Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Harare, Zimbabwe based Metal band Dividing The Element. Huge thanks to vocalist/guitarist Chris Van 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?

I’m Chris, and I am the lead vocalist and lead guitarist.

Dividing The Element is a Zimbabwean metal band from the capital, Harare. Myself and Sherlic White formed the band in 2012. Not long after the band’s conception Sherlic emigrated, but because we didn’t want to kill the momentum we had created, we agreed that the band name would belong to me and I would carry on by myself, bearing the torch alone. After a few line-up changes, the band now consists of myself, Archie Chikoti (Lead Guitar), Nick Newbery (Drums) and Mat Sanderson (Bass). We released our self-titled debut album on the 5th of May 2018 while participating in the Zimbabwean leg of one of the biggest underground metal movements to happen: Metal United World Wide. Following that, the album found itself to be among African Metal’s list of ten supremely recommended albums from 2008 to 2018.

How did you come up with your band name?

My memory is a bit fuzzy on this, but I think it came about as a result of mixing two types of music together. And also, metal is an element, something like that.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I am a fourth generation Zimbabwean. I have lived here my entire life. There was once a thriving rock scene in Zimbabwe pre-1980, but after Zimbabwean independence, things changed, and the popularity of rock music slowly began to die out. So, the metal scene here now is very much in its infancy, but it has definitely grown, and it has been very rewarding to watch the micro-developments from the frontlines.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our latest release is a single called ‘Pakaipa’. You can check it out on pretty much all of the streaming platforms.

Who have been your greatest influences?

In terms of the sound that DTE produces, it’s quite difficult to narrow that down specifically. But if I were to try loosely, I’d say there are influences of rock, Zimbabwean folk and metal.

What first got you into music?

For me personally, I think listening to Nirvana and Metallica 20 years ago inspired me to want to play music. I’m into more extreme stuff now, but at the time, I remember really liking the raw emotion in Kurt Cobain’s voice and the musical complexity of Metallica.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Last Year’s Tragedy (Kenya) and Kamikaze Test Pilots (UK).

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Wacken Open Air. As someone who lives in Africa where there are not very many major metal festivals to speak of, playing there would be a dream come true. I would even settle for just being there.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

I can’t recall receiving any gifts from fans at all to be honest, much less something weird. Although if I’m wrong, and it’s just that I don’t remember, then I hope they can accept my humble apology. I also really hope I thanked them for it, especially if they see this interview.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

It would definitely be thank you for the support. It’s been a long, hard road and hopefully there’s still much of it to travel, but without the support we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

There’s actually quite a few I’d like to bring back, but since I can only pick one, I have to say Chris Cornell.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I love that it provides me with a means of mirroring my thoughts and feelings through lyrics and melodies that people can connect with. I could say I hate all the challenges that go with it, but then again… I’ve discovered that it is usually those very challenges that are responsible for my personal growth. So then does that count? I don’t know.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

I think it would be that streaming services play such a primary role in supplying artists with a means of revenue. Although I suspect now, with the Coronavirus, a lot of artists are actually grateful for streaming services.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Sacrament” by Lamb of God.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I really like Vinyl. There’s something about the experience of putting a record on that is more satisfying than the other mediums. They’re also fun to look at, especially if there’s a large collection. I also like the old school sound they produce.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

I think Miombo Magic Music Festival 2016.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Looking at me now you’d never believe it, but possibly kick boxing. I was actually really good at it before I traded it in for guitar. I was the best kicker in my club, I could even do the splits. Needless to say, not anymore.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Kurt Cobain, Socrates, Jordan Peterson, Gandhi and Chuck Norris.

What’s next for the band?

Well, thanks to the Coronavirus… not a lot, at least in terms of live shows anyway. But writing new material has been on the forefront of my mind.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

If you want to connect with us, the best way to do that is on Facebook. But you can find the music on:

Google Play/Youtube

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

It’s in the name isn’t it? Surely it’s a cake? We unfortunately don’t get them here, and we never have. So it’s something I only know of from TV…

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Yes, you’re welcome, and thank you for your time.

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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