Interview With Divinity Destroyed
Band Photo: Divinity Destroyed (?)
On August 7th 2006, I saw the New Jersey progressive death metal band Divinity Destroyed at The Continental, a bar in New York City. Recently losing their keyboardist, Divinity Destroyed are still going out and playing shows. Nonetheless, I went with my friend Steven to see Divinity Destroyed put on a short and sweet set of about 20 minutes. There was a crowd of about 30 people, most of which have never heard them before, but were certainly enjoying the music. Regardless of small technical difficulties they had with their guitars early on, they put on a killer show with a lot of energy and headbanging and all out insanity. After their performance, I conducted the interview outside a bookstore around the corner of the venue.
The band is an eccentric bunch of individuals that I enjoy hanging out with after their performances. I constructed questions for this interview that would bring out this part of their natural personality that isn’t heard in their music, but can be seen on their website and Myspace page. The questions I asked also spurred a lot of spontaneous conversations, which made the interview fun. Unfortunately some of the silly irrelevant side conversation was hard to hear from the audio recording and some of the funny statements made were hard to hear because there were multiple people talking at once. Despite the complication with transcribing, the interview was very amusing.
zMETALlica [Zack]: Hi I’m Zack with Metal Underground. Today I am here with Divinity Destroyed.
Mark [Guitar and lead vocals]: This is Mark from Divinity Destroyed.
Tom [Guitar]: This is Tom from Divinity Destroyed.
Dan [Drums]: I’m Dan.
Jim [Bass]: I’m Jim.
Zack: Since, Johnny [keyboards] is no longer in the band, why are you still playing shows without him? You’re cool to the fans for doing that, but the keyboards are so essential?
Mark: Well you figure on one hand, it’s play without keys and continue playing shows or play without keys and be stagnant since April. As a listener, Zachary, what would you rather have?
Zack: I would rather you keep playing. Why haven’t you still found one, it’s been since April?
Mark: Well we sent a Myspace bulletin out to almost 10,000 people, and we got about 4 responses, maybe 5, when we sent the sheet music out then the 5 was reduced to 0. Yeah, uh, Period. [laugh]
Zack: So you can’t sing and play keyboards?
Mark: Alright let’s propose a hypothetical situation, you’ve got a metal band with a lead singer/keyboardist, on a 1 to 10 on the gay scale, how gay is that?
Zack: I don’t know, you tell me.
Mark: I don’t know, you tell me.
Zack: No you tell me.
Mark: I don’t know you tell me.
Mark: Seriously man, lead keyboardist/vocalist outside of Elton John, Billy Joel and any funk, jazz or blues band how would you see that. Let the records show that Dan mentioned Ben Folds and The Locust.
Zack: I don’t know, it honestly depends on how you come off, while playing keyboards. You got your girlfriend with you at every show; you’re obviously not gay [laughs]. I’m joking, but seriously get something [like samples] if you can’t find anyone else. Yeah. I remember back in the day, Emily [old keyboardist] left the band and then Johnny came in, and that was pretty quick. Now it’s like, forget that.
Mark: Let’s turn my yin into your yang for a second. Let’s flip this. I want you to tell me what you think as a fan. You represent the Divinity fan base in the matter; you’re representing the millions upon millions of fans across the galaxy. What is your take on the lead vocalist/keyboardist in a metal band? I wanna know your opinion.
Zack: I think it’s perfectly fine if you can’t get anything else because keyboards are an essential part of your band. Or at least use samples. You started to try that a little bit. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t have any other options. What about a new record, I heard some new songs?
Mark: Jim, Dan you want in on any of this at all?
Zack: Yeah, yeah you two don’t even give a shit. [on the side talking amongst themselves]
Dan and Jim: We give a shit, you’re just not asking us anything!
Zack: Well you are part of the band. [The books in a bookstore window distract them for a minute because one is titled butt, while Mark focuses the band and discusses who should answer the next question.]. What has been most helpful to you, connections or talent in your career?
Dan: Well talent to play in the band and then connections are more important than your talent to actually play shows. Our talent didn’t get us on shows ever, not once. It’s hard work. Connections haven’t gotten us anywhere really. A telephone connection is a connection at this point. If we had connections we wouldn’t be here [playing bars] right now.
Zack: What about your deal with Screaming Ferret records? What’s up with that? Is it going to continue or is it just…nothing?
Dan: Ah to be honest with you I don’t care if I’m badmouthing our label but I haven’t heard from those guys in at least five months.
Zack: Only five? Because I haven’t seen any major update on their site in forever it seems.
Dan: Just an email, something, five months.
Tom: You have to contact them in order for them to reply, they won’t come out and just say something to us in a reply. I don’t think we’re a priority for them and they’re inadvertently letting us know. So we’re just gonna look at this front cover of Butt Magazine.
Mark: Check it out. We weren’t kidding, Zack. Mention on Metal Underground, Butt Magazine.
Zack: Dan needs another question. What happened to the tabs on your site?
Dan: Tabs? I think they were inadvertently deleted.
Zack: [Mark walks away] Why Mark, why!? The fans must know!
Mark: Uh when I’m getting in the zone and working on the website, I click really quickly, and I accidentally clicked delete and then I accidentally confirmed that delete, and the entire tabs directory was gone. And in case you were wondering next what happened to the profiles on the website, see my answer to “What happened to the tabs on the website?”
Zack: No, I wasn’t wondering that. But thank you for telling. [Inaudible conversing] What do you think of file sharing and all that stuff? Has it helped you? Gone against you? Had no effect? What? You do have shit loads of people on Myspace, so.
Mark: For it.
Dan: What’s the question?
Zack: File sharing! For or against it, opinions? Has it helped you, etc.
Dan: It helps us, but I don’t do it. I buy my music on iTunes, and that’s pretty much it, but I mean, that’s just me.
Mark: We’re perfectly for it to a certain degree, but where we’re not funded by anyone but ourselves, so if everyone downloads all the songs and no one buys the CD we won’t be able to record a new CD, so download the songs but find a way to support us so we can record a new CD, because we’re running out of toothpaste.
Zack: [inaudible conversation about the necessity of toothpaste] How’d you choose your name? Who made the name?
Tom: We all wrote different stuff on a bunch of pieces of paper and we chose the one we have now.
Mark: Ask Jim for the details and symbolism
Zack: Alright. Jim, the symbolism of Divinity Destroyed…[Inaudible Jim tries to make something up on the spot, but fails] He has no fuckin’ clue [he joined the band in 2005], He [Jim] said it’s beautiful and it goes to the heart.
Jim: I do. [Laughs]
Zack: If you guys scored a multi platinum deal or some deal with a major label and you had to sacrifice some of your creative control, would you do it, or would you say fuck it?
Tom: Would it put food on the table?
Zack: Well yeah, but they’re gonna tell you what to write and how to write it.
Tom: How much, what for? I mean when I work with these guys, I write a riff and then they change it, so it’s no big deal anyway.
Zack: Yeah, but I would say over 50%. I don’t know Mark, what would you say since you write a lot of the stuff.
Mark: Uh I speak on behalf of myself when I say, big fat no.
Mark: Because if they’re willing to do that, then there most likely is someone else out there who is willing to do that who won’t ask us to compromise…
Zack: So what are your opinions of the Plague EP?
Dan: The Plague? I think it’s our best CD by far.
Zack: Anyone else?
Jim: I think it’s our best.
Zack: How so?
Jim: It’s the only one I played on. Haha.
Mark: I agree with Daniel. I think our newer, as yet to be recorded songs are better and once we record that and write newer songs after that I think those are better.
Zack: So you think it’s just a continual progression, and you’ll just get better and better?
Mark: I’m already getting ready to dislike the songs I presently like.
Zack: I know how that is. Do you have a personal connection with the lyrics, Mark?
Mark: You want a serious answer?
Zack: Yeah, I do want a serious answer.
Mark: A large majority of the lyrics, large majority because I like saying redundant phrases like large majority…and tuna fish. Tuna fish. A majority of the lyrics were just written based off of the music. Play the music over and over, literally drone it for 15, 20 minutes, I’ll sing a melody, vowel sounds will come out, the vowel sounds will turn into words, words will turn into phrases, phrases will turn into, alright I’m done.
Zack: As a band, do you have a dream or goal or are you happy with your natural progression? Is there any place you’d like to be? Like touring with Metallica or anything like that? Jim, what do you want to do?
Jim: yeah I wanna be able to make a living doing just this.
Zack: You don’t really care about fame as much?
Tom: You know, deny the fame is pretty cool. I really just want to be able to afford to live, a house and a car.
Zack: That sounds perfectly normal.
Tom: Yeah but I don’t have to go to work every fucking day of the week. I’d rather play guitar on stage than do that.
Zack: What’s your favorite videogame.
Mark: It’s a toss up between Final Fantasy 2/4 or Megaman 2.
Dan: Castlevania: Symphony of the night.
Mark: Excitebike [starts singing theme in bwops]
Zack: You willingly just sung that from memory… [Mark starts doing Excitebike sound effects with me] Would you ever do a videogame cover?
Tom: we’ve already talked about that, I think we all want to. it’s just a matter of deciding on something. We can’t even cover regular songs.
Mark: Actually Dan and I were talking about this yesterday. We’ve been wanting to a medley of Bubbleman and Dr. Wiley from Megamn 2.
Dan: Yeah what did I say we should cover?
Mark: No, you said we should do a live action movie where you’d be Mega Man, I said I was actually thinking about writing a screenplay of a live action Kid Icarus movie.
Dan: Crashman was the bomb.
Mark: I wanna do the contra theme. Jim, the contra themes got a mean bass line [sings bass line]
Zack: What are your primary influences because you have such a unique sound.
Jim: Old thrash metal funky bass players.
Mark: Pretty much everything. I wrote a riff jamming off a copy machine at work. I’m serious; it had a rhythm [vocally shows rhythm]. Megaman, Castlevania, When Dan slaps his cock against his thighs it makes this [makes noise]
Tom: Iron Maiden, Metallica, Anthrax all that cool heavy stuff from the 80s.
Mark: you say that like that’s what made you start playing an instrument, but what’s influencing you now when you write a riff? Like if you wrote a riff tonight.
Tom: The same shit because I don’t listen to any of the new stuff that’s out there. When I get into my car and listen to stuff, I listen to stuff that’s on the 80s station. I don’t listen to anything that’s past 2000.
Zack: What about all these benefit shows? You just played a free show, which you probably didn’t get any money for, cause it didn’t cost anything to get in.
Tom: We do a lot of those just cause they are gigs, but we actually got together and talked about how we need money, so next time there’s a show like that, we’re gonna ask for some money.
Mark: I’d like to bring this back to you asking us when we are going to record a new CD. And due to all the benefit shows we’ve been playing we’re not…going to record a new CD because we can’t afford it
Zack: What’s in the future for Divinity Destroyed?
Tom: Good Times
Zack: Are you ever gonna tour, since you pulled off playing a few one off out of state shows?
Dan: We got some things in the works.
Steven: with all these free shows you guys got enough food to eat?
Tom: Well we have jobs. I have a house and a mortgage, so I have to constantly pay that.
Mark: I spend my life paying $12,000 in credit card bills from a lot of shit over the past 7 years.
Zack: Well that’s it for Divinity Destroyed.
Mark: That’s it? More!
Dan: Thank you for interviewing us.
Mark: Hit us with more.
Zack: Mark’s gonna kick my ass if we don’t ask another question.
Steven: I liked how you were playing keyboard guitar on the intro to Haven [referring to replacing the keyboard part with guitar two handed tapping]. Are you going to continue playing keyboard guitar on Haven?
Zack: Yeah why don’t you arrange the guitar parts so they play some of the keyboard parts?
Mark: There’s a lot keyboard parts. The songs were written keeping two guitars and keyboards in line. So if you play a keyboard part on guitar, you are gonna sacrifice a guitar part.
Zack: yeah, but that isn’t always so bad.
Mark: [asking a random person in the street] What do you see for the future of Divinity Destroyed?
Zack: Alright, thank you for doing this interview.
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