An Interview with Matt Morgan of Divided by Friday
Interview date: August 2nd, 2010
By BMer | Indie Vision Music
Indie Vision Music: Okay, well how about tell us the band, who you are (and the other band members) and where you’re from
Divided by Friday: Awesome. My name is Matt and I play guitar and sing a little in Divided By Friday. We’re originally from Laurinburg, NC and the other guys are Jose, our singer. Daniel plays guitar and sings a little as well. Drew plays bass and Al plays drums. Right now we’re all living in Greensboro, NC in an apartment together
IVM: Daniel is the newest member right? How’s he doing?
Divided: yea we just added Daniel a few months ago. He’s doing great though. We’ve known him for about a year or two now, I can’t really remember haha but he’s always been a good friend and he’s a solid songwriter. So its been awesome having him with us. I think he’s really helped us not only make our songs better in the studio, but also our live performance is a million times better than it was before he was with us. he just pushes us all to get better. And we do the same to him haha.
IVM: You started the band with Jose right? What’s the meaning behind the name Divided by Friday?
Divided: Yea Jose and I started the band right when we were going into high school. We’d been hanging out and playing together for a while and then we decided we should try getting serious about it and see how far we could go with it, and so here we are five years later.
We came up with divided by Friday honestly just because we thought it sounded pretty cool i guess haha we were in ninth grade and that’s the best we could come up with. Once we decided on it though and people started asking us what it meant it kind of just took on a story of its own. as a band, we’re all Christian guys and we try to make our music reflect that somewhat through our own personal experiences. So as Christians we believe in Jesus Christ, that he died on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven and that two days later he rose from the dead. ANYONE can agree that there was a guy named Jesus from Nazareth and that he died on a cross around 33 BC (because there is factual evidence to support all of this haha). He died on a Friday (which Christians know as Good Friday). So Christians (who believe that after that Friday he rose from the dead) and non-believers (who don’t believe that) are “divided” by that Friday.
Me: Great concept for the name, I’m glad you didn’t just say “it sounds cool.”
So who handles a majority of the song writing?
Divided: Jose and I have always been the primary songwriters for the band. We’ll basically come up with the majority of the song and map it out, and then show it to the rest of the guys. Lyrics/vocal melodies we usually just record ideas on GarageBand or we’ve even just done it in the studio before as well. Recently Daniel has been helping out a bit as well. We have some new songs we’re working on that I’m really stoked about and Daniel has been a major part of helping with those
IVM: Tell us a little about the new EP, the songs sound great! How was that recording process and how is the album being received?
Divided: oh thanks so much man! i think its being received really well.
The recording process was kind of different. We used four producers on four different songs haha. Well kind of; we recorded the single “Disappoint: Surprise” at the end of January with our friend John Harrell in NC. He’s an awesome dude and amazing producer. He works a lot with Sent by Ravens (he did their EP) and he’s done a lot of other really cool bands as well. We like working with him just because he really “gets” our band, the sound we’re going for, etc.
And then the second song “Make It Out” we did with Brandon and Ben from Mercy Mercedes (another NC band). They’re AMAZING songwriters- really they helped us with our song structure and made sure we maintained the pop-sensibility that we were going for.
The last two we did with Paul Leavitt in Maryland. That dude just knows how to make songs sound amazing haha. The guitar and drum tones he got us I’m really happy with.
IVM: Speaking of your “sound”, for those not familiar with Divided by Friday, what genre would you classify yourselves as? What are some of your musical influences?
Divided: Oh this is an interesting question! I think our “sound” is really unique because we try so hard NOT to sound like anybody else. In short- the answer to your question is probably “Pop Rock” but I think we’re a lot more than that. You might hear one of our songs, like “Disappoint: Surprise” and be like “oh hey this sounds kinda like Anberlin” but I think we’re poppier than that. On the flipside you might hear one of our songs and think it sounds like Relient K or some mainstream Pop band, but I think we’re a little more aggressive than that. We try really hard to balance the two so that we’re a Pop band, yes. BUT we’re not thattttt poppy at all. You know what I mean?
Our biggest influences are probably Armor For Sleep, Saosin, Anberlin, Yellowcard, Relient K, and Underoath. But we listen to a lot of DMX and Taylor Swift!
IVM: Yea, I also hear stuff that reminds me of The Audition (Victory Records). In your older stuff you featured some harsh vocals, like screams, are you guys going away from that?
Divided: Yea we’re moving away from it.
That just wasn’t us I think. Those songs with screaming (The Watchmen, or even Eight Hours for the IVM people who downloaded that in our IVM EP) were kind of just like us going “lets make a song that sounds like as cities burn, or Underoath kind of. Sure I love the songs, but I definitely don’t think they represent our sound now. At all
IVM: You guy also made a video for Disappoint: Surprise, it turned out great! How was that experience?
Divided: Thanks dude! That was a lot of fun, but superrrrr exhausting. We shot the entire thing in I think less than 48 hours. We flew in our director from California, picked him up at the airport. Drove to the shoot, set it all up. Shot it. Slept for maybe an hour or two. Setup the story line. Shot that all afternoon and night, and then drove him back to the airport for a 6am flight back to Cali
It was probably the most miserable and exciting two days of my life.
IVM: That sounds a little crazy. Speaking of crazy how is your hypnotizing going? Did you really hypnotize Al at the studio?
Divided: HAHAHA best question ever! It sucks dude, like all of my friends are too scared to let me try them now after seeing that. When I did Al I just asked him really casually if he’d let me and then I guess he didn’t really understand what I was trying to do, but it didn’t take him long to go into trance at all haha like maybe 45 seconds which is unusually fast for a first time person. But yea, that was real. I’ve done a few people since (the ones who are excited rather than scared of it) but a lot of people I try are anticipating it so much and so excited about it that they over think it and they won’t go into trance because of it
Divided: haha I guess. I just Googled “hypnotize your friends” and a whole script showed up. anyone can do it!
IVM: Scary! Have you guys been playing shows this summer? Any tour plans in the future?
Divided: Yea man! We were touring most of June and some of July. We went up to Cornerstone Festival and played a few times there. And we’ve been doing a few shows here and there around our area. Definitely going to be touring a lottttt in the coming year. We all dropped out of school to do this now so we’ll be hitting the road pretty soon. We’ve always tried to just stay busy busy busy. A lot of people hate putting together merch packages to mail out or booking and doing promo stuff. But we love it haha. This is all we want to do
IVM: Great, hope you guys can keep up the energy!
Divided: yea man!
IVM: How does your faith play into the band?
Divided: Well like I said earlier all of our music and lyrics derive from experiences where we’ve really had to turn to God to for guidance. We’ve always tried to NOT be overbearing with our lyrics because we feel like a lot of people will see that and immediately turn away from us regardless of the message. So we make our lyrics really honest, but at the same time easily accessible to any listeners.
I think I really see God doing work in our band when we’re on tour though. That’s when we’re really pushed to the limit with all the stress. Scheduling, performing, everything can get so tense. and I know as individuals and as a band we all turn to God to help us get through those hard times. Then we love talking to kids at shows if they have any questions about their own walk with Christ or just life in general. We’re all about hanging out!
IVM: Awesome! Thanks for taking a minute to talk to us, sounds like you guys have a lot going on.
Last question; where can we get the new album? Where can we find you guys on the internet?
Divided: Yea man no problem, thank you so much! I really enjoyed it
All of our CDs are on iTunes and Amazon.com and basically any other online music retailer. And then just like every other band in the world we’re on MySpace and Facebook. And we’re reallyyyy trying to get more followers on twitter @DividedByFriday so if you’re reading this go follow us and @ivmusic
IVM: Great! Thanks Matt, good luck and hope to see you guys on the road sometime soon!