Interview with Mike from Violent Divine
Violent Divine (photo by: Niklas Johnsson) Mike Divine
Calle: Violent Divine got together in 2005. How did you guys meet?
Mike: We actually met way back in the 80's. I think Gus, Q and I met at a recording studio where I was working in the mid 80's. Q and I have been in bands together or traded places for each other in other bands. Gus and I played together in several bands in the early 90:s so the three of us has quite a long history of rock ’n’ roll and late night parties.
I first met Klaus when he recorded an album in the studio I was working in – I think it must also have been in the early 90:s, but Klaus, Q and Gus has been playing together in different bands throughout the years since then.
I think Violent Divine is the outcome of me nagging Q and Gus about forming a band that played some 80's style of guitar-riff-based metal, and when finally the energy of their old band sort of faded out, Gus and Q discussed starting up a fresh band and all of a sudden I had my long time pal Gus at the other end of my cellphone. It’s a beautiful story of lasting friendship through time and space.
Klaus Divine Gus Divine Mike Divine Q Divine
Calle: What got you into music in the first place?
Mike: I’d be lying if I didn’t say girls. Secondly there is of course the music. We grew up to expressive bands like Kiss, Mötley Crüe, The Sweet, WASP and all that – bands with great songs and a larger-than-life attitude. From my perspective it’s a guys’ dream to be in a band and tour the planet. We all want to show off – honestly. But, on a more serious aspect, there is always the joy of creating music together – that certain vibe in a band when all the little pieces just seem to fit. It’s something that is purely Divine.
Calle: Who are your biggest influences?
Mike: In the beginning of Violent Divine we would count most 80:s glam rock band as an influence, but I don’t think that’s really fair since we all have a very wide and cross genre type of taste in music. For example, besides hard rock, I like lots of bands like Depeche Mode, The Cure, Manic Street Preachers but also Ministry, Mudvayne, Marilyn Manson and lots of other bands that genre-wise are very far from what Violent Divine is. I know Klaus is into some severe groovy funk but also progressive metal, Q likes of course heavy guitar driven music and Gus - besides his passion for Mötley Crüe – also has Coldplay in his record collection. So there you go. Violent Divine is a true hybrid of all that.
Calle: Name 3 “older” bands and 3 “newer” bands you would recommend?
Mike: OK older bands…
Kiss – great songwriting – great shows – great merchandise
Led Zeppelin – great passion – great musicianship – great sex-appeal
Thin Lizzy – another one of my true loves – a huge influence
New bands, at least compared with the old band I mentioned…
Marilyn Manson – the legacy of shock rock in the name of Alice Cooper, Kiss and WASP. Pissing off the world, making headlines, freaking out the moral majority – and make great songs, great shows and has the guts to re-invent himself on practically every new album.
Black Stone Cherry – young guys – very talented musicians and a kick ass attitude.
Manic Street Preachers – maybe not to be categorized as a new band since they debuted in 1991 but… their first 3 or 4 albums are still rotating in my mp3-player. Great guitar/vocals and above all – great lyrics!
Calle: How do you write the songs in Violent Divine?
Mike: Usually Gus come up with a song where he’s already recorded all instruments and vocals on his home PC, so we can get an idea of song. Then we try out the song at rehearsal and if we think it sounds like Violent Divine, we continue to work through the guitar-riffs, the bass-line and the lyrics/vocals until we’re happy. It’s a very smooth process where Gus is actually providing a framework for the rest of us to be creative in. And besides, we’re not patient enough as individuals or a band to just meet, get a couple of beers and jam it all out. I don’t think we would be very creative that way.
I think we’re very much concept-driven as a band and as songwriters. We always try to figure out what is missing or what we need at that precise moment. It’s like what would be a great type of song to open a live gig, or what different types of songs do we need to make and album. It might sound a bit academic but I think it’s a great way to approach the task and a good way to get the thumb out of your…
Gus - The main song writer
Calle: Where do you find the inspiration for the songs?
Mike: Without surrendering to some notion of social realism or prog – I’d say LIFE! Fortunately life comes in different flavors each day – some days are for partying – some days are for fighting your inner demons – and mixing that all together makes it quite interesting. But musically speaking it’s like we want to make albums that we ourselves as rock fans would want to buy – we want to be a band that we our self would stand in line for at the venue and get the merchandise and all that. OK that was not musically speaking – but it’s like if you listen to any of your favorite bands or albums it’s like, Hey I want to make a song like that, I want to catch the feeling or the vibe in that song…. Eh am I making any sense here? What I’m saying is that good rock music is an inspiration in itself. We too want to be superheroes.
Calle: Your first album “Violent Divine” from 2006 was released in USA only five months after your first demo. That must be a dream come through?
Mike: Yeah...definitely so. It sure was a kick start for the band. I guess there are things you could have done differently but the honest truth is that, looking back a few years, I wouldn’t change a god damn thing about the first album. It was, and still is a bunch of great songs performed with a furious energy. I’m really proud of that album. We’re probably the most impatient band in the world and would love to release a new album every six month or so, but unfortunately the business don’t work like it did when the Beatles were making it big.
Calle: How far are you in the making of your second album and when can we expect it to come out? And do you have a title yet?
Mike: We recorded the second album earlier this year, don’t have a title for it yet but we hope to have it available later this year. As a teaser we recorded a new track that’s not going to be on the next album, but will only be available on the Mama Trash Family Artist CD 2, that’ll be released at the end of October. The track is called “One By One” and that’s the song that open our shows. It’s a kick ass song and we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do playing it.
Calle: The sound on your first album is a combination of the 80’s rock scene in L.A. mixed with the sound of the more resent rock bands. What can the fans expect from the next album?
Mike: First of all it’s still Violent Divine and the sound sort of origins from how we play, I use that statement to annoy sound engineers and producers but seriously we still have the same influences, maybe the songs are a bit on the darker side of life, at least lyric-wise. We also had great help from our producer – who’s name I’m not allowed to reveal just yet but he really refined the sound of Violent Divine and made us come out with more edge than we could ever hope for. I’m really anxious for this album to come out.
Calle: If you could choose one song you wish you had written, what song would that be?
Mike: Oh that’s a hard question. I’d say "4st. 7lb" (from The Holy Bible - 1994) by the Manic Street Preachers.
Calle: They rock scene seems to be “big” in Sweden at the moment. What’s your opinion on that?
Mike: I think it’s great that hard rock music is back on the charts again. It’s like some revolutionary reaction against the top40 crap that haunts people from main stream radio and all that. It proves that craftsmanship – like it is playing in a band – will finally get rewarded in the end. We rock bands also appreciate all the rock fans that set up gigs at clubs and do street team work to spread the word and get us a crowd for the party. It’s like being part of a huge rock ’n’ roll family – and it’s not just in Sweden. I can sense the same feeling from many parts of the world. I think people are fed up with shit and want something that is genuine and for real.
(Photo's of Q and Mike by: Dace Seja)
Calle: What’s the most fun experience your have witnessed on the road or at a gig?
Mike: Generally, meeting and partying with fans and friends. You meet som many nice people when you’re on the road it’s fucking amazing. Hell I can’t figure out one single thing that’s more fun that the other. Going on stage, meeting people, spreading the gospel of rock. We just love every second of it.
Calle: Do you or the band have a “special thing” you do before going on stage?
Mike: I think we are a bit different as individuals before going on stage. I like some 5 minutes of solitude, Klaus is always yelling “nu jävlar”, Q is warming up his fingers and Gus is constantly checking his make-up… something like that… and a few beers.
Calle: What can the fans expect from Violent Divine when you play live?
Mike: Violent Divine usually open at full speed with a set of 2 or 3 songs, just to make a little statement. At the middle of the show we try and cool things down every now and then but what we really want to do is to give the crowd the feeling you get after a really good fuck.
Violent Divine live on stage
Klaus on stage Q on stage Mike on stage
Calle: What’s the best concert your have been to yourself?
Mike: Ohh my god, that’s another hard question. Eh… Skid Row was amazing (yeah with Sebastian of course) Ministry, Manic Street Preachers, Henry Rollins, Ramones, LA Guns…. Sorry I can’t just pick one!!
Calle: Where do you see Violent Divine in 5 years?
Mike: Still doing what we should, on tour supporting the new album.
Calle: If you could put together a dream band of your own heroes (not including anyone from Violent Divine), who would be in that band?
Mike: Oh… Tommy Aldridge on drums, Robert Trujillo on bass, Zakk Wylde on guitars, Robert Plant on vocals… do we need a keyboard player? Eh… Darren Wharton (yes, from Thin Lizzy)
Calle: If you could record a song with a dead singer/musician, who would that be and why?
Mike: George Harrison since he seemed to be really laidback – and a very great guitarist.
Calle: What’s the best advice you can give to up-coming rock bands?
Mike: Do only what feels right for you and stay true to that. One thing I think is important is in rehearsal – when you have as much fun rehearsing the songs as you have playing live – then you know you have something that’s for real.
And now some questions outside music:
Calle: What was the first LP/CD you ever purchased?
Mike: Can’t really remember if it was It’s only rock ’n’ roll by Rolling Stones or Give Us a Wink by The Sweet
Calle: What is the latest LP/CD you have bought?
Mike: All Hope Is Gone - Slipknot
Calle: What do you do when you’re not playing music?
Mike: I study political science. I’m too busy with the band to have a regular job.
Calle: What’s the first thing that comes to your mind if I say Denmark?
Mike: The good life. I lived in Copenhagen for some 6 months and I noticed that Danish people know how to enjoy life. It’s all in ”Du Perikles, hvornår smager en Tuborg bedst? Hver gang!” (translation: Hey Perikles, when does a Tuborg (Danish beer) taste the best? Every time!)
Calle: How would you describe the other members of the band in only five words?
Mike: Unfuckingbelievable, Rocks, Brothers, Freaks, Bastards.
Calle: Any last words for the fans?