Fireworks

Fireworks Magazine Online 64 - Interview with Sonic Divide

SONIC DIVIDE


Sonic Divide is a Melodic Rock band hailing from Adelaide, Australia. A six-piece unit, the band is riding the crest of fantastic feedback on their recent self-titled album. The result of four years of effort, it is a modern AOR showpiece album with flashes of Journey and even Styx in places. Keen to find out more about the band, Rob McKenzie spoke to Wayne Holden (vocals), Glenn Johnson (lead guitar) and Andy Young (keyboards) half way around the world.

What response have you had on your album?

AY: Really good, when we first heard the finished product we went, “Wow, this has taken our sound to a new level”. We had exposure on Australian national radio and local Adelaide ABC radio from which we received terrific feedback. The UK first heard of us when Glenn took a video snippet of us recording the opening track ´So In Love´ and put it on YouTube; radio programmers came across it and started playing us. The former guitarist of Air Supply, David Moyse, lives in Adelaide and really loves the album and said he would see what he could do to help us. Pretty much everyone has been positive; our biggest challenge is to get people to hear us.

Your sound is very AOR with layered keyboards and lots of guitars; I also think Wayne´s voice is reminiscent of Chad Kroeger [Nickleback].

WH: I have had one or two people suggest that, but I even had a reference to James Hetfield once.

What´s the music scene like in Adelaide?

GJ: Big bands have come from here; The Angels are an Adelaide band and AC/DC cut their early teeth here as well. At the moment, if you are doing Screamo or Hardcore Rock, you could get gigs here every night of the week. There are not many venues that support the music we play; there are two or three venues around that we do play at but not on a regular basis. There are some venues that accept touring bands but Adelaide is a small town with a population of about a million. However, if you want to see somewhere with beautiful vineyards, Adelaide is the place to come to!

The production of your album is stunning, who was involved?

GJ: We had been working on our original songs over a four year period and when we decided to record them there were a couple of engineers who came to mind. One of whom, Darren Mullan, had worked with my brother in the past.

WH: Glenn got word of Darren being at a new studio named Karisma which is part of a 1920´s building; the acoustic layout had been created by the same person who had done the Sydney Opera House! Darren demonstrated that he had experience of producing our sort of music; so we went into the studio and he did an amazing job.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music

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Tell me about the Midnight Oil connection you have.

AY: The 1987 album by Midnight Oil named ´Diesel and Dust´ has an old building on the album cover; well, that was the location of our video for ´I Wonder´. All of us are filmed inside the ruined homestead after we got permission from the owners; it is such an iconic building that people were coming up and taking photos of it from a distance. Although most of our influences are American, I love Midnight Oil´s passion - they are a great band.

The guitars sound great on the album, tell me about your musical roots.

GJ: I was in an Australian band named Disciple in the late 80s, early 90s; we recorded an album, supported Stryper and gigged in Melbourne and Sydney. My older brother, Russ Johnson, used to be in a band called Mississippi which went on to become the Little River Band. As for my guitars, I play a Paul Reed Smith, a 1989 pre-factory model, and an Ernie Ball Music Man "25th Anniversary" guitar which I used for the solos in ´So In Love´, ´When The Morning Comes´ and ´The Healing´.

Who carries out song writing duties?

WH: Glenn is the main culprit in getting us off our butts to start writing the songs. ´So In Love´ and ´I Wonder´, which were probably the first songs for the album, were written by Glenn. I find it easier to write the lyrics to existing music. Sometimes we sit on music ideas for months and sometimes we have music and lyrics down in a week.

Ian Slade, our bassist, initially wrote ´Horizon´ in the 80s when he was heavily influenced by Simple Minds. It started out as a keyboard piece but it gave me enough structure to build a melody and add some lyrics to; getting the music structure tends to be the catalyst to build all our songs further. Ian has written some songs with unusual time signatures so sometimes we have to compromise on how they end up. My style is to keep it simple.

As our songs originate from different members of the band working on them individually, our diversity ensures they don´t sound the same.

What are your musical influences?

GJ: Our diversity comes in here; for me they are Van Halen, Kiss, Iron Maiden and more recently John Mayer. Wayne is into totally different music such as Dream Theater and Whitesnake.
AY: From a keyboard perspective, I have always loved Rick Wakeman; he´s been a big influence.

Finally, what are your next steps?

AY: We have written six songs for the next album already and the standard has gone up a notch. They have the potential to increase our exposure and we are really excited about that. Also, the promo video for ´I Wonder´ will be available very soon.

Further details of Sonic Divide can be found at www.sonicdivide.net

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