The Rock and Roll Missionaries of Violent Divine
Violent Divine are Rock and Roll Missionaries from Sweden ready and willing to rage all across the planet. Louder Than Love is the name of their latest manifesto – a slamming collection of hard rocking tunes destined to launch the listener into the stratosphere. Featuring slamming entreaties such Unbeliever, Dirty Little Secret, and Overstayed My Welcome, Violent Divine is sure to enrapture all types of music fans with their sonic artillery of kick ass tunes! Highwire Daze Online caught up with lead vocalist Mike Divine to find out a whole lot more about the almighty Violent Divine and their thunderous hymnal of hard rocking anthems. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Violent Divine, and how long the band has been together.
Hi! I’m Mike Divine and I’m taking care of the vocal parts in Violent Divine – and the occasional song writing and beer drinking duties. I’ve been in the band since the very beginning in 2005. To be honest I did handle the bass as well for the two first rehearsals but I never really understood how it’s possible to play bass and sing at the same time. Guitar is fine but bass is impossible. We had no other choice than getting one of them crazy bass players. Glad we did.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
Violent Divine is from an average-sized Swedish town called Norrkoping. It’s located some 160 kilometres south of Stockholm. Unfortunately the local music scene in our home town isn’t much to brag about. You can go to a pub to see a band perform every weekend, if you care to have a beer while listening to covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bryan Adams and various soft rock. Occasionally you can attend an event to see original bands perform but that’s once a month, top. Actually, Manowar is including our home town on their farewell tour but tickets are $13.50. Unbelievable.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Louder Than Love?
Well, we realised too late that Soundgarden had an album titled Louder Than Love, but that’s life. On the previous album we had a song titled Desolation Boulevard, and that’s an album title from The Sweet back in 1974. Anyway, naming albums are problematic. Since we’re Swedish we include everything in some weird democratic process. We had lots of ideas but we couldn’t agree so we decided to go with one of the song titles. And that narrowed down the process to 13 options, heavily debated during a couple of months. I wish I had a better story about that but that’s the truth. Swear to God!
Select two songs from Louder Than Love and what inspired the lyrics.
3rd song, Right You Are is inspired by what arguably might be the best TV show ever; Californication. Hank Moody is an epic f**k up and I believe lots of men can identify with that in lots of ways. Sometimes it seems we’re born that way and everything else is the result of a strict catholic upbringing or something. Anyway, sometimes it’s a relief for me who is responsible for writing lyrics in the band to elaborate on a subject that’s not too serious. Rock music should be fun!
On a different note, the 11th song Overstayed My Welcome is about not being loved, needed or wanted and probably some sort of outcome from the typical Swedish individuality. Swedish people have a relation to the state in a bigger sense than we have to our fellow man. It sometimes creates huge loneliness and despair within people and comparing to other countries where family, friends and social network are of greater importance, it’s rather sad. It’s on the other hand said to promote women’s liberation and I don’t argue with that. That’s a good thing but there are some side effects.
Who did the cover art for Louder Than Love and how much input did you have on it?
The cover art is done by my good friend Johnny F.W Nielsen who lives in the south of Denmark. He’s unbelievably multi-talented. He plays the blues, he paints, he customizes guitars – preferably Fender Telecaster guitars. It’s like everything he touches looks great. Totally amazing. We had no clear idea of what to do with the artwork so it was like “Hey Johhny, would you like to give it a shot?” The result is very much like the first draft he presented and I think it’s great. If you have ten new albums if front of you, this will come out loud and clear. And I also love the steam punkish references.
What could one expect from a live Violent Divine show?
Well honestly, if your into soft and dynamic stuff, Violent Divine is not your cup of tea. We usually do like 4 of our hardest songs in a row without interruptions before we stop to address the audience. We usually don’t do the ballads. It’s really a simple idea. What do we ourselves expect from a good band doing a good show? We want to feel that pressure in the chest of an ongoing heart attack for about 45 minutes and then crawl to the bar asking ourselves wtf happened. We believe that’s the desire of every rock fan and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s entertainment. It’s a much needed escape from the every day grind. It’s one of those thing that makes life worth living.
Has Violent Divine ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
The debut album was released through a US label back in 2006 and we almost made it to play the SXSW festival in Austin Texas but somehow we never made it. We were invited a couple of times when we had a US based management but unfortunately it collided with already booked stuff in Europe, so the US is still to be invaded. If album sales go well we will definitely do our best to do a couple of US dates. Fingers crossed.
If you could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
So many to choose from but opening for KISS in a sold out Madison Square Garden is definotely on the bucket list. KISS because it’s a band and a brand that has taken rock n roll entertainment to the limit. Also, KISS fans are probably the most loyal fans in the world and being picked out by Gene and Paul would be a great honor and I truly believe that KISS fans in general would like Violent Divine.
What is your favorite beer of choice and why?
Finally we’re talking about a topic of importance. In this day and age, drinking beer has become almost like snobbery, at least in Sweden. You can’t just go to a pub and have a beer and relax. You have to know lots of stuff and choose a complicated beer that’s imported from wherever or that has been brewed in a basement next door. Please! I like my beer light and cold, preferably from the Czech Republic. Only exception is when I’m in Denmark. Then I’ll have a Tuborg.
When you look back on your first Self-Titled album from 2006, what do you think of it now?
Actually, I’m still as proud and happy as the day it was released. It has everything. Good songs with catchy choruses, huge riffs and loud drums. It’s a shame we don’t do lots of songs live from that album anymore. But as you mention it, it sure brings a smile and I remember the vibe and the happiness of back in the days of recording it in only 8 days. Misery was the first vocal I recorded and after that my voice broke down so I had to record the other songs and all the backing vocals in pain and maximum effort. It’s probably just that usual “lead-singer’s disease”. Also the drummer’s back broke down halfway through recording the drums. That’s what you get from being annoyingly tall. Anyway, lots of fun and loads of energy.
What do you think has kept the music of Violent Divine so exciting and imaginative for over a decade now?
Well I don’t know. We have mostly stuck with the formula that we love. The motto of is-this-an-album-we-ourselves-would-buy still rules. We’re not re-inventing rock n roll but we do what we do from the heart and I hope people can tell. On each album though, we try to do a couple of songs that stretches the limits of the formula and that’s something that’s calculated. We want to give an option to people who are stuck with a horrible taste in music, like the average top 40. We do a somewhat softer song on the album and once they open up a bit and find that “Hey, distorted gutars are kinda cool,” we hit them with one
of the harder tracks. It’s like being a missionary of rock n roll some times.
What’s up in the New Year for Violent Divine?
Well, since there are bizniz aspects to rock n roll, it’s like we’ll see what happens. We have plans of returning to the UK for a couple of shows and we also talked about Holland. Been a while since we ravaged Finland so that’s also in the back of our heads. Besides the fact that we’re gong to grab every opportunity to take the songs and the band to so many stages as possible, speaking for myself, I have already a few ideas for songs for the next album.
Any final words of wisdom?
OMG wisdom and rock n roll combined. Go out and support bands. Go to festivals this summer. Have fun and be safe out there and take care of each other. We’re all in this together, the bands and the crowd.
The Rock and Roll Missionaries of Violent Divine are:
Sean-Joel – guitar
Simon – drums
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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