Sometimes working for Moshville Times, things take you pleasantly by surprise and you wonder why you had not heard any material or seen this band live before now. This happened to me very recently when a couple of mates took me to a gig at the G2 in Glasgow to see Uproar/Neshiima and Darkness Divine. First of all I must say well done to all those involved in the gig, from the bands to the promoters to the venue as the turn out for the opening act starting at 7.30 was tremendous.
Talking of the opening act, my two mates and I were all taken aback with the music from Darkness Divine and how they won over a large number of new fans on this show and that I simply had to get in touch and find out more about them. My colleague in crime, Ross Green, had already reviewed their EP Prelude (after catching them live a couple of times himself) where he described it as “an absolute joy to listen to” and I concur 100%. Lead guitarist David Fulton was all too happy to answer my questions and to David and the band, I wish them luck in 2019 and beyond as on this showing, Darkness Divine are certainly destined to better things.
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
We are 3/5 from Glasgow and 2/5 from Greenock but we rehearse in Glasgow so generally go with that as our base.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
We have been playing together for 2 years but we’ve all been friends since 2014 when we met as members of different bands playing at a gig in Pivo Pivo. We have been playing together as Darkness Divine for just under 2 years now, our “birthday” is at the end of March.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
We play old school melodic heavy metal. What makes us unique is our energetic live show and our attention to detail in songwriting. We don’t throw out anything that isn’t up to scratch, it has to be great! We also feel that while a lot of female fronted metal bands tend to take either: a) a more symphonic route with minimal instrumental technicality or b) the heavy route with blistering guitars and guttural vocals – we approach from both sides of the spectrum with unapologetic riffery mixed with beautiful melodies that you’ll be singing for days. Our favourite way to describe the music is with the words: elegance and ferocity.
Darkness Divine have released an EP Prelude in September 2018. How does it feel to put all your blood, sweat and tears and get your music out there?
It feels absolutely amazing. We are immensely proud of all the songs on that release and it has been received better than we could have hoped. As the title suggests, it is just a Prelude to what’s coming next. We’ve grown as a unit so much since that recording that the next offering from us is going to make Prelude look like child’s play.
With the EP, do you think you have found the sound you want for the band or will you keep experimenting?
We have definitely settled into a specific way of doing things. We never approach a song with “sound” in mind though. Every new song is somewhat of an experiment until it makes its first appearance live. Some of them go through multiple changes before anyone besides ourselves hears them – vocally, instrumentally and structurally – until we feel 100% happy with it.
As Prelude was released last year, have the band continued to create new ideas for songs? How would you say they have compared that of your debut?
We never stop writing songs. There isn’t a time when new riffs aren’t making an appearance. We recorded Prelude while a lot of these new arrangements were still coming together – and some of them are still coming together – but now that the EP is in the rear-view we are focused on getting the ball rolling on another release. As far as a comparison between Prelude and the new songs go – I guess that would be up to the listener, but we feel like we’re sitting on an incredible album at the moment and we cant wait to record it!
Recently you have became very active on the live front. What should we expect from a Darkness Divine live show?
Expect big riffs – big melodies and most of all energy. We go out on stage every show with a “take no prisoners” attitude and we aim to give people not just an audible experience but a visual one too.
What are the lyrical themes from the EP? Is there a main lyricist within the band?
Toni our vocalist is the main lyricist and also contributes almost all of the vocal melodies. Lyrically the EP explores themes of consumerism and the hatred of it, non-reciprocating love, being a bit of a wild bastard and generally not giving a fuck, toxic relationships, self harming and mental health, death and there’s also some literary references in there too. Its a mixed bag but they’re all things that we have dealt with or are dealing with that are very close to our hearts – and very relate-able in today’s society
How often is the band able to get together and rehearse in the studio? Where do you get together and record?
We rehearse as a full band once a week in the studio – but we also meet up regularly outwith rehearsal to work on demos and new ideas, generally at one of our houses. There’s never not something going on with us. Up until now our guitar and bass recording has been exclusively done in house by our drummer Pinky who is a talented producer. For drums and vocals we will hit the studio to record. For the Prelude EP we used Soundshape Productions in Greenock with James Mackenzie and mixing and mastering was dealt with by our close friend Jonny Sallows – with the exception of the bonus songs: “Swansong” and “Hyde” which were done in their entirety by Pinky and James Mackenzie respectively
How are the songs constructed in the studio? Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Darkness Divine a band where all members contribute to the songs?
Parts-wise, Dave and Graeme come up with all the riffery and Toni deals with all the vocal melodies and lyrics. Generally, 80% of the time our guitarist, Dave, will bring in the basic structure of a song to the jam room – constructed from a combination of his own ideas and Graeme’s – and from there it becomes a collaboration until we feel it’s polished enough to be a Darkness Divine song. Some tunes go through major changes from the original idea and some end up being kept almost identical to the original idea. This changes from song to song. But there are other times – like with “A Stronger Dose” when a song just comes together out of nowhere in the studio, or in some cases, Toni will have a vocal melody in her head that we then work music around and kinda build the song that way. “Swansong” (one of the bonus tracks on the physical release of Prelude) is an example of when that was the case
Being a five piece and having different musical influences within the band, is there sometimes a lot of negotiating in the studio or do you feel you are writing the music you want to for the band?
There is a little bit of negotiating that goes on but its few and far between and its never regarding major parts of songs – so we never find it difficult to come to an agreement, we are mostly on the same page. Even though we are all into different bands and all have our own favourites – we also all have an incredibly diverse taste in music – so music itself is our main influence I guess you could say.
How hard has it been to juggle the touring side of things with the everyday jobs? Do you have plans to go on bigger tours and further afield in 2019?
To be quite honest it’s not too difficult when you have 5 people who are all dedicated to the same journey. Music and this band are incredibly important to all of us as individuals so we collectively don’t have any problems with devoting time to the band. And yes! We have plans to get further afield this year and we’re even looking as far ahead as 2020 at the moment. That’s all the information we can give you on that just now though.
How hard is it for a metal band like Darkness Divine to survive in the current climate where bands have to tour non-stop and sell merchandise in order to bring money back into the band?
Survival is not an issue for us at the moment as we all have jobs as our main source of income. We don’t make music to be rich and famous, we do it because we love it. Obviously the dream is to make the band our main occupation and take it as far as it can go, and we would all do anything to make that happen, but if we never made a single penny you would still be seeing Darkness Divine releases regardless. Making and playing music with people you love is its own reward. You are never getting rid of us!
Being from Glasgow, are there any other bands from your local scene that you would recommend?
Absolutely! Uproar, Freak Show, A Ritual Spirit, Nocturne Wulf, The Colony, Anchor Lane, Neshiima, Multistorey Lover, Turbyne, Prognosis, Mason Hill and many other are all amazing bands and the finest of people. Check them out!
A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?
This would definitely change from week to week but right now it would be…
- Parkway Drive – Ire
- Rise Against – Wolves
- Symphony X – Underworld
- In This Moment – Black Wedding
- Threat Signal – Under Reprisal
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
Thanks for reading and please keep supporting the next wave of bands! Check out our friends we have mentioned above and if you haven’t seen us live yet get your ass out to a show. You won’t be disappointed!
Prelude is out now.