Friday, March 17, 2006

Mini-Interview: Division Day

It’s hard to find a quick and easy way to sum up Division Day that does them justice, since no past or present bands come to mind -- either immediately or over time. But two self-descriptions on the group’s myspace page try their damnedest at it.

One is more figurative with “Sounds Like: Speeding through the swamp at night in a wood-panelled Buick Skylark.”

While the other requires a big, unfoldy musical map to properly navigate: “Match the lyrical darkness of a more imagistic Leonard Cohen with the furious drumming of Brendan Canty (Fugazi), the tasteful basslines of John Stirrat (Wilco), and the supple, atmospheric guitar shards of Nick McCabe (Verve) and you might come close to approximating the band's sound.”

However you choose to describe them, the local indie rock act is in the middle of playing a free weekly residency at The Echo each Monday night this month and will self-release their first full-length album Beartrap Island any day now.

We decided to check in with Division Day’s guitarist Ryan Wilson and singer Rohner Segnitz earlier this week to talk about this, that, and, oh yes, the other thing.

How did you all first meet and start playing together?

Ryan: I met Kevin while vacationing in the Bahamas. We both wanted to write songs that sounded like Peach Daquiris, so we called Seb and Rohner and asked them what exactly was in a Peach Daquiri.

Rohner: Well, Seb and I met at Guitar Center where we were both buying B.C. Rich "Sovereign Metal Elephant Lord" starter packs. We had a dueling solo battle, and Seb won, so I was like, “Yo, your riff's are HOT!”

When we were leaving the store, we found Kevin panhandling for change. He was convinced he was a mallard. Ryan just showed up one day, and he won't leave. (There's a rumor floating around that Seb and Kev and I grew up together, and then Kev met Ry in college, but it's bullshit.)

It's hard to sum up your sound into a quick, bite-sized catchphrase because you really don't wear your influences on your sleeve. But... if you were to write them down on your sleeve, what would it read?

Ryan: My sleeve would probably say: "Rohner sucks." but if I had to write band names on it, it would probably be like "MC Hammer" but then that would be crossed-out and then other things like Glenn Branca, Sonic Youth, David Sylvian, The Church, and John Cale would be on there. Probably more crossed-out stuff, too.

Rohner: Staind, Nickelback, Seven Mary Three, and Jason Mraz! (Actually, that's just Ryan's sleeve. Mine would read Boards of Canada, Richard Buckner, Boards of Richard, Richard Canada, and Bartok.)

I swear I heard that you recorded your new album Beartrap Island up north in SF at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Studios. That’s right, right?

Ryan: Well, we actually recorded it at Scott Solter's home studio, which he calls 15th Street. But then he had to move out due to landlord difficulties, so we made the second half of the album at some makeshift studio across from the Cow Palace in Daly City.

Rohner: Radio Free Silver Lake is in the vicious rumor business...

Ryan: We mixed it at Tiny Telephone though, which was a lot of fun. Mostly because they have a PS2 there, and that PS2 has GTA San Andreas. Yes!

Rohner: Recording in SF was awesome. It was refreshing and galvanizing to relocate in manic little spurts. New environs yield new moods and the mood informs the music.

How’s it different from your two EPs?

Ryan: I think this one is put together as a more cohesive whole -- not in a concept record sort of way, although it could probably work that way on some levels. But basically, it's just better than the other stuff. It has more good.

Rohner: Way more double kick drum. Not really, actually, but boy do i wish. (Next time!) The songs are more precise, more at ease with themselves. Stronger melody. Much ripping guitar. More blood!

When’s the album coming out?

Ryan: Unofficially March 27th - just in time for the last residency show at The Echo with The Movies, Golden Arms, and LA Riots. (Psst! Free Show!)

You have plans to tour beyond SoCal for it after San Francisco’s Noise Pop and a few dates around here, yes?

Ryan: Yes, definitely. We're going up to Canada and back at the end of April with our friends, Birdmonster, who we played with last Monday at The Echo.

Rohner: I've actually booked a jet-only tour that the band doesn't know about yet. One show in each of the following locales: Norway, South Dakota, the Sizzler restaurant in Santa Monica, and The South Pole.

I don't blame you for skipping town. I mean, what’s with all this rain we’ve been having lately?

Ryan: Man, I don't know! It was so COLD last night, too! I had to go out and buy a space heater!

Rohner: Dude, good question. This rain can seriously eff right the eff off.

Last question... What’s your favorite band in LA right now?

Ryan: The Primos.


That's it. Thanks for your time, guys.

Division Day's next show is on Monday, March 20th at The Echo, which is located at 1822 Sunset Blvd in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Doors open at 8:30, it's 21+ and free, and Bipolar Bear, Serena Maneesh, and Eagle and Talon are opening.


Blogger shannon said...

nice interview! I love this band, I can't wait to hear the cd.

10:53 PM  
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3:28 PM  

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