The EDGE’s Hayley Taulbut caught up with Jamie and Nigel from Oxford born Dive Dive for an interview before their show at the Southampton Guildhall supporting Frank Turner.
So, you’re about halfway through the tour – how has it been? Any particular highlights or lowlights?
J: Not getting to Aberdeen was a massive lowlight. It was a massive shame, because we’ve always gone down really well in smaller venues in Aberdeen. I love it as a city, so it was a shame, and it also meant that the start of the tour was a little bit faltery – Glasgow was a nightmare, making sure everything was there on time. But once it got off, from the first show it’s just been getting better and better.
N: In terms of highlights, last night was the highlight for me, as we just keep getting better and better
J: And it’s always nice to play in Oxford, our home town, and it really is a beautiful venue. We didn’t know it existed, it’s this old theatre that was great to play in. And all our friends were there too [laughs]
So the snow seems to have put you guys out a bit
J: Yeah a bit, but we’ve got this really great driver.
N: He used to work for the army, and he just seems totally unperturbed by anything. He drives when everyone else stays off the roads!
So, Nigel, you play in Frank Turner’s band – it must be pretty tiring for you opening up with Dive Dive, then having a relatively small break, then going back on again?
N: Funnily enough it isn’t too tiring. I mean, I’ve played much longer sets with other bands that I have been in – I’ve done a few 2 and a half hour sets before – the Dive Dive stuff is pretty taxing for a drummer, but to play half an hour of that, then an hour break, and then an hour and a half with Frank, I actually, honestly really enjoy it.
J: He’d play in all three bands if he could [laughs]
N: Perhaps I should, maybe I should suggest it to Ed…I just love playing, so if I could do what I already do, play with Ed Harcourt, and then go to some other covers gig afterward I’d be a happy man [laughs]
Though it does mean we don’t eat. One soundcheck follows another, and then one performance follows another and it gets to 11 o clock and we’re all like ‘God, I’m starving’
How did this collaboration come about?
J: We first ran into Frank when we were touring with a band called Reuben, who were a great band and are sorely missed. At this time, Frank’s band Million Dead had just about disintegrated, and he came on that tour just selling merch – he wasn’t even playing. He saw us, and realised that we are a far superior band than anything he has ever seen, and we offered to record with him, to get his EP together.
N: Yeah, we recorded Punk Fire Camp Rock with him, then did the album with him, then it just kind of went from there, we slowly assimilated into the creature that is Frank Turner.
With the third album of yours due for release in 2011, what can we expect from you guys?
J: The fact that we ended up with a record that was thirteen –
N: Well, twelve and a forty five seconder. [laughs]Twelve and a half?
J: [laughs]Well, with that many songs, it weighs in at about half an hour, which gives you an idea of how short and sharp the sound is. I dunno, when we have made our point, we don’t labour it like some bands so, we just do it and move on. If you want to hear it again, listen to the song again. People who just repeat choruses are people with song writing sensibilities who only want to make money. [laughs]
This is going to sound like terrible wanky media speak, but I think it’s a distillation of what we have done before.
N: It’s definitely got the same flavour as what we have done before, but I think we get to the ideas and the essence of what we do a little bit easier now. I guess we run the risk of repeating ourselves, or becoming self-parodies, but I don’t think we’re there yet.
J: Who do you think that has then? Who has become their own covers band as it were?
N: Well, I guess I’m thinking AC/DC and Iron Maiden. They have to sound a certain way, because to begin with they were really good at it, and later they just don’t know what else to do, so they carry on doing it because they have no choice and that’s what people want to hear.
It’s taken four years since your last record to get another out in circulation – do you feel that’s a long time?
J: God, it is a long time. It’s only wanky twats that spend years in the studio writing stuff that think it isn’t a long time. But I mean, we recording most of this album in three days in April 2009. We left a few bits out, like a few vocals and guitar, but then we had to go on tour, and one thing led to another, and we didn’t actually properly finish it until about 12 months later.
Did you not find going back to it almost a year later made you despise what you had done in hindsight?
J: No, [laughs]no, not at all. It was more about getting the energy in the performances, and if anything it actually helped it, because you come back to it and you address it with fresh ears. When you spend hours in the studio listening to songs over and over and over you lose sight of where you were going with this song in the first place. But it was also frustrating for it to have taken so long to come out.
A lot of genre terms have been bandied about by various music mogals, and I struggled to come to a fair conclusion. Where would you say you fit in this?
J: We don’t know ourselves. I think we are still trying to find a succinct phrase that encompasses all we do, so I don’t honestly know. You’ve had a crack…
N: Yeah, yeah I have. I decided last night that we were kind of meth-rock, and a little bit hardcore but Jamie writes some really great pop melodies. So pop-meth-hardcore-rock is the phrase, chucked together with a hyphen in between [laughs]
And just to finish off, as 2010 draws to a close, has there been any music or tv that has influenced you, or that you have particularly loved?
N: A little outside the last twelve months, but the Future of the Left album is excellent
J: And I’ve been watching a lot of House. That’s been pretty influencial. I’m being deliberately obtuse [laughs]I apologise
N: You’re allowed to be obtuse, you’re a singer! [laughs]
J: I don’t get to as many gigs as I would like. And there are some great bands coming out of Oxford at the moment, Foals are obvious, but Spring Offensive and Stornoway are doing pretty well for themselves. I suppose we all have our flavour of the week.