We chat to the brains behind new Adelaide band DIVISION about the release of their debut EP "Fragments".

To begin with can you give readers a brief history of the band and how it all came together?

The band started as an idea over 10 years ago between Alex (Dearman, Guitar) and myself (Footy, Guitar / Vocals) bonding over our love for Fugazi, Rites Of Spring, Sonic Youth and other “Revolution Summer” style Dischord Records bands. Through the years the two of us had spoken about starting a band that’s inspired musically and ideologically by the aforementioned bands, however due to living busy lives and other projects happening at the time, it never really progressed past the idea stage.

At the end of 2019 I took my family on an extended trip overseas and one night I was on a hike by myself and I had a bit of a moment when I realised how unhappy I was with where I was at musically and the fact that I had become complacent creatively. That was a bit of a “line in the sand” moment for me, and as soon as I got back to Australia I reached out to Alex and said “we’re doing this band”.

I really wanted to play guitar in the band, but the issue was I’d only ever really messed around with guitar at home and I had only ever played bass in bands. So for the remainder of the year I locked myself away, practiced every day and started writing songs for the band. At the start of 2020 Alex and I started catching up for writing sessions and as soon as we were happy with where we were at, we began the task of looking for a drummer.

I met our drummer Will when he moved from Washington DC to Adelaide in 2011. He came into Clarity Records, introduced himself and mentioned how he loved Fugazi, grew up going to shows in DC and played in a Dischord affiliated band. He also mentioned that he was keen to play music and to get in touch if anyone ever needed a drummer for a band. We stayed in contact over the years and 9 years later I asked him to have a jam with Alex and I and he was perfect.

Unfortunately, everything came to a bit of a standstill in 2020 due to restrictions and it was hard to gain any momentum with the band over the next year or so. Once we started going again Anthony eventually joined us on bass and he has been the glue that has brought everything together. I’ve watched Anthony play in many bands over the years and he is one of the best bass players going around town, so it was only natural that we asked him to join.

What band did Will play in DC?

Will’s main band he played in was called The Coastals. They weren’t signed to Dischord, but had a distribution deal with them. They also got to record with the legendary Don Zientara (Fugazi, Minor Threat, etc etc) at Inner Ear Studio, all which I’m pretty envious of.

Personally, how would you describe the sound of the band to someone that’s never heard you?

It’s a tough one because we’ve tried hard to not pigeonhole ourselves into a particular genre. I guess essentially, we’re a punk band, especially ethically and ideologically, but sonically we might have a bit more of a post-hardcore sound. For those who know the sounds of “Revolution Summer”, then this describes our band best.

Can you fill people in on the inspiration behind the band name?

The name Division is inspired from two different ideas.

The first, separating ourselves from what is considered the “norm” within the music industry. I feel music can become stagnant. Safe. Complacent. As a band we have set out to try and break the mould of current industry practices within music. Different ways of releasing music, playing shows and expressing art. As musicians and artists, we are afforded the platform to say something strong and take a stand. To take a risk and create something with substance, rather than following a particular formula that the music industry can be known for.

Secondly, the name relates to the division within society on opinions relating to issues like social justice, human rights and animal rights. White privilege, racism, toxic masculinity, animal and human exploitation are all issues that we believe need to be addressed and this is reflected in our lyrics and writings.


You’ve just released your debut LP titled “Fragments”, how was the recording process for the LP, how did it all come together?

The recording process was enjoyable, but it was a long and drawn out process no thanks to me.
When we started the band, we initially set ourselves the aim to not play live until we had a physical release ready for our first show.
As soon as we had the songs together, we booked 12 days straight at Interim Studios in Adelaide with Colby Robertson.
The band had two main hurdles to overcome during this recording session.
First, it was too short of a time frame to get the amount of work done that needed to be done. Not only this, but 12 days straight with no days off was a brutal slog. In order to try and get everything done in time we had days where we started at 9am and finished at 3am. Colby was very generous with his time and determined to get the best out of the project.
Secondly, I think for those who know me I’m a pretty easy-going person. However, I am a punisher to be in the studio with and this sometimes led to long, drawn-out sessions. I took up a bit of a producing role with the record and I think I tested everyone’s patience.
In the end everyone did a great job with all of their parts and I am happy with the sounds Colby pulled.
As soon as we finished recording, I had everything lined up for the record to be mixed overseas by a well-known engineer (I won’t mention who). I got the mix back and it was one of the worst mixes I’ve ever heard. It really put me off the recording for a little bit.
At the same time the world was in a lockdown period, so we ended up sitting on the recording for nearly a year as we couldn’t really do much with it and we refused to use that first mix.
In the end, it turned out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise because I was able to revisit the recording multiple times over that year and we ended up going back into the studio to rerecord parts and fix up little things that were annoying me. We then ended up ditching our original mixing idea and we got Colby to mix it instead. Thankfully he has the patience of a saint because I don’t know how he was able to put up with me in the studio again and I think he did a great job.
Finally, we also scrapped our idea of getting it mastered overseas and we got Mikey Young from Eddy Current Suppression Ring to master it and I’m very happy with the end result.

Got a fave track on the LP? Why that one?

The second song on “Fragments” which is called “Regenerate” is probably the song I like most on the record. The song is about the music industry and asks the question, what would happen if everything we knew about the music industry was all of a sudden burnt to the ground and we had to start all over again? Will there be new ideas? New ways of releasing music? Different methods of booking and playing shows? A new message? It’s a concept I often think about, so at times I find myself thinking about this song.
Even though I don’t really like listening back to my own music once the recording process is finished, for some reason when I need to listen back to this song, I actually quite enjoy it. It’s also a fun one to play.

You’re offering a ‘pay what you want’ price for the LP, why the decision to take this approach?

A couple of reasons. The main one being, as the cost of living and the price of vinyl continues to rise, it can sometimes make purchasing physical music unaffordable. Look at the price of new vinyl these days, it’s outrageous what some of the prices are. Having been the owner of a record store for over 13 years now, I have personally seen the price sky rocket over the years and major labels have a massive role to play in it, taking advantage of consumers while dictating prices and turnaround times for manufacturing records. Music and art are meant to me accessible for everyone and I have a problem with money being the wedge between the creator and consumer.
The general price of new records is something we can’t control. However, we can control the price of our own record. Therefore, we are happy to receive whatever people can afford or whatever they are willing to pay for a record like “Fragments”.
We didn’t know how this approach would be received, it was all a complete roll of the dice. But we are really happy with the response the concept has had. The band has had people tell us that “Fragments” is their first ever record and thanking us for making the record, they wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise, accessible for them. This alone makes the experiment worthwhile.
We are by no means saying that this concept should be the way of the future and that every band / label should be offering their records as a “Pay What You Want” price. We felt that for us being a new band, a band no one had ever heard before, that the “Pay What You Want” price tag might encourage people to check us out and take a chance on a band without having to make a big investment.

The record comes packaged with a zine containing a lyric booklet with explanations. Obviously, you want listeners to have a better understanding of the lyrics, do you feel like the emphasis on lyrics has been overlooked in the age of streaming when people don’t have a cover or insert to read?

We wanted the record to be an experience for the listener. Something that people can sit down with, listen to and read along with. The record is a time capsule from a specific point in our lives where we have come together as a collective, put everything down into a physically recorded and written format and offered out to the listener / reader to be part of the experience. You can read about where we are at with our thoughts from the lyric explanations, and see the beauty in the mundane that we have captured in the photography used within the booklet. All moments in time from around our city captured on film, never to be captured again in this ever-changing, fast paced life.
These are all experiences that you don’t get from streaming or digital releases. I personally feel that a lot of the beauty is lost in music when only released digitally, compared to physical formats where you can become fully immersed within a tangible product. We wanted to try and recapture that beauty with “Fragments” rather than it becoming lost within the sea of digital releases. This is why for the time being “Fragments” is a physical only release and it won’t be released digitally until we feel the physical release has had enough time to breathe.

The lyrics to “Possession” are quite personal in terms of your own upbringing and experience with domestic violence and the impact it had on you. You dedicate the song to your mother, has she heard it and was the song cathartic to write?

Writing Possession did bring up a whole range of emotions. It was cathartic to a point, but at the same time it made me revisit memories, ones that I hadn’t thought about since I was a child. It made me angry, wishing things could have been different. But it also made me sad that someone I love so much had to experience what they did.
It’s quite a process rethinking about my experiences as a child. As a kid you don’t really know any different. You have a feeling within yourself that what you’re experiencing is not right. But since you don’t know any different it somewhat seems normal, as horrible as that might sound.
I feel like it was important for me with this song to make sure I wasn’t trying to write lyrics from my Mum’s perspective, as I didn’t want it to come across that I was trying to be her voice or use her words. But instead making sure it was purely my own experiences and how I saw the things through my own eyes.
I’ve spoken to Mum about the song, but I haven’t shown her yet because I don’t really like making people listen to something I’ve written because of my own insecurities.

“Fragments” is the first in a series of releases you have planned. Have the other releases already been written and recorded?

Yes, everything is finished. Recorded, mixed, mastered and art is done. The next release is at the pressing plant as I type this and it will be out in the second half of 2023. If people enjoyed “Fragments” then they should also enjoy the next release. Lyrics are even more personal and a bit heavier. I won’t reveal any more than that, if people are interested they can check it out when it’s released.


You played your first show in a laneway in downtown Adelaide, how was the reaction and why the choice of a laneway for a first show?

Yeah, our first show was in an alleyway in the heart of the CBD in Adelaide. The reason for playing an alleyway show as our first show comes back to the concept of breaking the mould from playing the same venues and stock standard shows. There’s nothing more exciting than playing and attending an Alleyway show. The location is secret and no one knows if the band is going to make it through their set before it’s broken up by authorities. Alleyway shows are always memorable and we wanted to create that buzz and show people what we are about from our first show.
We were extremely happy with how the show went. The location worked out really well and the turnout exceeded any expectations. Honestly speaking, for us it was a massive relief to finally play a show after all the hard work we had been putting in behind the scenes for 3 years.

Your previous band Crisis Alert had a Minor Threat vibe to it, your record label Clarity Records only releases Adelaide bands, you lead a vegan straight edge lifestyle and your new band has a strong Fugazi influence to it. You might be an adult, but you’re a minor at heart aren’t you, Adelaide Ian?

Ian and I also have very similar haircuts (not by choice unfortunately).
It’s no secret that Ian Mackaye, his bands and label, have had a profound influence on my life. Always a minor at heart.

What’s the future hold for DIVISION and how can people grab a copy of the LP?

We are in the process of booking a run of shows here in Adelaide. Where excited about some of the ideas we have, so hopefully they all come together.
If you want a copy of “Fragments” we only have a handful left! You can pick up a copy online for the “Pay What You Want” price at clarityrecords.net or I have a few set aside for the next show we play.
You can’t stream it anywhere for now, so don’t go looking.

Purchase here - https://clarityrecords.net/vinyl/division-fragments-12/

Any last words / thanks / shout outs?

Yes indeed. As I mentioned earlier in the interview, even though I’m a very easy-going person, when it comes to music projects I can be a top tier punisher. Especially when I have my mind set on a particular idea, I can be very stubborn. There’s a whole host of people involved with making “Fragments” as well as the records lined up to come out, and I need to thank and give credit to those people for having to put up with me:
- Colby Roberston at Interim Studios for recording, mixing, rerecording, remixing and all the changes made to the recordings along the way.
- Pat Fox for all the design, layout and the edits upon edits.
- Dave McCann for printing and reprinting and reprinting the booklets until the layout was correct and getting everything correct just in time to pack them into the covers a few hours before the first show.
- Laura Horvath for all the proof reading and listening.
- Alex, Will and Anthony for putting up with all my ideas and stubbornness.

Finally, thank you Ryan for taking the time out to interview me. Again.


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