’68 with Grenadiers, Pagan + Crusch Northcote Social Club, Melbourne 21 July, 2017 It just …
New York rockers The Dives are on a solid run right now. A few weeks removed from the release of their debut EP, Everybody’s Talkin’, and a hefty amount of hours onstage later, the band sure has a lot of people saying great things about them, just as their prophetic EP foretold.
Adding even more interest to the group is the fact that it shares the spawn of one of rock’s greatest heroes, KISS’ Paul Stanley. Evan, along with guitarist Mike Lefton, tells us The Dives story, and how their power-pop rock group is bringing back the fun to rock n’ roll.
HYSTERIA: We’re now a few weeks out from your EP release. You’ve been touring ever since. By all accounts, it seems as though its been a success. I mean, how safe is that to say?
Mike: it seems to have been received well so far. We think it was a success. It was really about capturing exactly who we are live, on record, and that was the most important thing for us. To really have a calling card, something you could show your friends. A way to kind of get The Dives out there. That’s what we wanted. It’s something that we’re really proud of and it, and we’re all very confident in the fact that it captures what we are about.
Yeah, you must be feeling this kind of growth. These fans aren’t just kind of sitting there twiddling their thumbs, they’re digging your stuff, they’re following you. Are you noticing this kind of daily growth now?
Mike: Yeah, we are. We’re noticing it. It seems like more than anything, this growth, that there’s more chatter. Sometimes social media gives out a skewed view of how popular a band is, because there are bands likely to have hundreds of thousands, or millions of followers, let’s say, could have an overall much lower engagement than certain bands with less of a following.
An active fan base is so important. We want people to engage, and we want to exchange ideas and connect with people. That’s what it’s all about, it’s about connecting with people. So, for us to see fans really engaging, that’s so awesome. That’s really what we’re going for, is to get people talking, and get people interacting.
I’m not in a position to let me tell you about the ins-and-outs of the world, but I can certainly tell you the ins-and-outs of my life, and that’s what I think all of us are trying to do. Just connect with people based on a little bit of common ground.
Now you’ve achieved a lot in the space of just one EP. Were you expecting that?
Mike: I think we’re all very confident in what we do, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it, just because its such a precarious business. I mean, you don’t go into music to make money, you go into it because you love it. I think that on one hand, all of us were really confident in the performances, and in the songs, and just in the band overall. That being said, its still gratifying to see people latching on to it because that’s something that you can never really predict. You can really put your everything into it and for a lack of a better description, you just kind of just pour your heart and soul into the whole thing, and that’s the most you can do.
What do you think it was? I know that might be a weird question, but I’m sure that you’ve had plenty of time to kind of look back on it. Do you think there’s an individual thing that you guys did, or have done, or an individual entity within the EP that made the people respond to this? Have you guys kind of picked it apart like that?
Mike: I think it’s just the fact that we’re being honest. Its like I think people can really easily determine what’s authentic and what’s not. So, from the beginning, we have tried to be as true to ourselves as possible. What you see is what you get with us. What’s on that EP is exactly what you’re going to get in a live show. I mean granted that a live show can be about a hundred times louder, but we’re all about being us and just being us straight up. Whether that’s in front of ten people or ten thousand people, we’re always The Dives and its always going to be the same show, it’s going to be the same quality, and we believe in having it be that way since the beginning.
Thematically, I have to commend you guys on not kind of going down this death, doom and destruction road that seems to be very trendy at the moment. People are angry at President Donald Trump, and a lot of people are sick of hearing about it. We want to party and have fun. Was it difficult unplugging from all of that?
Mike: Not really, because I think that art should be an escape. Art’s a portal that connects not only people with other people, nowadays, but it connects generations. I mean, we’re still responding to stuff that came out 50 years before, I mean, if you want to go back, recorded sound or something. I mean, look at paintings, we’re responding to stuff that was painted 500, 600 years ago. So it’s kind of a gateway between cultures and time periods. You have to make something that endures. I think you’ve got to transcend that extra bit of trying to be current, by sort of hyper focusing on something that’s trending now, you might get a quick flash in the pan and a good response for the moment, but I don’t think it’ll endure.
You’ve got to go a little bit deeper for that, so the best thing that you can do is just be honest, and that’s what we’re trying to do. Write about what you know. I’m not in a position to let me tell you about the ins-and-outs of the world, but I can certainly tell you the ins-and-outs of my life, and that’s what I think all of us are trying to do. Just connect with people based on a little bit of common ground.
From a fan point of view, people still kind of what to hitch their wagon to the angry vibe kind of thing. So its refreshing as a fan, its just like, “Oh man, he’s talking about partying, you know, he’s talking about girls. I like that stuff, too, and it’s not Donald Trump.”
Mike: Yeah, we’ll we’re not angry here. We’re into playing music that we love and we’re least angry when we’re playing music.
Evan: That’s what we love doing. So, I don’t see the point [in] working yourself up and getting really pissy, and then taking it out on a guitar. Music is something that brings joy to your life, at least to mine, and to Mike’s, and to Jimmy’s, and Sergio’s. So when we get together, it’s all about having fun and that’s kind of all the point, isn’t it? To have fun.
I’d really love to know where the album is at. Have you guys gotten cracking yet?
Mike: There’s no shortage of material. There’s some kind of stuff in the tank, it’s just a matter of how we want to get it out. Whether it’s a series of singles, or maybe another follow up EP. I think a full length is a little bit farther down the line. It’ll come when we think the time’s right, but for now, we’re just focusing on playing live, and that’s what we really love more than anything. Cranking up some Marshalls, and just playing, spreading some love with our best friends.