EMQ’s with ELYSIAN DIVIDE
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Hertfordshire/London, UK based Metal band Elysian Divide. Huge thanks to them for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Elysian Divide is: Atashi Tada (Vocals), Jon Sick (Guitar), James McGrenery (Guitar), Troy Wicks (Bass) and Michael O’Neill (Drums). We started in 2016 intending to be a symphonic metal band. After a few songs got written and we started playing live, we naturally became what we are now which is more melodic and heavy in the vein of old In Flames or Machine Head with a big In This Moment influence.
How did you come up with your band name?
The band name was brought up over several beers and throwing around names. These were either already taken or very daft. We could very well nearly have been called The Smurfs of Terribleness but that was quickly discounted.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We are from Hertfordshire and London. The metal scene is pretty vibrant. There is everything from doom (a Herts favourite), thrash and even some black metal. Atashi is originally from Riga, Latvia, where the underground music scene is pretty versatile and active with a few rock/metal bands being well known internationally such as rock band Brainstorm and death metal band MĀRA.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
We released the Beast EP in October 2019.
(Check it out here: www.elysiandivide.bandcamp.com/album/beast).
We are really pleased with the reviews it has had so far and it was very much a footnote in the history of the band as it defined a true direction for the band over the previous “Face Behind The Mask” album as well as showing the versatility in songwriting. On the 10th of July we are releasing an official music video as a part of the EP promotion for the track ‘Loser’, teaser is available on our FB page.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Every band member has their own range of influences. Vocally, Atashi takes a lot of influence from The Slot, a Russian band that she is a major fan of. The rest of us run the entire metal gamut from black metal through to grunge, some examples include In This Moment, Pantera, Machine Head, Insomnium and In Flames.
What first got you into music?
Jon Sick: I was always into music. I used to go to Irish clubs a lot with my parents and would come home and try to try and play what I heard on my keyboard. I spent a lot of those younger years going through various music styles, from country to pop and found my home in metal. And yes, I was one of those guys who bought Chesney Hawkes’ album!
Atashi: I’ve been doing music since I was 6 starting with music school on classical piano and academic vocals but gradually moving into much heavier music preferences over the years, music is a great way to meet great people and collaborate with them, also being on stage fulfils many of my self-expression and adrenalin needs😊.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Jon Sick: It’s too hard to choose one. Personally, it would be Max Cavalera, Benji from Skindred and Vader
Atashi: Definitely Slipknot and Apocalyptica but I am open to many artists.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Jon Sick: Bloodstock Open Air. I’ve been going every year and I love it. It would be an honour to play that festival.
Atashi: 70000 Tons of Metal on a cruise ship, looks pretty epic and I am sure it’s a great fun to be a part of that metal madness.
James: I’m with Atashi on this one, a cruise ship metal festival is the gig of dreams! Other than that, I’d say one of the bigboy European ones, like Wacken Open Air or Hellfest
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Jon Sick: In a previous band, a girl gave me her wig. It was a very random occurrence and I really don’t know why she did it. She handed it to me, said “That’s for you, great show!” and walked off. She did have her own hair; it was just really tied up.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Rock ‘ard, Rock ‘eavy, Rock animal!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Jon Sick: Dimebag Darrell. That guy had way more to do!
Atashi: Freddie Mercury – he’s just too good to be dead!
James: Probably Vitek of Decapitated – far too young and talented a drummer to lose his life in a tour bus accident.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Jon Sick: There’s everything to enjoy and nothing to hate. Apart from when it’s time to pack down after a show and drive everything home and unpack it all. That is the only bad part.
Atashi: I enjoy the creative process and releasing something that makes people happier/inspired, music always made my life better, so I am hoping my music makes someone’s life better or helps getting them through something too. Sometimes I hate politics around musicians and the industry.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Jon Sick: Try and get people to see what not supporting their favourite artists by buying recorded product is doing. For small bands, buying music is usually the lifeblood of any band. Making money back off a run of CD’s enables you to produce more music. For bigger bands, buying recorded product is the lifeblood of smaller bands being noticed. It’s all part of the ecosystem. Damage one part and all of it suffers.
Atashi: Local music industry requires a major change, there must be big government funding to all live music venues so that people can actually get paid including musicians which almost never happens unless you are an extremely famous band.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Jon Sick: For me, it’s Skid Row’s “Slave To The Grind”. There’s everything on that record. Every song is powerful, well written, the recording is just second to none, it’s probably my favourite.
Atashi: Marilyn Manson – “Mechanical Animals”, this album pretty much got me into heavy music and I still love it.
James: The one album that always will make me stop and pay attention is “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” by Mayhem. It’s just a perfect storm of aggression and atmosphere.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Jon Sick: I never left CD’s and Vinyl. I did leave cassettes quite simply as the cheaper made Type II tapes just didn’t last. But I still have and still buy CD’s and vinyl.
Atashi: I liked CD’s but these days I don’t even have an equipment to play them, so would go for digital.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Jon Sick: Pretty much any gig at Club 85 in Hitchin.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Jon Sick: I always held the belief that trying to do well in music is a heavily weighted game. Even back in school I realised that wanting to “make it” as a musician is all well and good. But if that doesn’t work out, you need to fall back on something. So, while I was doing the music thing, I became a software developer. For a while I dabbled in making computer games for Windows and Nintendo systems. So, I guess if I weren’t a musician, I’d probably still be making games.
Atashi: I’d be director of the world 😊
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Jon Sick: Elysian Divide. Those guys know how to party properly!
Atashi: I don’t like people, I’d invite 5 party animals
Jon Sick: So, it would be a party with us lot and 5 random animals? I like where this is going!
What’s next for the band?
Currently we are writing material for the next album which will be a full length. There are about 8 songs ready to go into rehearsal and demo and we are aiming to get the recording process started as soon as lockdown is finally over. Also have an exciting release coming soon with several remixes for Beast EP songs all made by different musicians and in totally different genres.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Jon Sick: I have no idea. I haven’t had one in years. In fact, the last time I had a Jaffa Cake, Wagon Wheels were still in production. I’m partial to a dark chocolate digestive myself!
Atashi: They are the food of Gods!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
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