DIVINITY has spent the past 5 years hard at work upon their newest and latest album "The Immortalist". But in the mean time, they have gone on to release a new song turned video called "Atlas", which has been tiding over the fans for sometime now. Guitarist James Duncan discusses this song with it's accompanying video, as well as the new album, and what plans are ahead.
1. What role do you play in the band?
James: This is James. I am the guitarist, and one of the 2 main songwriters.
2. Why the name, DIVINITY, does it have a meaning behind it?
James: The name came from a line in the Pantera song, Domination. It just stuck. It’s a powerful word that conveys a sense of good and light, as opposed to dark and evil.
3. What has influenced your sound and style?
James: We never try to sound like anything or anyone. Sometimes it happens, but we try to let the creative process happen naturally, and that's why we have the best album of our career now, because we let the process happen. It wasn't forced or preconceived. The style of metal that we play though is definitely influenced by the riff masters like James Hetfield, and Dave Mustaine, and also newer dudes such as Devin Townsend, Textures, Soilwork, etc.
4.What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
James: Anything conspiracy theory based is fair game. Also the personal struggle thing comes into play. We try to write metaphorically but not in the sense that we are trying to be poets. This new album is definitely a concept album where all the songs kind of tie into one main theme. Read the lyrics and figure it out for yourself!
5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
James: All our music is written by Sean and I. One of us usually has a single riff idea. Then the other guy takes that idea and runs with it. Sean and I have been writing like this for a few years now, and it’s really interesting what you can come up with when the other guy gives you the template. Usually it is Sean giving me one riff, and then I write the rest of the song. This time around, it went the other way, where he took my ideas and spun entire songs out of them. In the past it was one guy with his song, showing the others what was going to happen. Now we actually work as a team, and trust each other’s ability to create awesome parts. Also, now that Jeff is back in the band, he adds a huge creative force to our group, especially when it comes to lyrics and concepts. And Brett has a very interesting way of adding his beats to the songs. We all just trust each other and because of that the music is very powerful.
6. How do you describe your music to people?
James: We say we are a modern metal band in the vein of Soilwork, Death, and Into Eternity, with a touch of Devin Townsend. Our music is dense and not for the faint of heart.
7. What is one thing about DIVINITY both music and as a band, that would surprise people?
James: We have had the same core group for 20 years.
8. You decided to release "Atlas", as a single turned video, which you did all by yourselves. How did this all come together and why was this song picked to be a single and video?
James: We knew we had a few great songs in this album that would have been perfect for a video, but some songs would have just required too much work to fully flesh out the concept. Atlas was the first song we started to play live from the new album, so we were just really comfortable with it. And it has many different aspects. It’s kind of the best of all worlds. Some songs are really melodic, some are really aggressive. Atlas has all of it.
The video was done by us, because we have no extra money to pay someone to hold a camera. We also like to keep the creative control. Now that we don’t have a label, or any toxic people in our circle, we can do whatever we want! This is what we wanted to do!! But we will be doing another video for the song, Hallowed Earth, which will be a lot more in depth, with some crazy shoot locations!! We are filming it this summer.
9. What can be said about "The Immortalist", that has not already been said?
James: We made this album to be the best 70 min of music that we could come up with. I just hope people enjoy it.
10. What can fans expect from the new album?
James: A lot of content!!! These days with the dwindling attention spans, a lot of people have a hard time getting all the way through one song, let alone a 12 song metal album! But there is a lot of everything in there, from melody and beauty, to pure death metal aggression, and everything in between. We pride ourselves on having a sound that seems to be somewhat unique. Some bands release their album and you say, sounds like this band, or sounds like their previous albums. This album stands alone. I hope people can appreciate it as a unique take on modern metal.
11. How would you say you differ from other bands and artists on the scene?
James: I think we have a much different attitude towards why we do this in the first place. So many bands do this to try to get to the top of the pack. We had our time with the big record label, and all the tour offers, and in all the magazines, etc. In the end we just want to play great shows when we can, and continue to write the music that we want to play. We are done with the rat race of music. I think that helps us to create unique music that doesn't sound preconceived or like a copy of someone else. I could name 5 bands just in my own city that release good quality metal music, but most of them do not have an original sound. They just sound like the last popular band. Same lame riffs, same vocal style, same production sound, same everything. I'm totally sick of the homogenous metal that is coming out these days. Luckily there are also countless fucking amazing bands, so no shortage of great music out there.
12. What does the rest of this year have in-store for you guys?
James: We have been in contact with a few people regarding the live scenarios. We would love to get to the UK within the year, and also get to Montreal to play with some of our bro bands down there. Montreal has the best scene in Canada for death metal, and we've known the bigger players out there for many years, so it’s a no brainer to try and team up with those guys for some shows. We have always gotten an amazing response from the French Canadians in Quebec, so we love to go visit our Francophone Brothers!!! As always we will continue writing new music, and developing our online image and marketing strategies.