OCTOBER 6th 2017


Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Music Entertainment Worldwide, we are here with Iris Divine, who are about to release "The Static and the Noise” Oct 6th.

Interview By: Metal Mom

Okay, first question I need to ask, is – what is progressive, I get all kinds of answers when I am checking it out, but since you are progressive/hard rock metal, I am hoping you can explain it to me.

I think that the word progressive can be used either as an adjective or to describe an actual genre. Ordinarily when people think about progressive metal they are referring to a genre. Usually progressive metal entails things like odd meters nontraditional song structures and some level of musical technicality.  Those attributes probably apply to the music of Iris Divine, but one thing that we don't do a lot of is extended soloing. There is a misconception that progressive metal tends to be all about endless soloing and musical passages without regard for strong songwriting, but I don't think that that is necessarily true at all. Some bands may operate in that way but as far as I'm concerned, the great bands of the genre have written amazing songs while still finding ways to work in musical sophistication. As an adjective, progressive could simply be defined as something that is outside the norm or a change the status quo in some way or that literally progresses a genre or style of music by introducing new elements.  Hopefully there is some of that as well!

The Static and the Noise, is your new album, how did you come up with this name, because I am pretty sure your album isn’t all static and noise.

The Static And The Noise was originally the title of one of the songs on the album, that I had come up with. There was something about the sound of that phrase that really appealed to me and so I introduced it to the other guys in the band. After some deliberation, everybody seems to agree that it was a cool sounding name. When I think about the meaning of that phrase I think about it both literally and symbolically. Literally, the album is full of (hopefully) really good noise haha!  But figuratively or metaphorically I was thinking about a lot of the lyrics on the album which relate to states of chaos, confusion, and trying to make sense of a difficult inner or outer world.  In that sense, the static and noise are reflective of all of the things competing for our attention, that we need to work through in order to reach some point of clarity.

What can we expect to hear from this album?

We are really proud of this album. People can expect to hear something that in some ways is very reflective of the progressive metal genre, and in other ways is quite different from most other bands that share that label. The album is kind of like a roller coaster, in that it takes a lot of emotional and musical twists and turns. However, one thing that I was very conscious of during the writing process, was to make sure that every song had some sort of hook, chorus, or melodic payoff.  Stylistically and compositionally, the album covers a lot of ground and we pull from influences from pop, alternative, electronica and even a little bit of a funk, while staying grounded in a heavy rock/metal context. It's very melodic with hopefully some really memorable moments and attention to detail, and the songs reveal more of themselves with each listen.  There are actually relatively few guitar solos and extended musical passages, and the style of Iris Divine is really rooted in songwriting and the musical interplay between the three of us.

Tell me about the process of writing and recording a song, you write the lyrics, then what is the process to putting it down on the cd?

The songwriting process typically starts with me. I will generally work out the riffs, chord progressions and major ideas for a song. At that point, I will typically create some sort of a rough demo at home and present it to the other guys in the band. The other guys in the band will then give input and will start to work on it, making arrangements changes or incorporating other suggestions along the way. Typically, the lyrics are the last piece of the puzzle and when I'm in the writing phase, the vocal melodies are just captured by humming or nonsense syllables. I then go back and I will try to create lyrics that seem to fit the mood and feel of the song while also working with the melodic elements. One thing that is worth noting is that even though I wrote all of the lyrics on the last album, and most of this one, on this album our drummer Kris actually wrote the lyrics to the last song on the album.  Putting it down on CD is sort of the last step in the process and does not occur until we have really finalized not only the musical elements of the song but the overall vision of the song. That is where the electronic elements of Iris Divine also play an important role in helping to shape the mood and atmosphere of each song. Once that is all clarified we begin the recording process to put it down on CD.

When you are putting a song together, does each member create their own music, like Brian does his own bass riffs, and Kris comes up with his own drum blasts?

As I mentioned above the songwriting process typically begins with me, and I have a generally good sense of what I would like the song to sound like when I'm working on my demos. That having been said, Brian will create his own basslines, and Kris will take the very basic drums that I may have on a demo, and twist/ turn/ improve and tweak them to come up with a drum part that is very much his own.  Though I have opinions and suggestions for bass and drum parts, there is no way that Iris Divine would sound the way that it does without the invaluable contributions of bass and drums in writing creative and exciting parts to support the overall composition, not to mention Kris' awesome keys and programming.  The bass and drum parts on this album are really killer.

How do you manage to come up with different guitar riffs, considering there are just so many, and with all the bands out there, there has to be some similarity among riffs?

There is always going to be some similarity between bands, and I think it is perfectly fine to draw inspiration from bands and guitarists that influence you. The key, I think, is to try and take those influences and add something of yourself in order to create something that ultimately is unique to you.  For me, there is no scientific process to working on guitar riffs. I will simply pick up the guitar and start to explore until I hit upon some elements of that intrigues me. It could be a rhythmic element, a melodic element, or some combination of notes and chords that just grabs my ear.  Because my musical influences are rooted in metal, I really love guitar riffs in general, and really try my best to create guitar riffs that are powerful and interesting.  One of the greatest compliments from friends and musicians I respect, is when they hear a riff and say "yeah, that definitely sounds like you".

Where, and who recorded/mixed “The Static and the Noise”?

The album was recorded in three different places. We did drums with Drew Mazurek, Guitars with Kevin Gutierrez, and vocals at Zinkferd studios with my good friend Farhad Hossain. I guess technically we could say that the album was recorded in four places, because Brian did his bass parts at home!  The album was mixed and mastered by Drew Mazurek, with unbelievable attention to detail, and we are thrilled with the way that the sound turned out.  In headphones, you really get a sense of the dimensionality of the atmospheric keys/ programming, and the intertwined 'voices' of guitar/ bass/ drums.

Who created the artwork for your album?

Fernando Ruiz at Visual Decay, with overall art concept and direction by our drummer Kris.

Where did the inspiration come for the art?

Kris presented a number of conceptual ideas to the band and we finally agreed on something that we felt was somewhat minimalist and powerful. I think it's cool that when you look at the album art it could be interpreted as an on/ off switch, or as a binary contrast between one and zero.

Do you personally have a favourite song on the album? If so why that one.

That's a tough one… I think I am most partial to the song Fractures. I'm not sure that's my favorite song, but it's one that I'm very attached to because I worked very hard at editing and rewriting several parts of it. I knew that I had the initial seed of an idea that was really cool, but in order to come up with an overall composition and particularly a chorus that I was happy with, the song went through several iterations; somehow, I knew that it was strong enough that I did not want to just let it go. I'm really happy with the final song, and think that it has a moody and emotional feel to it while still remaining aggressive.

For you, what is the best part about being in Iris Divine?

Creating music that I am proud of, with good friends, and then being able to bring that music to life both in a recording and on stage, is a wonderful process.

Have you always been in a band? Who inspired you to be in one?

I've been in bands on and off for years, but I would say that Iris Divine is definitely the one that I would consider the strongest. I, like many in my generation, grew up on the classic rock and metal of the 70s and 80s. When I first started playing guitar at age 13, it was not long before I was starting to experiment with writing my own music, and at that point the imagination naturally goes to wanting to be in a rock band and emulating the rock bands that you love. In fact, the title track of the album, The Static and the Noise, is exactly about that inspiration when someone first picks up an instrument that they love and realize that it gives them a voice that they did not have before.

Tell us something about Iris Divine that we might not know.

We all have diverse artistic interests, and have done a variety of musical projects outside of (and prior to) Iris Divine.  Brian was in a ska band, I've done everything from solo acoustic to emo-core projects to an Iron Maiden tribute I currently front, and Kris has done session work in various genres, as well as having had years of experience on the cover band circuit and a self-published poetry book.

Will you be doing a tour in support of the album?

We would love to do a full tour, preferably in a strong support slot, if one was offered to us.  In the meantime, we will likely do a series of regional dates, and perhaps a mini-tour or two.

How much time in the day is taken up doing work on Iris Divine?

It depends on what part of the process we are in. There is always a little bit of day-to-day work that goes into being in a band, as you are trying to promote yourselves lineup shows. Etc. When we are actively working on an album, it can be very time-consuming between writing, arranging, recording, and going back-and-forth during the mixing process. That actually can get rather exhausting at times, but it is all worth it when you hear something in the end that you can be proud of.

What kind of music to you enjoy listening to?

I enjoy listening to lots of different kinds of music and in general I am drawn to what I feel is strong songwriting, no matter the genre. I like all kinds of pop singles, from artists like Taylor Swift or Bruno Mars, for instance.  That having been said, my heart will always be in metal and I probably still listen to metal more than I listen to anything else. I have a particular soft spot for hard rock and metal of the 90s, but really dig classic metal and some newer metal as well.

What is the most played song on your playlist?

Great question...it would be pretty hard to narrow it down to one song, honestly! My musical moods bounce around quite a bit.  The last 5 bands I played on Spotify: Judas Priest, Dream Theater, Kix, Taylor Swift, Iron Maiden.

Is there anything you would like to add to this interview that I may have missed asking?

Just to say 'thanks' to Metaltitans for the support, and to anyone who's read this far: please check out The Static and the Noise!  We draw inspiration from bands as diverse as King's X, Alice in Chains and Fates Warning, and if you dig that sort of thing hopefully you'll enjoy us as well.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with us here at Metaltitans, and we really wish you much success with “The Static and The Noise”.

Taking Back The Fall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cTmXBSg4-Q