I would love to know the history of the band. Who decides to form it and which members currently form it?
The band was officially formed in late 2006/early 2007. However, Luke was jamming with some of the original members even earlier than that. Personally, I was the final member to originally join Divine Ascension. I answered an advertisement online through a local Melbourne musician forum. I met the guys, we jammed some ideas and the next minute I was a full-time member and Divine Ascension was complete!
Currently we have four members; Jennifer Borg, Jason Meracis, Luke Wenczel and myself. Although Jen, Luke and myself have all been in the band since the beginning, I must point out that Jason has been friends with us since the beginning (and even earlier for me). So, he is basically an original member. Haha!
How many discs have edited?
We have released three full length albums; As The Truth Appears (2011), Liberator (2014) and The Uncovering (2018). We have also released Evermore as a single in 2018 and a three track Demo in 2007 to help secure us local gigs when we first started playing as a band.
Let’s talk about your latest studio album. How has the compositional process been in regards to the instrumental?
It has been a journey! Haha! Before we begin the writing process for each album, we always reflect on what we have previously done and discuss how we can improve upon it. The Uncovering was no different. We discussed the idea of making the album more guitar driven with plenty of heavy riffs and soaring vocal melodies. We also wanted to try and include a few more progressive elements that we introduced in Liberator such as time and key changes.
As with all our writing, we tend to complete it many ways. We usually work on some ideas individually and then present them to the group and further work on them to build a song from the idea. However, each and every idea someone throws into the ring can be as simple as a melody or as complex as a rough structure of a song.
From there Jen usually starts putting vocal ideas together and works on lyrical themes. She is meticulous in this aspect and usually spends a lot of time researching ideas and reflecting on things in life.
As we begin merging vocal ideas and instruments together, we always continue to change and adapt ideas to further build on ideas. So, the songs always go through many variations to become what you hear on the record. Even in the studio while tracking we change things! Haha!
What message are you trying to express in your letters?
There are various messages portrayed throughout our songs. I have noticed that each album tends to run along a certain theme or idea and each song can be related to that. For example, As The Truth Appears has a common theme of hope, whereas Liberator has a theme of breaking the chains that bind you. The Uncovering seems to have a theme of the legacy you leave behind with the choices you make.
But each and every song can be interpreted different ways. Many of us in the band often relate to songs differently and have differing opinions on what exactly we feel it represents. I like that. It allows the listener to also connect with the art in their own way.
How long did it take you to finish this last album and how was the recording process?
It took a lot longer than we had initially hoped. We originally wanted to release the album in 2017. The reason for the delay was due to our keyboard player delaying the process. To cut a long story short, he left the band during the recording process. So, we decided as a band to reimagine the songs and rewrite all of the keyboard parts. This was a tricky process as we were already in the recording process and were used to the parts he had contributed up until that point. But we wanted a fresh sound. So we worked really hard while giving ourselves the time needed to recreate the soundscape of the album.
It usually happens that the vast majority of the bands, once they finish the recordings and edit it, at the same time they question a lot of things about the disc. Have they been satisfied with the final product, or have they thought over time that they could have done different things?
With everything we have done, whether it is the music, artwork, video clips, live shows, etc. we reflect and discuss it. Of course, there are always things we find we could improve on or maybe have done better. But I believe in constantly striving to improve and with each album, video clip, etc. we try our very best to take it to the next level.
Looking back at the albums we have created, I am personally quite content and proud with what we have achieved. I would definitely not go back and change anything. Each album represents a thought, a feeling or idea at that time of our lives. It is a moment captured in time forever.
Lately there are many bands with female vocalists who do not sing lyric, but take advantage of their 100% natural vocal flow. What is it like to work with your vocalist?
Jen is an amazing singer and lyric writer. She always creates unique ideas to write about and spends a great deal of time thinking about them as well as building them. Sometimes she works around a concept and researches further so she can get a greater understanding of it and therefore write more specific words to represent the idea or feeling.
Jen is always easy to work with when it comes to music. Sometimes it is a little freaky how close we are on wavelengths with each other though. It’s like she can read my mind! Haha!
What is the meaning behind the Divine Ascension name?
When we were searching for an original band name, we had many ideas floating around. The problem we had was that every original idea we thought we had was already taken. We really struggled finding something we liked that was unique as well as not already taken.
I remember the word ‘ascension’ being thrown around quite a bit as a representation of the band starting from the beginning, at the bottom and moving up to bigger and better things. However, we could still not find anything original that worked with that word.
Around the same time, I remember someone describing Jen’s voice as ‘divine’ and one of the band members randomly saying we should put those two words together. I think that very same night someone checked to see if the name had been taken, which, thankfully it had not. From that night forward we were Divine Ascension.
The cover of his latest album intrigues me a lot. What did they want to express with that cover?
The artwork cover was created from our original idea. Jason was very keen on having something futuristic to match the music which was much more modern sounding than the previous albums.
The concept is based upon the idea of the choices we all currently face. It could be in our own personal lives, or those that have an impact on a greater scale. However, the idea is that each choice could lead to a utopian future where we prosper (the front cover), or to a dystopian future where destruction and darkness consumes us (another page in the booklet).
We put forward this idea to an artist we loved the work of, James Ledger. He took the idea and created what you see today.
I would like to be told how is a band show?
Epic! Haha! Actually, we have a lot of fun on stage because we genuinely enjoy what we do. So many people have said to us after shows that our shows are an experience. They describe the high energy we emit off stage and often say they felt as if they didn’t even want to blink as they would miss something important. As I have never seen myself play live (except on film), I guess I can only use what others say about us. Haha!
The metal scene in Australia has grown a lot in recent years. What bands can you recommend from the Continent in which they live?
Well AC/DC is the most important Aussie band we have! Haha! But yes, you are correct. Australia seems to be producing many quality heavy metal bands in recent years. I think it is great! We have played with many great bands here over the years. Earlier this year we travelled to Perth and played the Stormrider Festival with some great bands such as Silent Knight, Orpheus Omega and Lord. But the list of great bands in Australia is vast! I recently saw Hemina play a show in Melbourne and they are great too!
How do they become part of the record label to which they belong?
Our first record label deals were secured by our old management. As The Truth Appears was released worldwide through Nightmare Records and in Japan through Hydrant Music. Our current deal with record label ViciSolum Productions was secured through the same method. I think we were able to secure the deals because the record labels could see we had a professional approach and always strived to release high quality products.
What do you know about South American metal?
Angra! Oh, and Delta! Two of my favourite metal bands from South America. South America has many great heavy metal bands. However, I am always open to more suggestions. So, if you have any recommendations, please let me know. J
Future plans of the band.
We are currently booking an Australian tour to promote The Uncovering as well as writing a new video clip which we hope to release early next year. On top of that we have started writing our next album which we hope to record soon too. We would love to tour overseas again if we get the opportunity. I don’t know, maybe South America could be a possibility.
Thank you very much to all of our fans in South America for the ongoing support! We sincerely appreciate all your messages and kind words. Keep rockin’! Finally, thank you Alejandro and Novedades Metal for giving me the opportunity talk all things Divine Ascension.
Alejandro Allo 02/12/19
Karl Szulik 03/12/19