As the happy, sunny anthems of summer give way to moodier tones for fall, a Seattle group called Direct Divide aims to bring an unusual twist to the new music of the season. Dubbing themselves as cinematic electrified rock, Direct Divide is helping to reinvent common ideas about what classical instruments and indie rock can create together.
Attempting to marry classical music with rock is not a new concept. There are countless videos on YouTube of top guitarists playing classical arrangements, and many of the best metal bands are classically trained and infuse their music with classical melodies and instruments. As recently as this spring, Dave Mustaine from legendary ’80s metal band Megadeth collaborated with the San Diego Symphony to create a novel concert called Symphony Interrupted. Mustaine played a number of classical mainstays such as Vivaldi’s Winter and Bach’s Air. He also composed and performed new orchestral arrangements for his hit song “Symphony of Destruction.”
Direct Divide has turned this model of infusing classical music into rock on its ear by instead using classical instruments to play hard rock. This is mainly achieved via vocalist and violinist Razz, who through her electrified violin and Natalie Merchant-toned vocals, creates a new picture of a rock goddess. Her futuristic violin is attached to her chest via a contraption which allows her to be hands-free when needed. She also controls the tone and effects of the instrument with pedals just like a rock guitar. In a recent cover of Muse’s “Uprising,” she matches the guitar work note for note and with just as much intensity and rock and roll fire.
Direct Divide’s new twist on classical and rock infusion is not just a gimmick, however. Many other solid musical elements make them stand out from the crowd of new music artists this fall. Kevin Proctor’s guitar work on their first album Bridges, as well as their newest single “Abduction,” is intelligent and highly syncopated in a way that supports Razz’s violin while adding an indie-cum-classic rock timbre to the band’s sound. In addition, the lyrics of each song, including “Abduction,” tell the stories of Hollywood movies in new and indie-styled ways.
Direct Divide describe themselves as “perpetually on tour,” and will be performing no less than 30 shows in the next 30 days, bringing their new brand of electrified indie music to countless cities throughout the U.S. this fall. They will also be working on their next EP while touring, and it is expected to be released next year. “Abduction,” available for streaming on the band’s SoundCloud page, is the band’s teaser track for the new album, and is the perfect introduction to the new music of the indie scene this fall.
With bands like Direct Divide and singles like “Abduction,” autumn is off to a promising start on the music front. If the band’s touring schedule is anything to go by, fans will also have many great live shows to look forward to all around the country. With interesting and exciting new music acts like Direct Divide, 2014 will be going out with an electrified, hard rock bang.
Opinion by Layla Klamt