross