Despite having just taken their first steps as a band, it’s already clear there’s something special about The Dives. Beyond its blood connection to one of the greatest Rock bands in history. Hailing from New York, the four-piece has made a big splash in a very short period of time, sending ripples all over the world with their debut EP Everybody’s Talkin’.
A cocktail of top-self rock n’ roll, highly concentrated hooks and essence of the 80s, The Dives are a tall order of fun, and it sure is refreshing. Following on from the release of the EP, we caught up with vocalist Evan Stanley and drummer Jimmy Meier to work out how they did it.
The Neversphere: Everybody’s Talkin’ has now had a few weeks to find it’s footing post-release. How did the debut EP go down?
Jimmy: It all happened really quick…
Evan: It was lots and lots of work for something that happened really quick. You spend months behind the scenes; doing tonnes of rehearsals, a lot of gigs, working in the studio, then scrapping background vocals, scrapping guitar parts and recording again just to make sure it’s right. It’s the first thing we’re putting out into the world, we really want people to get what we’re about.
So, we spent a couple of months working really hard at that. Putting it out was super gratifying; there’s no better feeling than playing shows and having people sing words back to us. It’s awesome to see people know the words to songs as well as I do!
The Neversphere: There must have been a lot of self-discovery during this process as a band and as individuals. How different was the final product, the one you present to the world, to the one you originally set out to make?
Jimmy: We tracked all the basics, like drums, bass and guitars live, in the studio. We spent a lot of time before we went into the studio, dozens, if not hundreds of hours working on these songs and getting them to be as perfect as we could. So, when we went into the studio, what we were recording was what we sounded like. That’s why we really strived for every performance to be better than the last, and for every performance to be just as good – if not better, than the EP.
Evan: There’s no trickery, I think we’re all really proud of the fact that with The Dives, what you see is what you get. When you listen to that EP and then come to a show, you’re going to hear the same thing…but a lot louder [Laughs]. The EP was exactly what we set out to make. We weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel or make ourselves into anything we weren’t. What we were trying to do is capture a live show on a record…
Jimmy: …Which is really hard…
Evan: …Yeah! Because you don’t have that audience to feed off energy-wise, and chances are the listener will be listening by themselves. So, you’re trying to capture a moment and recreate the feelings of a moment which are very different mediums. I think that was the challenge: It wasn’t trying to create something that wasn’t there, so much as it was trying to capture something that actually was there, and fully capture it.
The Neversphere: It must have been helpful to have such a clear cut directive, but still, as you said, it’s a challenging thing to achieve. Did you guy surprise yourselves with what you came out with once the producer hit record?
Jimmy: Definitely. We’re all recorded a lot before, I personally love recording. Every time you do it, you learn something about yourself. I think for all of us, we really put it all on the line for the EP and we all became better musicians just from the sheer amount of attention to detail we spent on every track.
Evan: I think we all put it out there, yeah. At the end of the day, the thing that separates good musicians from great musicians is taste. Once you pass a certain technical ability, it’s not what you play that matters, it’s what you don’t play. We learnt really hard to work out parts that work well with each other and serve the song. There was a lot of ‘What can we get rid of? What do we not need‘ and trying to unlock that mystery part which might be as simple as a couple of notes on a guitar, but it might really heighten the emotion of a certain section.
The Neversphere: In a time when everyone seems to want to go dark and write about death, or the state of the world, you guys focused on all the fun topics. Was it hard to unplug from the state of the world to stay in that frame of mind?
Evan: I always think it’s funny when someone comes to the party and they’re like ‘You have to check out this song I just wrote, it’s really deep and has a tonne of social commentaries on it’ Dude, I’m 23 years old! I don’t know shit but I’ll talk about girls? I know about them! I’m not going to pretend that I know about the world-at-large and the interplay of political powers, that’s not really what I can speak confidently about or, truly, want I want to talk about when…
When I’m going out, I want to have a good time, I don’t want to be yelled at, or preached to. All of us got together with the idea to make music that we like making. These days like you said, people like to get dark and take themselves so seriously…Like, give it a rest man; crack a smile and a beer and have fun, jeez.
Jimmy: I think there’s so much negativity in the News, on Facebook and everywhere you look. For me, if we can make people happy, and forget about that stuff while enjoying out music and we’re enjoying their company; That’s all that we want. It helps having a band. It’s really just four best friends having fun on stage. It’s a lot more fun than being that insightful singer/songwriter who scares the floor with is acoustic guitar…
Evan: [Laughs] I resigned myself to that for a while, then I met these guys and I was like ‘Ah…Heaven hath shined a light upon me’, thankfully.
The Neversphere: What’s the plan going forward, have you made any moves towards new material?
Evan: We’re never stopping. We have so much material backed up, we’ve actually just come from a rehearsal working on some new stuff. It’s just a matter of how we want to release it. These days everyones attention span is show short, so we would rather give little nibbles here and there. The focus here is to play as many shows as we possibly can. Then, there’s going to be a steady trickle of music in the future. We have a tonne of fun as live band, so we’re trying to do that the most.
The Neversphere: When will you be bringing this live show down under?
Jimmy: Well…we hope soon! [Laughs]
Evan: I’ve been trying to get to Australia for so long. It feels like I came out of the whom hearing great things about Australia. So if we could get down there under the guise of a business trip…(To Jimmy) Man, the idea that we can call a tour a business trip…
Jimmy: (To Evan) That is pretty sick…