WORDS: GEORGIA RAWSON
FROM: WIGAN, UK | FOR FANS OF: BRUTALITY WILL PREVAIL, MALEVOLENCE
Since their inception in 2016, Wigan’s Dive South haven’t been ones to stay settled. Initially a pop-punk band, the five-piece have made remarkable strides to become the significantly heavier metalcore band they are today.
With their 2020 effort Nerve Damage, the band have certainly found their footing in their style, with tracks like ‘Parasite’ demonstrating their self-awareness and confidence as a band.
Having originally started as a pop punk band, how did you finally settle on your current sound? Do you feel that every band has to do this to realise their full potential?
A lot of bands are very lucky in being able to find their sound straight away. Others really have to push to see what they can do. We tried a few different sounds before writing ‘Resilience’ back in 2017. We finally settled when we went into the practice room to toy with some of the ideas that had been written from the guitarists. We decided it was right because the energy in the room that day was electric and it has been ever since.
Without using any genres, how would you describe the sound of Dive South?
We always struggle labelling ourselves. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what we are when we hold several different sounds under our belt. We’re fast, passionate, hungry and heavy.
“IT’S IMPORTANT TO SHARE OUR STRUGGLES – WE’RE ALL HUMAN AND WE ALL NEED HELP FROM TIME TO TIME”
Do you sometimes feel that genre allows for bands to become limited? How have you avoided this pigeon-holing?
On the latest record ‘Nerve Damage’ we really wanted to try something different. Maybe not different to the genre but different within ourselves and how we address the music. It’s easy to get caught up in the same sound as another band so we try to be as different as possible. We had never had singing in any of our songs but Tom wanted to try something different than just screaming to widen up the audience. We’ve had a brilliant reaction from this adjustment.
In tracks such as Parasite the lyrical content gets very dark, very quickly. Do you feel that this now couples well with the new sound? And how did bringing in a new guitarist pre-2018’s debut EP release really help to bring it all together?
The lyrics are personal, really personal. Struggling with depression like a lot of other people; I tried to find an outlet and this was it. The lyrics are raw and I know they’re dark but everybody needs to express themselves, I saw it as therapeutic. Hence the name ‘Nerve Damage’ because a lot of people seem fine on the surface, but under the skin it’s a different story.
Bringing in a guitarist that we had been very good friends with for many years really helped us broaden our horizons and experiment with new sounds to express ourselves.
Your latest EP, Nerve Damage, seems to really address subjects that are difficult to discuss in a very real way – especially subjects that men find tough to talk about. Was putting pen to paper cathartic for you?
Again, after struggling with depression for many years, I needed to write about the experiences that I had. For example the song ‘Hold Tight’ is about wanting to find that way out but not realising that help does exist and it’s only ever an arms length away. It’s important to share our struggles, we’re all human and we all need help from time to time. Please if you ever need help, talk to someone.
“YOU NEED TO POUR YOUR HEART AND SOUL INTO THIS AND NOT LET ANYTHING KNOCK YOU DOWN”
At the same time, as a band who now has a platform do you feel there is a strong responsibility, especially during harder times like right now, to give fans music where they feel like they’re connecting with you and in some way able to share their struggles?
Absolutely, if we can help anyone find solace and comfort from our music, especially during this difficult time, at least we know we’ve done something right. When writing nerve damage we really wanted to connect to people in the rawest way possible and that’s by telling our truths and hoping they can help. We didn’t want to sugarcoat anything.
Let’s talk about being a new band in the current climate. What are some of the biggest struggles, and at the same time what keeps you motivated?
Our biggest struggle is getting people to see what we can do and how far we’re willing to push it. We are so thirsty to get out there and play, write and record. I suppose some people just needs to give us a chance and see what we’re really capable of doing. The scene has changed radically over the last few years, it’s all self promotion. You’ve got to keep grinding.
What advice would you give you to any other bands trying to cut their teeth right now? What do you feel has been the key to your success so far?
Stick at it and don’t give it up. We aren’t big by any stretch of the imagination but we keep going. You need to pour you heart and soul into this and not let anything knock you down. You’ve got to take the bad with the good, if you don’t get a good response the first time then you try something different the second time. We still haven’t defined our sound, even after two EPs. There is always room to change.
Finally, what does Dive South mean to you?
Honestly? Dive South really is a lot of our lives. It’s a safe haven from the shit that’s really going on everyday in our lives. We’re all fine tuned to each other so we bounce of each one another with so much energy. It’s everything, it’s our everything and we’re not going to give it up. It’s a home away from home. When working full time, it’s the ultimate release.