Alternative rock/pop band June Divided are an interesting band. Having formed on the back of an ad placed on Craig’s List – the band have accomplished a lot in their young career. From being featured in Alternative Press Magazine to playing at SXSW for a second year running to wrapping up recording their debut album – the world is certainly at the feet of the little band from Philadelphia. Meghan Player and Emma Dean chatted to Chris [Guitar], Keith [Drums] and Lenny [Bass] during their time at SXSW.
Standard question to kick things off, who would you say are the biggest influences – both on the band and sound wise?
Chris – Well, I would have to say mine is Thrice, Jimmy Eat World..
Keith – Yeah, Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters..
Lenny – Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, Ivory Line. I guess, everyone from the band has different influences that bring us all together.
How did the band start out?
Chris – Funny story, actually. Melissa and I started writing music together throughout college – we started out with film and commercial scores – trying to get work for that is tough [laughs], so we started the band for fun. We put an ad on Craig’s List – found Keith.
Keith – Yeah, I was looking on Craig’s List for maybe two years, just trying to play with people. I was in bands in the past, and it was killing me playing by myself, so I met these guys.
Chris – 8 bass players later, we finally found Lenny.
Chris – Yeah, he’s kind of like the Spinal Tap of bass players. [laughs]
Lenny – I had actually started off managing the band, and then recently – as of this past December – the previous bass player left the band, and I sort of filled in. I’m sort of doing double duty now as the bass player and manager. It’s funny, people come up and say ‘Oh, is Lenny here?’ and I’m like ‘Oh yeah, I’m Lenny’ and they sort of double-take and say ‘Oh hey! Weren’t you playing bass before?’ [laughs]
Keith – He does it all. He’s a man of wonders. [laughs] He’s a dreamy dude.
Your currently in the studio working on your debut album..
Chris – We actually just finished it.
And that’s due in May or June?
Chris – Yeah, June.
What can you tell us about that?
Chris– It’s a lot different to the EP, but it still sounds like June Divided. It’s a lot darker, but it’s still kind of fun.
Keith – We just wrote whatever we felt. We weren’t looking to write a certain genre. We just went with it.
Lenny – I think the approach to this album though, was more, of that ‘live’ kind of sound and feel. When we went to the studio, most of the instruments that we used were our own – the ones that we use on stage. That was so we could get that sound.
Chris – We can play every single thing on that record, we can do ourselves live – which was a big part of it.
Lenny – It’s really raw, not over produced.
Keith – What you’re going to hear on the album is definitely what you will hear live. We want people to go to our shows and say ‘they sound exactly the same on the record!’.
You came to SXSW last year as well, how much has the band changed in that time?
Keith – We had one showcase last year, and we have five this year, so..last year was kind of like testing the waters…
Chris – I’m glad we did it like that though. If this was our first year, we couldn’t have done what we did.
Keith – I think last year too, the band had actually been playing shows for like four months, and then we came out here and did SX. So the band itself, is a lot more comfortable being on stage and we’ve matured as well. We’re more comfortable with each other as well.
Would you recommend SXSW to other bands?
Chris – Definitely. If you can make it down here, then do it.
Keith– Even if you’re not playing. And you’re just a music lover.. We found some guy that does glass blowing. He was on our shuttle. We were like, ‘so what do you do in music?’, and he was like ‘Nothing, I just blow glass in California. But I’m out here for the music every year.’
Do you have any advice for bands that might want to head to SXSW in the future?
Chris – Good shoes. Know where you’re going to eat next. Because the first time we were here, we spent the entire time wandering around, trying to find a restaurant to have something to eat.
Keith– Basically, plan out your day. In the morning, make a schedule.
Are there any bands that you’ve seen whilst you’ve been here, that you really like?
Chris – A band that we played with during one of the showcases called, Lion in the Mane – they were awesome.
Lenny – We got to see We Are The In Crowd and States play. Last night, we saw The Used play an acoustic set as well..
Keith– Last year we got to see The Almost, and we were hoping that they would be back here again. But we were pretty bummed out that they’re not here.
Chris – We’ve been so busy this time around, we haven’t really had a chance to go and see anyone. But when we have a day off, we’ll go out and just hang around – see what we can find.
A huge thank you to the band for taking the time to chat with us at SXSW.
For more information about June Divided, check out: http://www.junedivided.com/