Divided We Stand are a five piece band from Knoxville, Tennessee. Their dynamic blend of hard rock, alternative rock, metal and folk creates brilliant original music. Their goal is to compose music of the highest quality that musicians and music lovers alike can love, and to make the world a better place in the process. I spoke to the band about the most challenging song to play live, how the band started and future goals.
Where did the band name come from?
We have such different views and ideals. While we were in the first phases of our band we had so many different ideas of what direction to go in. Someone said don’t be so divided and it dawned on us “Divided We Stand” literally.
How did you all get together?
It started out with Mike Russell (Drums), Phil Zimny (Guitar) and Trevor Tucker (Guitar) jamming out and writing songs. Later they added Randy Krouse (Bass) after a random try out. Joe Turner was just hanging out with the band one night and asked to play a song for us. To our surprise he had a golden voice and we quickly added him to the band. After Trevor left to pursue other ventures we had a few guitarist come and go on till we found Jake Wilson. He was in other bands that we had played shows with and caught our attention with his strong stage presence.
What inspired you to become musicians?
Randy was in a few heavy metal bands prior to this but most of his family has played in a band or church group and he just grew up with music. Phil and Mike started off playing for their churches and then found other projects later on as their talents grew. Joe started busking while he was in the military and then found some other artists and bands to perform with. Jake has played in various projects as well. We all grew up around music and its our life no matter what direction it takes us.
Was that what you always wanted to do?
We all have had a heavy influence for music since we were young. Our families all had musicians in them and its such a part of our lives now that we have quit jobs to go on tour. We constantly make personal sacrifices to be a musician. Its hard to have a normal life and job if your trying to make a name for yourself in the music industry. It requires money and time to build a band up. This life isn’t easy and its not for everyone but if its in your blood its hard to run away from.
What song would you recommend to someone who hasn’t heard your music before?
Our song “Saboteur”. It has a nice music video to watch and live its our fan favourite.
What artists influence you as a band? Who do you admire?
We listen to a wide range of music but we never try to take from other artists. We try to play whatever direction our emotions lead us but some of our favourite bands include but not limited to; Avenge Seven Fold, U2, Ghost, Fear Factory, Poison The Well, All That Remains, Deftones, Muse… But that list could go on for days.
Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with?
Kanye West. I know your thinking why. We are thinking why not. As artists it would be a challenge to crossover and it would be a nice push to bring hard rock back into mainstream media again. No one has done a Metal/R&B collaboration that is note worthy in a good while.
My Mum insists that in every interview I ask; what apps do you have on your phone and which one is your favourite?
A: We use Waze GPS app when on the road. It regularly has different celebrity voices for your navigation. Asgard Radio app, if your a touring band in northern United States they help find you fans to crash with and/or food while your on the road as well as promote your shows. Paypal app is the perfect way to make business transactions for bands so you don’t have to start a business bank account.
Can we expect to see you playing shows in the UK anytime soon?
Unfortunately our budget isn’t big enough this year to allow a European tour. We do have plans to travel to Mexico this year to record and play some select shows. We hope to eventually get the capital to make the trip over the pond to the UK. We seem to have a good little following growing over there. It would be very nice to make the trip over there in the very near future.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Drink beer! Hand out free stuff to fans. A little stretch or two but mostly beer.
What would you like to achieve through your music?
We want to write a brand of music that any person can listen to, enjoy, and connect to. Each song has a different message but all have a poignant life lesson. We write about the unmitigated truths about being alive.
To you, what is the most important part of a song?
The chorus is the main hook of the song usually and a well worded phrase can make or break a song. It is usually the part everyone sings along with and can be key in building the climax of a song
What do you think is the easiest and hardest part of a song to write?
Each song takes shaped differently. We try to come up with a simple singular idea to start off with. It helps set the tone for the whole process.
If you’re buying music, how would you do so: CD, vinyl or digital?
Music Streaming is a blessing and a curse. For established artists streaming music is the wave of the future and has all but killed CD’s and physical copies of albums. For unsigned unheard artists it makes it harder to make money because you can’t even give away CD’s hardly anymore and streaming music doesn’t pay as much as selling physical copies so there is this trade off. You can stream your music and get your music on so many different sources that you couldn’t before the dawn of the internet but you can’t make as much money as selling your physical merchandise. It is a very interesting time for the music industry and times are changing
What is the most challenging song to play live?
Even though we have our song polished when you’re on a long tour like 20+ days you never get to rehearse. So if you want to change up your set you have to play songs that you haven’t rehearsed into weeks and that can be very challenging for any song.
What’s your earliest musical memory?
When I was a kid my father use to take me to concerts. My first concert we Grand Funk Railroad when I was 8 years old. I got to see bands like Alice Cooper and Metallica when I was a kid. I am very thankful for that kind of experience because it was what moulded into the musician I am now.
What’s your fondest musical memory?
The first national act with open up for was Hoobastank. It was a milestone in our music career and opened up doors to preform with more artists.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
There are different levels of dedication it will take to move forward in the music business. Some are content playing in their home town and being local celebrities but eventually you have to grow and start making pushes to travel further out touring and get on publications. You have to get your music published and distributed physically and/or digitally. Music videos and high quality pictures are a must to grow your fan base. Having good artwork always help draw attention to yourself as well as selling your brand. It starts as fun but if you want to stay relevant you have to treat it like a business.
Have you ever met an idol and freaked out about it?
A few years ago we opened for All That Remains. It was a sold out show and we were so nervous and excited. They had drinks with us and all the fans as well. They were so down to earth it was like hanging with your best friend. That was one of the first times we got to meet a childhood hero and we were defiantly star struck.
What would be your dream tour?
Just getting to do a European tour or Japan tour would be a dream come true. We have already got to open for some pretty big acts and would love to travel with anyone because we just love touring . It is always surreal to get to travel to so many different places and getting to meet your childhood heroes is always a treat.
Where would you be, ideally, in 5 years?
We would like to be touring internationally by then. We would like to grow our fan base and get a few songs into a film or TV show. I would like to be in the spot where we could live off of our royalties and not have to worry about having other ventures to make money unless we just want to.
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