Remember the name The Dives as they are set for big things with their debut EP Everyone’s Talkin’. The band features guitarist and lead singer Evan Stanley (son of Paul Stanley from Kiss), guitarist and lead singer Mike Lefton, bassist and singer Sergio Ortega and drummer and singer Jimmy Meier. Their love of playing live is undeniable and the energy within the band is sky high. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles had the opportunity to speak to both Evan and Mickey about the band and their EP.
My first reaction to the EP was holy shit this is awesome. Was there that feeling in the studio that you nailed it?
Evan: Thank you so much man, we worked really hard to make sure that we put our best foot forward and captured what we are all about.
Did it take a while working on these songs to get them the best they could be?
Evan: Yes, it is all about going in prepared and we didn’t want to go in without arrangements that we were happy with so we spent a lot of time digging and making sure that they translate well. One of the difficulties to is capturing that experience you get from a live show in a record is very different to one hundred and thirty decibels to two hundred people screaming but to listen to it on your own it is a different sort of thing. We wanted to capture that same feeling in a different medium and we worked hard to balance the arrangements we thought did that the best way possible.
Did you work on more than four songs and arriving at the four best ones in the end?
Evan: It really wasn’t about the four best, we’re lucky in that we really paid attention to the songs we choose to perform. By no means these are the four best, you could come to a show and get that and a bunch of fillers, we try and make every song as strong as the last. Our approach was what can we do to totally capture what we are all about and we felt those four really gave the listener an insight to our identify.
If you listen to those four songs, you know exactly what we are all about in every facet. We thought those would be the best to start with and we were on a really limited studio time. There wasn’t the luxury of messing around with too many tunes, we had to go in with arrangement pretty fresh and the songs chosen so we can get the right takes we wanted and push forward.
Are you excited with the interest already in The Dives?
Evan: It is a pretty awesome feeling, super gratifying when you work really hard on something and giving it your all but you never know how people are going to react until they start reacting. When you hear that people are really getting in to and really connecting that’s all we can ever ask for. We’re totally thrilled.
What is the life story behind The Dives?
Evan: It was a really organic thing, I was dying to start a band and I asked this guy called Bob who I know and if he knew anyone as he has been in the scene in New Your forever. He knows who is out there and who is playing with who. He introduced me to Mickey and said that you guys have got to play together. I had a good feeling it was going to work and after a week of starting to play together there was something that neither of us had felt before. You can have two great players who play well together but we had the chemistry which we just knew that would work.
We were on the same page immediately, I brought in Sergio and he brought in Jimmy and we had the same experience when we all played together the first time. It was one of those big tangible things that you know is there and we didn’t want to let it go so we kept playing and playing. It came full circle when it came time to record the EP and there was no one better else than Bob. He did the EP with us which worked well with our live sound. It was very involved, it was an organic thing, we love playing and we do it all the time and get it as best we can.
What would you say the biggest influences are for the band?
Evan: Definitely The Beatles, which is the main influence on all of us but I think we all have similar influences. We all grew up listening to bands like The Who, Badfinger and Zeppelin who all have great songs. We all gravitate towards songs, the binding agent that brings us all together and it doesn’t matter what we are listening to or what era we gravitate towards the songs whether it is a guitar or a drum machine if it is a great song we’ll take it in.
Coming from a rock family do you feel a certain amount of pressure to be a certain type of performer? Is it weird the expectations others have of you?
Evan: People are always going to have expectations or preconceived ideas about what we should be. We are not really concerned with that and we’re The Dives and we’re doing our thing. We don’t follow any trends or rules other than our own. The band is totally self-contained and independent from anything else that is going on. We just want to make the music that we love and get up and play it with each other, we’re all best friends and all love the same kind of stuff. Surely there is no better feeling than getting together and playing. That’s our focus and our only concern is having a blast which we have been doing pretty well so far. It’s about doing it because you love it.
Are there plans for an album at this stage?
Evan: I think at some point that will be a consideration but for the time being we are really trying to focus mainly on the live show because we feel like we are a live band, the best kind of performance is coming to a live show and the EP was really to capture the essence of the live show in twelve minutes. At the moment we are always thinking about it and it’s in the plan at some point but for now we are focused on touring playing the best show we can do.
Mickey: There’s never a shortage of material and to get better at what we do we continually one up ourselves by writing better songs. We really pride ourselves on that but we’re wanting to play live as much as we can. There’s nothing more fun than that and watching people soak up your energy watching you doing your thing. That really is the best thing and that’s what we love. There’s no shortage of stuff and we just need to think about how we will release it. Right now, come and see us live! That’s where we really connect the best.
How about some shows in Australia?
Mickey: I’m dying to! I’m dying to!
Evan: Absolutely! If we can get out of New York winter and enjoy summer while playing that would be heaven. It’s just a matter of figuring out the best way of doing it. If it makes sense we’ll be down there in a heart beat.
How did the name The Dives come about?
Evan: We needed a name for a long time and hadn’t been able to decide on one. We had been throwing around a lot of names and no one was really ok with any of them. Our bassist Sergio was frustratingly sitting in a dive bar in New York one day and because of where he was I guess he thought of the name Dives. He texted it to us and I think we pretty much said yeah that works. It sounded fine then I said it aloud and it just sounded right, it sounded like us. That’s our name, that’s who we are!
Interview by Rob Lyon