2014 marks the beginning of a new era. The sophomore LP « Together We Shine » is the culmination of 2 years of hard work and utter chaos. What was initially to be the follow up to 2011’s “Shadows” was completely discarded, and a new vision infused with trance, progressive house and an array of other electronic dance genres was appropriated in the project’s signature sound.
One year into production, John’s hard drive was completely shredded and all of his back up files were error ridden— he was back to square one. Frustrated, dejected and in the midst of abandoning the album, he decided to give the writing process one more try. This collection of 11 tracks, featuring appearances by Dave Keuning (The Killers) on Smile, Starflyer 59 on Honest, and Sarah (Keep Shelly in Athens) on England, is the realization of that endeavor.
Thanks to John / The New Division
We started playing together officially around 2008 in Riverside, CA. The band started off as my bedroom project, and little by little we began to play shows whenever we could find them. By 2010, we had gained a small fan base and decide to release our first EP, followed by « The Rookie » which came out the following year.
What instruments do you each play?
I play guitar, and sing, Brock Woolsey does lead guitars, Janzie plays bass and is in charge of our live sequencing, Mark Michalski plays synths, and recently Alex Gonzales started playing drums for us.
Who would you consider to be some of your biggest influences, either within the music industry, or otherwise?
Some of my biggest influences come from the UK. Most of the music I look up to, or was raised on came specifically from Manchester. In my younger years I was really influenced by Oasis, Blur, and Radiohead, but later on progressed to more electronic styles by acts like Royksopp, New Order, OMD, and several others. Aside from musical influences, I find myself inspired by philosophy and history. A lot of The New Division’s songs are reflective of those subjects.
“Smile” is your new single from Together We Shine , what can you tell us about the album?
As I’ve stated in other interviews, Together We Shine was a challenging album to write due to the fact that there had been a hard drive crash during 2011-2012. I’d lost a whole album’s worth of material that was to be the follow-up to Shadows and Night Escape. It wasn’t so much that the songs were completely lost, rather the project files became corrupt, leaving only midi data. In a sense, this allowed me to re-think and re-structure the songs and start from scratch.
A lot of your stuff is really danceable. What’s some other music you guys typically get down with?
I can’t speak for the other band members as they have their own styles that they prefer, but I typically listen to a lot of house, and trance music. I’m also a big fan of 90s electronica.
What void in the music market did you guys feel you were filling when you started?
When I started The New Division, I’d always felt there wasn’t enough music that was pop and dark at the same time. Everything sounded overtly happy, or if it was somewhat dark it sounded too left-field, and boring. With New Division, the goal was to create a sound that balanced both the happy/pop sound with something dark. I believe New Order and Depeche Mode, and maybe The Cure from time to time were masters at doing this.
Since your live shows are relatively new and you’ve already gotten a lot of positive feedback. How do you see yourselves progressing through the Los Angeles music scene?
Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, so to see yourself progressing through LA is sort of like seeing yourself from 10,000 ft. above the ocean in a tiny raft in the middle of the Atlantic. It doesn’t really mean a whole lot, but it does provide us with the force to keep pushing forward as the whole thing remains a challenge. We’re very blessed with our fans and folks that show us support, but we still have a long ways to go.
How do you guys prepare for a big show? Do you have any ritual that you always have to do for good luck?
Not really. I typically like to be left alone so I can relax a little bit before the show. I don’t really like talking to a lot of people beforehand as it tends to strain my voice.
Do you guys have favorite places where you like to go on tour?
Considering we haven’t really toured a whole lot, I can’t say there’s a favorite place, but so far we’ve really enjoyed playing in Seattle. We had a great crowd up there, and the response was great.
What direction do you see yourselves headed in the upcoming years?
I see New Division going in a darker direction. Our upcoming albums will be a lot more thought out, and the writing process will change quite a bit. I’m growing tired of writing songs in the formula that I’ve used over the past few years, and I’ve already been experimenting with new structures, sounds, and arrangements. I see a lot more emphasis on sampling, versus programming, which I think will give our music a lot more texture than ever.