Due to the huge number of bands playing at Bloodstock this year, and the fact that our two roving reporters will actually want to watch some of them, we’re doing a little round of pre-festival interviews this year. We’re focussing on the bands playing the Jagermeister and Hobgoblin New Blood Stages so they get a chance to convince you to go and watch them. Remember, these guys and gals are the future of our musical world!
Guitarist / vocalist Ben took on answering duties for Divine Solace…
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
We are from the Northants area.
How did you meet?
The band was founded by myself (Ben, vocals/guitars/songwriting) in 2008. Joel was soon recruited as a keyboard player, but later transitioned to second guitar. Dan (bass) was introduced to me via an ex-band member, and I had known Jake (drums) for years and managed to convince him to join in late 2010.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
Our first gig was in November of 2010, but we had been rehearsing before that since the start of the year.
Where does the name of the band come from?
Divine Solace is a name that was chosen in a time that I felt very alone, disillusioned with the music industry as a whole. However, the time alone gave me the chance to rethink all aspects of my life and become focused. This was achieved by writing music, which is where I found solace. The name also reflects the sound of the melodies and lyrical content, and literally means to find peace and comfort through hard times and achieve higher purpose.
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
I have never listened to metal exclusively; I mostly draw influence from classical music, film scores and ambient soundscapes. Joel is a big Dream Theatre fan, Dan really enjoys Protest the Hero, and Jake pulls a lot of influence from drummers with a unique style, like Chris Adler from Lamb of God. That being said we all have fairly eclectic musical tastes!
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Metal to score films with! I think the strong focus on melody and composition makes us stand out from a lot of metal acts nowadays. With a lot of bands focusing on super technical riffs and heavy breakdowns I feel you lose a lot of what makes music musical (well, to my ears anyway!).
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We try to make our performance as engaging and energetic as possible, all while still playing the right notes! We have played many shows around the UK since late 2010, some highlights being the Roadmender in Northampton and the Underworld in Camden. No doubt Bloodstock will top the list!
When/how did you find out you’d been selected to play at Bloodstock?
At the final, when the winner was being announced. Mr Hall decided that he wanted to put two bands from the competition through, so of the two we got the Jager spot.
What sort of setlist can we expect?
We’ll be playing the same setlist that won us the spot at Bloodstock. The selected songs I feel cover a wide range of musical ground, all the while remaining suitable for the festival.
Which main stage band do you most hope you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?
I personally want to catch Ihsahn on the Friday, luckily we’re not playing that day so I’m happy! I think Jake and Joel are looking forward to Opeth, and Dan is aiming to see Within Temptation.
What are you working on at the moment?
Getting our debut EP finished and released. I am currently tracking in my home studio with a view to moving on to mixing and mastering by the end of the year. Release will hopefully take place early 2016 at the latest.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done on tour?
While we’ve not yet had the pleasure of embarking on a tour so to speak, it was pretty crazy having audience members climbing on top of the PA gear and jumping into the crowd. You just don’t see that kind of thing nowadays, although I do feel for the owner of said PA gear!
What advice would you give to a young band just starting out today?
Be prepared to work hard, stay sober during performances and learn everything yourself e.g. live sound, gear setup/repair etc. as no-one else will do it for you, plus you will gain a better understanding of how and why things work. Also, stay respectful to other bands, sound engineers, venue staff, promoters and music industry figures.
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up who else would you have on the bill? One band above you and one below – a chance to plug a smaller, unsigned act!
I think it would be pretty cool to play a show supporting a similarly atmospheric band like Wintersun, Dream Theatre or perhaps Opeth – different enough to make it worth watching all the bands but not so different that fans of one band might dislike another. Most of the bands I would have had along for the spot below have broken up since we started, but I do remember a band called Whetstone who we played with in London – really young guys but great sound and great music, sort of like Death (the band).
Divine Solace open the Jagermeister Stage on the Saturday.