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Interview: Divide And Dissolve Talk Politics and Resistance

Interview: Divide And Dissolve Talk Politics and Resistance

Fluffy / Thursday 6th September, 2018 1:26PM

Divide and Dissolve have been making some serious waves in Melbourne's underground since dropping their scorching debut Basic in 2017, casting low end-laden, tense soundscapes into the ears of apocalypse-ready listeners. Earlier this year the duo returned with their follow-up offering Abomination, an eight track sonic journey which expands on the band's foreboding atmospherics. They landed in Aotearoa ahead of this week's national tour supporting the widely-championed Unknown Mortal Orchestra, which is currently marching across the country [UPDATE 14/09/18: Divide and Dissolve are returning for a headline tour in October and November]. Fluffy sat down with members Takiaya Reed and Sylvie Nehill to chat about their creative collaborations, political thoughts, and the powerful video for their recent track 'Resistance'...

I’m looking forward to seeing you play with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. How did you Divide and Dissolve meet each other?

S: We met through our very, very dear friend Jana, who’s a visual artist and we both lived with them. We just met and basically started playing music together straight away.

I first discovered Divide and Dissolve through the video clip for 'Resistance' which is awesome. What gave you the idea to do that?

T: I was just talking to my friend. She’s this amazing punk and she’s older then us and we really admire her and she’s just like “punk is so political and also punks are the biggest trolls.” I was like “oh my god, you’re so right!”. It was all pretty natural and we met this person on tour who was just talking about how their ancestors ate Captain Cook for dinner.

It was just like “oh yeah, of course”. We were both connected with our music and our politics and how we feel about things. We were both really creative and then boom! A music video.

Do you find that people naysaying like that [online] translates into real life often?

S: I think that kind of opinion comes from real life. I think it’s easier to speak up online when you’re not face to face with someone so I think you get deluged a little more on real life but, then again right wing white supremacists are amassing to protest as well in Australia. So I think the sentiment is definitely real but it’s so much easier to just troll some people online. I think there are people that troll for the hell of it, but that shit’s real as well.

Have you had any confrontations about it in person?

T: Yeah, definitely. But it’s all good and also it’s cool. Like there’s people who are against it but when we’re playing our shows, most people are there in support of us, so it doesn't really reach us. By the time it’s gotten up to us, we’re like “ok cool” and we feel super supported.

S: People were threatening violence and stuff but they just didn’t show up. They just didn’t show.

Speaking of white supremacists, recently in New Zealand there’s been a lot of talk about censorship vs freedom of speech. What’s your take on that? Were you involved in any of the protesting of those guys [alt-right duo Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux] being in Australia?

T: No, we weren’t involved. We were recently out of town. We think it’s really important for people to be protesting. But I feel like it’s awesome that you can go to the protests when you are able to, which makes it sustainable for others and I love that. We can’t be across everything but we can support if we can. I’m really excited for people to be against white supremacy.

S: I feel that it sucks that someone like Chelsea Manning is being banned from coming to Australia to speak, when these other white supremacists are being welcomed by the politicians and the government.

It’s pretty powerful how you can group people together to get some shit done online. Like with this prison strike that’s going on in the states, people are able to organise and do these call ins and stuff because of social media.

I saw a video of two sign language interpreters collaborating with you, to make your album more accessible to deaf people which I think is really awesome. How did you get in contact with them?

T: Haha well, one night, I was out partying and I ran into my friend Bethany and also their sibling Charis and I was just like “oh my gosh, we should do something together” [chuckles of endearment]. It was really late at night and I was really happy. Both of us have always been super excited [about that collaboration] because we’ve encountered a few deaf people who’ve been like “this music is awesome! I can feel it and experience it” and we both had wanted to do this so we just did it. It took a lot of time and energy…

S: Bethany and Charis and Takiaya put a lot of hours into translating the album.

Do they come along when you play shows?

T: We’re actually playing a show on October 5th at Acne in Melbourne and November 3rd for the FBI 15th birthday party but yeah, it’s just been really awesome to make our music more accessible to the deaf community and truly develop a deeper appreciation for the lack of access, and how important it is into putting a lot of love and care into making something more accessible. I feel like we’ve learned a lot from this process.

One more question, how did you come across Unknown Mortal Orchestra? Are you friends with them or was it a case of mutual artistic respect?

T: Oh, they contacted us and we’re like “hey” and we were like “HEY!”.

S: We haven't met yet, we’re gonna meet them for the first time today.

T: We’re really excited they seem so so nice!

Divide and Dissolve are supporting Unknown Mortal Orchestra's tour of Aotearoa, which continues tonight at Dunedin's Glenroy Auditorium, on Friday 7th September at Wellington's The Hunter Lounge, and Saturday 8th September at Auckland Town Hall.


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