-Interview- Divinex (5/28/23)

Divinex talks about listeners having an experience with their music, dealing with the pandemic and much more.


From: New York
Sounds like: Instrumental Progressive Metal

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "Divinex" and is there any meaning behind it?

I think initially the original lineup all had experience from the school music programs. Lots of us were in concert band, drumline, and the like, and some of us also took some music theory courses, so we were naturally geeking out about technical bands and music that broke from the norm and did something really unique, especially ones that played in uncommon time signatures and things like that, so your Dream Theaters and your Protest the Heros and BTBAMs.

And a few of us had played together in different band start-ups before, but Divinex started with the idea of leaning into that interest - "let's make songs that are technically and rhythmically complex", because it was something unique we could bring to the table and we knew none of the other local bands were doing anything like that. There was actually a precursor to Divinex that had vocals called "I, Infinity" that broke up after a pretty short-lived existence, and when we got back together the second time we realized it can work instrumental and adapted our songs to work without vocals, which ended up becoming the first album "Movement".

The name "Divinex" is a loose reference to the mythological "divining rods" which are believed to sort of tap into the divine to lead you to something, so it's a bit of a metaphor for letting inspiration guide the development of the song, rather than forcing a structure or agenda on it. Our music has always been about going where the music takes you and writing only when something feels inspired and fitting for the song, so the loose reference kind of made sense with the music writing we were going for.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

We want people to see it for an experience, rather than a mood. It's not really about a particular "vibe" for the background and certainly not about the lyric content since we're instrumental. When you put on a Divinex record, it's like going to your own private concert in your car or in your headphones and just existing in that sonic space for a while. Tune everything else out and just let the music take you for a wild ride, you know? And every one of our records is written to be a front to back experience, kind of like watching a movie. It's especially for those listeners that love a solid album and listen all the way through, but we've also grown in paying attention to singles and making it so that each song works well on its own as well. Every song builds to some sort of final climax, and every album builds to some sort of big climactic finale track, that's also usually well over 10 mins long, haha.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

It's heavy, but it's really melodic and never really angry or grungy. On albums, there's always some sound to fill every corner of the mix, and live, it's one hell of a spectacle. There are tons of interesting rhythms and lead parts and change-ups and dynamic shifts to keep you engaged, even without a vocalist, but at the same time it's also catchy and memorable.Think Intervals but with the album experience of BTBAM. Think Scale The Summit, but with a little heavier and more structured riffs like August Burns Red. Idk, it's always so hard to describe music without just playing it, haha

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

If we're shooting for the stars here, maybe Animals As Leaders, BTBAM, and Intervals? Or Replace BTBAM with another sick instrumental band like Arch Echo or Scale the Summit or Polyphia or something to make a crazy all-Instrumental show. We're technical and instrumental, so the ultimate tour would be the top bands in that instrumental prog genre.

5. How has Covid affected what you do?

It definitely changed things. Right when it hit we had just developed our own light show that followed just about the entire last album and just about sold out the Bug Jar when we test drove it for the first time, but then covid hit and we had to put shows on the back burner. We ended up shifting gears toward working on new music, something that was long overdue anyway, and though that process took way longer than we anticipated, it's finally done and that's where we're at right now. We've played some shows off and on since, but right now we're primarily focused on releasing this awesome new record "Dreamscapes" and seeing what the world and our awesome fans make of it!

6. What’s your take on the current state of Instrumental Progressive Metal?

It's something that's growing, it seems. When we started this experiment we just figured it "could theoretically work without vocals" and now we see bands like Polyphia and Animals as Leaders becoming almost household names for anyone that listens to any sort of alternative music. It's hard to say if stuff like that didn't exist before, or we've just been drawn closer to it since we started making that type of music, but it really seems like there are ton of great instrumental bands these days, and we love to see it. It also seems like a space that's not explored a ton, so there's cool opportunities like the Spotify and Pandora algorhythms suggesting us to listeners after an AAL or Intervals track or what have you. That space isn't so competitive that we get lost in the chaos, and that's a huge blessing I suppose.

As far as the current state, it's also worth mentioning that a lot of the craziest players end up there. The Jason Richardsons and John Petrucci's of the world end up in that space and that's pretty sweet. Our music isn't as fueled by high-level playing and sometimes that makes us feel like outsiders, but it's cool to see that high-level playing comes to hang out in our genre, haha.

7. What's the current music scene like there in New York?

There's a lot to love in Rochester! Anthology is a really awesome top-notch venue for big shows, and there are a lot of really cool smaller venues like Photo City Music Hall, The Montage, and the iconic Bug Jar. Rochester also seems to have a higher percentage of heavier bands which is pretty cool, and that mixed with the fact that it's a smaller city makes it so that the music scene is pretty close and you start to see the same faces and make connections. People in the scene know people in the scene and it's generally a good community.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

Well the fractions of a cent per play does make it seem almost insulting sometimes, but we don't have any qualms with the current state. None of us are really doing this to make a living and it's more of a strictly artistic project, so the small payouts on royalties is balanced out by the ability to reach people easier. Growing up in the days of having to search through actual, physical CD shelves and buy a whole album to hear new music, it's awesome to see that nowadays everyone can access music so easily. People can listen to music for free on YouTube and most people have their monthly streaming service fee they pay regardless, so listening on Spotify or Apple music might as well be free. Nowadays people can hear a band name once in passing, and listen to an entire album out of curiosity, so right now the barrier to people listening to your music is really low and that's pretty cool. Our royalties add up overtime, but the cooler thing is that our music is finding people easier than ever! If we had to count on advertising to get people's real feet into real brick-and-mortar stores we would absolutely blow it and no one would know who we are, haha. There's a lot of competition and that's not always great, but the barrier to getting ears on your music is fairly low now, and that's a great thing in our book.

9. What's next for Divinex?

Our newest full-length "Dreamscapes" drops June 16th! After that, we'll probably get to work on organizing some live shows and short show runs, as well as making more video media and getting right back into writing new music with our new drummer Eugene too.

10. Any shoutouts?

Thanks to FTD entertainment for the help promoting ourselves, our killer producer Steve Sopchak, our videographer Codey Dingfield, and Justin Spaulding and Josh Pettinger for their help tracking on the new record! Of course, huge thanks to our fans too, for sticking with us all 5 years we went without new music, through Covid and all. We really appreciate you listening to our music!