INTERVIEW: Divided Heaven

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey there! We’re great. In the van en route to Flagstaff, Arizona.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “1983”?

1983 is–we often joke about this–perhaps not our best song but it is certainly our favorite. Lyrically, my aim was to capture the disillusionment and detachment I felt from myself after I had made significant progress in tabling and managing some of my mental health issues. I think of it as having Stockholm Syndrome with your own shortcomings; once I was feeling better I was also feeling like I was missing a part of myself, as if I created a bond with my own mental issues that we’re keeping my figuratively captive. It’s the conversation I was having with myself for a year. Musically, I feel it identifies Divided Heaven honestly and wonderfully: catchy and fun guitar riffs, powerful drums and driving in-the-pocket bass. I fucking love this song and it’s been a joy thus far sharing it with people.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We already did. You can see the lyric video directed by the great Doug Dean right here.

The single comes off your new album Cold War – what’s the story behind the title?

COLD WAR is meant to represent the the personification of war and war’s personification of self. The background and undercurrent of the real Cold War exemplified the manipulative behavior of East and West vying to be the leading world superpower; and we saw that play out in literal war, diplomatically, and strategically around the world and in our everyday lives. Over 50 years of constant threat takes a toll on the human psyche. I have memories of being in elementary school in the 80’s doing bomb-safety drills, getting under our desks, head in our hands. Many of the songs touch upon that thread of how such a seemingly passive yet significant mental weight can affect our lives; how we internalize/personalize that conflict. The same can be said for living in the age of terrorism, the rise of Trumpism in America, etc. I titled the record COLD WAR because these songs represent that fight; the human struggle.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing for this record was great. I started writing in 2015 and kept writing until last year. I was so inspired from being on tour for over 2 years that I had plenty to put my pen to paper about. Our drummer, Nic, and I took our time and compiled over 20 songs. From there we narrowed it down. The recording process, however…honestly, it wasn’t the smoothest experience. Recording in analog means you set yourself to a higher standard which sometimes I couldn’t meet. That coupled with busy touring schedules of myself and Charlie, respectively, made this process much longer than it should have been.

What was it like to work with Charlie Stavish and how did that relationship develop?

I met Charlie at a dinner party in Los Feliz about 8 years ago and I’m been bugging him ever since. Charlie produced our previous album, YOUNGBLOOD. We shared the same vision for COLD WAR; record and mix in analog, craft a unique sounding record that will stand us apart from our peers, and really capture the vibe of full-band Divided Heaven.

How much did he get to influence the album?

Charlie has good ear for effects and setting the vibe. Simple things such as tactful and effective reverb and delay, adding synths instead of guitars, and just letting the natural flow of the songs take precedence really made this record different for us, and I give Charlie the credit for steering the ship that way. I know I didn’t make it easy for him sometimes.

What is it about the 90s that you find so fascinating?

The 90s? Not much to be honest with you. The 80s on the other hand still fascinate me. The movies, the music, the fashion….ok, maybe not the fashion, haha. My favorite band in Motley Crue and they not only exemplified the 80s, they also evolved as the decade progressed.

How would this album showcase a new direction for the band?

COLD WAR is us, not just me. Sounds simple but that is a significant departure from the previous two DIVIDED HEAVEN full-lengths. This record is full-band DIVIDED HEAVEN, written together, recorded together rock ‘n roll record meant to obliterate the notion of DIVIDED HEAVEN as just me, Jeff, the singer-songwriter.

What aspect of hope did you get to explore on this record?

It’s easy to give a trite answer to a question like this and I fear doing so, because it’s unfair and wrong to generalize my struggles with those around me, even if I write about the problems facing those around me, my loved ones, my family and friends  I’ll just say that the lyrical themes on COLD WAR really don’t offer an aspect of hope; rather, they portray my struggles, my demons, my problems, my inability to be there for those closest to me. Much of what I wrote about will make some people very uncomfortable. All I could do was be honest. There is one glimmer of hope, though, on the record; the last song ‘The Getaway’ which I initially wrote about my apprehension to get married. Through the mixing process of the song I came to realize that the song was my heart telling my brain to take the plunge and the song reflects that breakthrough and–to me (and my wife) anyway–that celebration.

What else is happening next in Divided Heaven’s world?

We are touring all Summer long. Catch us if you can in a town near you!

Listen HERE

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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