From the snow capped, flannel clad, maple syrup covered Canada comes Post-Hardcore heroes Dead and Divine. Words fail me to introduce bands such as these who have such profound effects on the fans, most of which are drawn in by their intense, simple but well structured music, only to find themselves trapped by ‘more than meets the…ahem…ears’ themes and anthem-esque lyrics. This band will fuck with your head in all the right ways but be warned, your current favourite band my no longer hold that title after this. I caught up with lead guitarist Chris LeMasters for the low down on the world of Dead and Divine.
“It started with I guess the same story as every other band. [Vocalist] Matt was bored at school and started jamming with some of his friends, they recorded ‘What Really Happened At Lovers Lane and then I joined the band’ explained Chris as we kicked things off with the story of how it all began. ‘That was in 2006, we started touring and yea, now here we are! I wish there was a way cooler story, like we fight and all turn into friends…and there were sharks involved…but no nothing cool, we just started a band in high school and luckily it became a fulltime job”, it all seems so simple! Consisting of Matt Tobin , Kelly Bilan on drums, Kellan Lindsay on bass and rhythm guitar manned Sebastian Leuth the rest is as they say, history.
Unlike many of their post-hardcore peers, Dead and Divine has avoided the Christian metal theme entirely. Fans of this band would undoubtedly have found themselves analyzing the lyrics, obviously intense and forceful but not so obvious is their meaning. I asked Chris, from the bands point of view where they get their influences “I think a reoccurring thing through all of our records would be that we talk about things that we see on tour. Over the years you kind of realize people are kind of shitty, a lot of people suck. Religion is a reoccurring theme, um, we’re not completely against any form of religion but we’re against people who use it as a sort of crutch you know?” Even in their name Religion is a motif however Chris began to explain that they are in no way a religions band. “That kind of came from touring in the bible belt, you know? We got turned away from shows because we didn’t believe in what they believed in, we got paid not to play. Literally people have come out and been like “we know about you band and the music you play”…see we aren’t a Christian band…and at that point we didn’t really say we were anything at all, we just wanted to be a band you know? And we were getting kicked out of playing shows because we weren’t a Christian band…that’s so fucking shitty, aren’t they meant to be accepting of everyone? They were using religion as a reason to turn people away” Its no surprise now where some of their lyrics come from, with specific reference to tracks off 2010’s The Machines We Are such as Neon Jesus “oh what a blessing naivety is” Chris explained that this influenced not only their lyrics, but everything about the band.
Antimacy, their 2011 full length got people talking even before they heard it, I asked Chris what was up with that name? “Antimacy…its pretty much intimacy but we were like “err lets call it Antimacy because that’s fucking clever”…no one knew how to say it so it’s the worst album name ever ha ha” Going in a much heavier and darker direction from previous releases, we got to chatting about the cause and affect of this “We were kind of scared because on our previous records we had always done at least one slower, more mellow track, I don’t know if it was a conscious thing or not but we kind of wrote and entirely heavy album, we weren’t too sure if kids would be into it but when it came out everyone was really stoked and we’ve had a chance to play at crazy festivals and everyone’s been into it, I’m really stoked on how it translates live because obviously, heavier stuff is way more fun.” I mentioned to Chris, from a fans perspective how awesome this was to hear, no one goes heavier anymore! “What’s what we said! Everyone does the whole ‘on one record you’ll have one slow song, then the next you’ll have 4 slow songs’ and by your end record you’re just writing radio rock but no we went more towards Converge in some songs and Hatebreed in others, and what a surprise some of my favourite bands! Ha ha” The band chose to embrace each members influences for this album, having their current line up involved from the initial writing process “Normally Matt and I just sit down and do it all, we let more people have a say, and I think that reflected on how much heavier things were, like Sebastian likes Converge, stuff like that, but other than that the writing process was real similar to our other releases”
Had their musical talent and fuck ‘em all attitude not gained enough attention, Dead and Divine left many people thinking “how the fuck had I not heard of these guys yet?” after they co-headlined shows in Canada and the USA with UK giants Architects. I steered the conversation towards this tour and what it was like for Chris “That was awesome! They’re like really good friends of ours, we’d done a couple of tours with them before so it was cool to catch up with them again, they were headlining some shows, we would headline others, obviously their an amazing band and their latest album [The Crown] is unreal” Keeping up with the demand that followed their 2010 and 2011 releases, Dead and Divine have seen themselves on the road an insane amount more than previously Chris mentioned that this was easily his favourite part of being in the band “We hate being at home now, we just get super antsy and we can’t deal with it, so like, now that things are picking up and we can afford the luxury of touring the world now, if we couldn’t tour we wouldn’t be in a band…if I didn’t have this I’d go fucking loopy”
No on the subject of touring, I started to grill Chris on when they will finally make their way to Australia “Oh real soon man! We actually just signed to a Japanese record label called Zestone Records and that’s always been a missing puzzle piece because obviously for us to go all the way over there…we’re going to go to Japan and Australia…kind of knock it all off. So that just happened so hopefully we’ll be there soon, man. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for such a long time…We want to tour Australia when its winter here, just avoid the shitty snow in Canada” Clearly the type of music that would make a strong impression on the Australian Scene, Chris made the point that he didn’t give a fuck how many people came to the shows, “I just want to hang out in Australia”
After reassuring me that they will be here mid to late 2012, my time was up with Chris. It was obvious he was just as excited about the Dead and Divine wave of success as I was. It as great to see the band is heading in the right direction with totally the right motives at heart. A serious band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously is just what the genre needs, and its this charm and energy that make Dead and Divine more of an addiction than an obsession. Just one hit of their dry, southern hardcore spin on the post-hardcore vibe and you’ll be hooked.