Interview: Dead and Divine for Hysteria Magazine

14 Oct

Dead and DivineWe recently had the pleasure of interviewing Matt Tobin, vocalist of Canada’s Dead and Divine for Australian Hysteria magazine. The interview was published in issue 6 of the mag’ which went on sale this month. If you haven’t picked up a copy before, we really recommend it. It’s literally packed to the brim with interviews, reviews and news on many various heavy music sub-genres with something for everyone. Anyway, here’s the feature as it appears in the magazine:

They say that with age comes a greater sense of perspective and often more confidence in one’s own abilities. Basically, you become more comfortable in yourself and what you’re about. Clearly this must be true of the guys in Canada’s Dead and Divine: a band often lumped in with the crowded ‘metalcore’ scene and the narrow field of view its fans can sometimes display.

On their third full-length release – Antimacy – the Canadian quintet find themselves introducing more layers to their trademark sound. While this type of artistic growth and maturity can often be seen as a negative by fans, it’s something founder member and vocalist Matt Tobin is pretty chuffed about. “This time around we were like, ‘let’s try something new and let’s do what we were afraid to do with the last record’,” Tobin says. “At that point we didn’t care anymore and just wanted to make a record that we all loved. If we ended up with a part that sounded like something we normally wouldn’t do, we did it anyway if we liked how it sounded.”

With the group’s previous outings staying pretty true to formula, including 2008’s debut The Fanciful and 2009’s The Machines We Are, there are more obvious hints of primary song writers Matt and Chris LeMasters’ (guitar) childhood influences poking through into the 11 tracks that comprise Antimacy. “A lot of us grew up in the ‘90s, so that’s what we were raised on,” Tobin says. “I grew up on the Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, silverchair – they were and still are one of my favourite bands – the deftones… they were some of the biggest influences on me. A lot of grunge, too.”
Tobin admits that the rest of the group (completed by Kellan Lindsay on bass, Sebastian Lueth on guitar and Kelly Bilan on drums) played a part in the writing process, but that Dead and Divine tends to be primarily a two-man show. “Chris and I will usually write an entire song and it’ll be pretty much done before we bring it in and work on it as a band,” Tobin says. “For the most part Chris and I have worked on the songs together since around 2006. We got a new drummer and a new guitarist for this record and they definitely put their hand in on some stuff. It was kinda weird at first but a good experience in the end.”

So, was the inclusion of these new melodic ‘90s influences intentional? “I think sometimes we’ve come up with a part of a song and we’re like, ‘Oh, that totally reminds me of the Pumpkins’ and we’ll go with it,” Tobin says. “It sends us a little back into nostalgia, you know.”

“It’s something that we may realise at the time or we hear it listening back later on, but not something we strive to do. It’s been noticed by a lot of people and I’m flattered by that to be honest.”

One thing Matt Tobin was quick to play down was the idea that the pressure to remain true to their early material came from their fans. “I think it came down to timing,” Tobin says. “When we did the last record we were touring a lot and we didn’t have as much time as we did this time around. We spent two months in the studio for this record and that’s the longest we’ve ever spent on any record. Having free reign to do anything that we wanted and not hold anything back and pace ourselves made this the best record that we’ve done so far.”

“I think the pressure of a deadline limits what you’re going to do. It’s more or less getting in there and doing what you know to trying and make it as solid as you can; which probably resulted in The Machines… being an album that was very similar to whatever came before it.”

For Tobin, touring is where it’s at and he loves life on the road. “We just want to be touring forever. As fun as it is to make a new record, it’s also stressful and that is when it becomes work,” Tobin says. “When you’re on the road you’re reaping the benefits of your music and you can play it every night. That’s the part about being in a band that I would think [we] enjoy the most. We want to be on the road as much as possible, not cramped into a studio. We’re just trying to postpone reality for 15 minutes.”

Having toured the US a few times, as well as the UK and parts of Europe, Tobin is hoping Antimacy will give Dead and Divine good reason to finally get down to Australia for a tour no later than early 2012. Antimacy is out now on Distort Entertainment.

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