Divorcee wake up each morning with the idea that pop music can still be interesting. Avoiding any accusation of "indie" with a swift blow they set about recording their debut album "Lovesick" with Brad Kern, known for his work with Semisonic. We caught up with vocalist Ryan Seitz and guitarist Pav to find out how the Americans are doing Britpop better than the Brits themselves.
Q: The debut album "Lovesick" was actually produced
by Brad Kern, known for his production work with Semisonic. How did Brad
get involved with Divorcee and what did he add to the bands sound on production?
Pav: I met Brad in '98 when I was guitar tech for Semisonic for a leg of the Feeling Strangely Fine tour. We became friends, and he offered to help us record Lovesick. Semisonic had just completed Chemistry, and were weeks away from a world tour. The down time was a window that Brad had offered to help us with the recording. He gets amazing drum sounds, and his attention to detail is scary. Semisonic was great to us as well, we had run of their studio and all of their drums and guitars, it was cool.
Q: Listening through to the album there does seem to
be a huge influence of British Bands. Travis, Coldplay and the Bluetones
are names that have been mentioned before and I can definately see it on
the title track and "Underground". Was British guitar pop a big influence
for you while growing up?
Ryan: Yes, a huge influence. Stone Roses, The Zombies, David Bowie, The Charlatans UK.. American pop music is such a case of Flavor of the week that It's impossible to see or enjoy any musical progression within a band or scene. There seems to be much more integrity in British pop music.
Pav: It was for me, and still is. I don't know
what they put in the beef over there, but the quality of music coming from
the UK constantly amazes me. I think UK bands really set the bar for the
rest of the world, and there should also be something said for the people
who buy the records. I was with Semisonic for Glastonbury 2000, and was
amazed at how the English support music. You would never see a festival
of that magnitude in the US. It really made an impression on me.
Q: Over in the States you regularly notch up top 10
and top 20 positions on the Radio airplay charts. Does it still send a
shiver down you spine when you see your band alongside the likes of Bjork,
Puddle of Mudd and Sparklehorse?
Ryan: It makes me proud of what we have accomplished on our own. The college charts are the only way for bands like us to compete with the big records, and the opinion of college radio fans means more to me than anything.
Pav: It's pretty cool. It's nice to know that this
unsigned band from Minneapolis can hang with the likes of Bjork. We don't
yet enjoy the benefits of having major label support for touring and promotion,
yet we are still able to make things happen. You don't see that very often.
Q: You've said in the past that you don't see yourself
as being in an indie band. Is credibility important to you or would you
just like to reach a wide an audience as possible?
Ryan: I think the definition of indie is getting fuzzy these days. I guess we are an indie band cause we do everything ourselves. Recording, Booking shows, Artwork and all that shit. But if indie means having a bad sounding record that is so "cool" only scensters understand it than no, we're not indie.
Pav: Both, I think there is a fine line, but it
can be done. It's nice when you can wear your dignity on your sleeve, but
there is nothing like playing a gig to an appreciative audience that buys
the records and sings along to all the songs. I think possible to have
your cake and eat it too.
Q: What would you say the underlining message of Divorcee
is? Is there a motto you live by as a band?
Pav: I think that the message is that pop music can still be interesting.
Ryan: We don't have a motto, but I think that communication
in a band is so important. There are a lot of things that can break up
a band, so we keep everything on the table. It's hard, but being honest
with one another is something we do well. I know of a lot of bands that
avoid difficult situations internally, and if you can't deal with those
situations openly it will ruin a band.
Q: Is there a healthy music scene in Minneapolis and
if so what bands would you recommend to the readers of Designer Magazine?
Is there anyone we'd have heard of that you have supported or played live
Pav: The music scene in Minneapolis is great, look for these bands at MP3.com: Arson Welles, Faux Jean, Landing Gear, The Hang ups, The Selby Tigers.
Ryan: Minneapolis has some great bands(see pavs
picks) that are really starting to get noticed. It's a blast to hear your
friends making great music. I think that for a while this town was so hung
up on bands like The Replacements and Husker Du that new bands didn't get
any attention at all.
Q: Whats in store for Divorcee for the rest of 2002
and can we expect you over in the UK in the near future?
Pav: I will be in the UK tomorrow, getting lost in the country side for 10 days! But we are in the studio right now working on the follow up to Lovesick, and the songs sound great. That said, we hope it will get released this summer. Though a UK tour is not in planned for the near future, it could happen before year's end.
The album "Lovesick" is out now
For more info
your own Divorcee reviews / views on our Message Board