I Divide are explosive newcomers within in the UK record scene. This unassuming UK five-piece has been blowing away audiences at various major festivals after winning the Red Bull Bedroom Jam in 2012. With the release of their debut album Last One Standing and the success that followed, I decided to set up an email interview with guitarist Josh Wreford. We discussed their recent success, their debut album and touring life.
MEB: Upon the recent release of your debut album, you guys have received so much love and support. How does it feel to have all these people praising your music left, right and centre?
Josh Wreford: It’s incredible. We’ve been waiting to put the album out for a long time and it’s amazing to see it getting so much love. We’ve been receiving thousands of messages from people saying they can’t stop listening to it! Obviously as a band there’s so many different aspects involved from touring, to music videos, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to the music!!
I remember reading about you guys in an issue of Rocksound shortly after you guys won the Red Bull Bedroom Jam in 2012. What was that experience like?
Amazing. We’ve praised them a lot as a great “foot in the door” to the music industry. It gave us an opportunity to prove what we can do and to play some of the UK’s biggest music festivals including Download Festival.
You guys progressed to play some major festivals like Reading and Leeds and Download. What was it like being this young and upcoming band and getting the opportunity to play at these festivals?
We get asked a lot about what our highlights have been as a band, and those festivals you mentioned come up a lot. Last year we got the incredible opportunity to play the 2nd stage at Download Festival! I can’t explain how much that meant to us. I remember my Dad taking me and my brother to Download for my 14th birthday and remember thinking how it would be a dream to play one of those massive stages!
You guys are performing in a genre that is dominated by bands like You Me at Six and Biffy Clyro. Does that put any pressure on you to create music that can match and rival these bands that have been performing for several years already and have garnered such an enormous fan base?
It’s pretty much impossible to be in a band and not play a genre that isn’t dominated by larger bands. We find that some of these bands can go on to accomplish what those bands you mentioned have, [and that] gives us hope for the future. We just do our best to write the best songs that we can, and to put on the best live shows that we’re capable of. Hopefully one day we can be one of those bands that people refer to as a ‘king of UK rock’, but this industry is definitely a hugely competitive one!
I have to ask this question, simply out of curiosity, but what is the song “27 Down” about and what kind of message are you trying to send with it?
The song “27 Down” is about the Sandy Hook primary school shooting that happened in America, where a pupil walked into the school and shot 26 kids/teachers dead and then took his own life. It’s an absolutely tragic tale, but the song is more focused towards how gun laws were discussed in the media following the incident. I don’t have a huge amount of political knowledge of America, and I will never claim to be an expert, but I remember watching an interview with a politician afterwards where they were saying, “if the school had more guns, it wouldn’t have had as many casualties.” It’s a very “fight fire with fire” way of looking at things and obviously made me angry enough to be inspired to write about it.
How did you guys end up collaborating with Rebecca Need-Menear on this song? She adds such an amazing dynamic to the track.
We met Rebecca when they supported us on our headline tour last year. Anavae are a great band and it all very much came about because of good timing really. They happened to be in the same studio at the same time as us, and she happened to pop in whilst we were recording that track. We asked if she fancied doing a few lines of vocals and that was that. :)
“27 Down” has emerged as a pretty big favourite off the record. Do you think that without Rebecca, it would have not been as successful?
Who knows really? We’ve received a huge amount of positive feedback for that track. Hopefully we’ll be able to release it in the future with a music video and get her involved.
One of my favourite songs has to be “Look At Me Now”. What is the story behind that song?
That’s another of my favourite tracks off the album. It started after a gig in Newcastle where Henry [Selley, guitarist] and I were just messing around at a friend’s house on a piano and acoustic guitar. We started to just play the chords and I started improvising a few lyrics. It instantly clicked and we felt pretty emotionally connected to the song. It all came together really quickly. Sometimes that’s how the best songs come together. You just get an instant feeling about it.
What were some big influences on the writing and recording of Last One Standing?
We listen to a massive variety of music in the band. We took so many different ideas and inspirations from so many different places. From pop music to metal. I think that’s what gives us our sound. I also say to people we’re a heavy rock band writing pop songs. I think that’s the key to the catchiness of a lot of our tracks!
What would you guys say that your motto as a band is?
Work hard, party hard! We’re usually the most outrageous band on any tour we go on. But we have an incredible work ethic. The amount of hours that go into writing and promoting ourselves sometimes gets ridiculous, but hopefully it will all pay off!
You guys are going on tour soon with Blitz Kids. Touring tends to be pretty rough for bands so what are some of your survival methods when on tour?
We toured with Funeral For A Friend last year for a month whilst none of us had any money whatsoever. We somehow managed to find someone at the gig’s house to crash at every night on the whole tour just by putting a sign out at our merch table asking for a place to crash. We’ve actually made a load of good friends around the country by doing that. This tour we have a few hotels booked but we’re actually still crashing out at friends’ houses after a few shows because sometimes it’s a lot more comfortable and we get the chance to make breakfast and all that in the morning. There’s so much to know about touring. I think it really is something you get better at over time and more efficient.
You guys are pretty tight with your fans. What have been some of your favourite fan interaction moments?
We love interacting with our fans. We always make a massive effort to all come out after every show and meet all the fans, take pictures and sign anything they like! We always try and take big group photos with fans. We have a few who are following us to every date on the Blitz Kids tour and are bringing us gifts. It’s awesome to have fans who are that committed to our music!
Last question: if you only had one show to play as a band, where would you play it and why?
I think it would be headlining Download Festival. As I mentioned before, we have so much history there from going there as kids up to playing there the last two years. They’ve been really supportive of us so I think that would be an incredible way to go out!