The Undivided are on a mission: create the kind of noise you simply have to stand up and hear. With a London show coming up and their second round of gigs in Canada already booked in we found out more about what influences the three-piece, their plans for 2016 and who they’d love to share a stage with…
How did you meet?
Lew: Joe and I have been in various incarnations of this band (under some really dodgy band names) for several years. We knew each other from school and other bands we were in separately, so it made sense to get together and jam when we both found ourselves at a loose end.
We started off quite punky, with a 90’s alt rock vibe. But as the music started to evolve we decided we needed a bit of a brand overall.
I think Rhyd came into the fold around this changeover point. He impressed us straightaway at his audition, having learnt all the songs and wasn’t too thrown when we said we weren’t going to play any of them anymore!
Rhyd: They found me on the internet..
What is the inspiration behind your music?
Lew: We all come from different places musically, which really helps us get some cool ideas but it can make it a bit of a free for all in jam sessions!
Joe is from a real singer-songwriter background and loves bands like Manic Street Preachers. Rhyd comes from a heavier place and loves stuff like KoRn and Deftones and I really love soundscape-y stuff like Explosions In The Sky.
I think it’s important that we all love loads of different styles too.
Joe has worked with a few pop artists recently and has been getting into a lot of synth driven music, for example. But the main thing is we all have this idea of how wide a song should sound and that it should emotionally connect to people. We often find that what we can hear in our heads when we are writing will influence what we listen to and just strengthen those ideas.
Is there a specific process to the way you write songs?
Lew: It used to be the case that Joe would come into our practise room with a song 80% fleshed out and we’d just add in to it. But recently we’ve all started contributing more to the sound.
Joe is still our primary writer but as he has progressed in his guitar style he is getting more comfortable in letting go and allowing ideas to form around jams.
We love to start a practise session by just throwing down a groove and seeing what naturally happens over it. Our current set closer, “The Only Ones” was written in one of these jams at our secret writing retreat in west Wales and might be one of the most painless songs we’ve ever put together. It just flowed really naturally.
We love trying to capture that free vibe when we write. Most of our best songs will just come to us and we know that if a song is taking too long to come together or we are having to force it, it probably won’t be our best work.
Tell us more about the music scene in South Wales and your favourite bands in the area.
Joe: The South Wales scene is quite close-knit so it can be quite competitive at times but mostly artists and other bands will support one another so it makes a nice community.
A lot of the historic bands have started to split up so the likes of The Blackout, Kids In Glass Houses and Midasuno have all gone and also Funeral For A Friend are splitting next year. That being said, it does create and opening for some new welsh bands and artists to make some waves.
A new band called Pretty Vicious from South Wales have been signed to Virgin EMI so maybe that’s the start of something? Will be interesting to see what happens there. Other than that The Hearts, The People The Poet and Voes are some great bands coming out of Wales at the mo!!
What has been your most exciting gig to date?
Joe: This is a hard one! I would say going to Canada was the best gig/thing we have done. You always dream as a band to go to different parts of the world and play your music but you never think it will happen.
When we got the offer to go it just blew our minds! The gigs were great too and we had some great responses from the crowds there! Also there were some other great bands playing like Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Death Cab for Cutie!
Will never forget that trip! Looking forward to going back there next year!
You’re playing at 229 The Venue this month. If you could have any musician join you on stage who would it be and why?
Joe: We haven’t played London for a while so looking forward to this one as its our last gig of the year. We go off to record some new music after that!
In terms of musicians I think I would love James Dean Bradfield from Manic Street Preachers as they have been a big influence on me.
Lew: Most of the bands I’d love to play with would probably be questionable choices – I don’t think we’d go down too well supporting Radiohead… I’d love to open for Young Guns, though. Really enjoying the progression those guys have taken. Their last album had some great moments and is criminally under-appreciated
Rhyd: I’m a big Incubus fan so having any of those guys jam on stage with me would be a blast. In an ideal world.
What do you hope 2016 will bring for you?
Joe: More shows!! We just want to play everywhere we can. We are also looking forward to releasing our Next single that we recorded with Dan Weller recently. We had a great response to Invincible so we can wait to release our next one next year! Also we are going back to Canada in May so looking forward to that too!!
Seeing as it’s pretty much December, tell us your favourite Christmas songs!
Joe: Well there are so many greats aren’t there!! Its not a Christmas song as such but it was on the Christmas CDs. It was called Keeping The Dream Alive by Freiheit.
Rhyd: Farytale of newyork just because it takes a completly different spin on a christmas song. Allbeit a bit of depressing one.
Lew: Christmas is Awesome by Reuben. Obviously.
Discovery 2 Showcast featuring The Undivided tickets on Thursday 26th November are available now – Find yours here.