Australia. Asides from being a dusty, dingo-ridden country around the size of the Moon, it’s been responsible over the past 50 years for some of the most camp and ridiculous pop music of all time. But is there more to the land of Oz than the likes of Olivia Newton-John’s ode to oral sex
? Divine Knights certainly make a strong case…
How was Divine Knights formed?
Beef: We’ve been friends for years, and share all the same tastes in music, art and performance. We were both between projects at the time, Gerard had come off the back of a play, and I had just finished up with my former band in London so the timing seemed right to have a bit of a play around. It was all very rough at the start but there was definitely something there, so we wrote some songs and played a couple of low key gigs in Melbourne – and that was the birth of DK!
As a melancholy electro male duo, do you have a favourite Pet Shop Boys song?
Gerard: Well to be honest our favourite PSB album is VERY and that’s not very melancholic at all. We love the pop art corn dog feel of VERY, but we also love some of their newer tracks like ‘Psychological’ and ‘Integral’ from the Fundamental album, which do have that darker feel. We haven’t met them yet but we would like to share a pot of tea with them.
Despite being synth-based, you sound quite instrumental in places. How do you go about writing your music?
Beef: we actually have quite an unusual process. We tend to work on a song independently at first. I work on some ideas for the track; chords, sounds, riffs, beats. Gerard then takes it, and is either inspired by the music to write lyrics, or he reworks something he’s already written. It’s funny though..even though we do most of this in isolation, we almost ALWAYS have the same idea for a song. Once we’ve each done our bit, then we get together and fine-tune. The rest happens pretty quickly; recording vocals, working on the vocal mix. Most of our time is spent on the development process.
If you had to describe the album in just a few words, what would you say?
Gerard: It’s the best thing you’ve ever heard! No, it’s ok I’ll try harder. When I write our lyrics I draw from personal experience and approach each song like creating a story. Beef then creates the world in which that story takes place. Some of these stories are like a brief dream (‘Clouds’), other’s are a harrowing nightmare (‘The Garden’). There’s lots of light and shade in Midnight, it should be interesting to listen to and good to move your behind to as well!
All of the tracks on the album have ambitious, epic titles. Is the title of a song just as important as the sound to you?
Gerard: Oh this is one for me. We have little tiffs sometimes over the title of our songs. Usually one word sums up the track for me but Beef keeps telling me to have longer titles, I think the most I’ve managed is a 3 word title. One day I’ll call a song ‘This is the song that has more than a few words in the title’ and I’ll dedicate it to Beef. The truth is some of our stuff IS totally epic so calling it ‘Monstrous Game’ or the like just fits. We are also influenced by art and history e.g. ‘Minoan Queen’, and I guess that’s quite ambitious and unique in pop.
People often tend to think of just the Minogues and INXS when it comes to Australian music. What well-kept secrets should we be checking out?
Beef: Well they pretty much cover it! Kidding. To be honest we’re not all that inspired by Aussie music at the moment. In recent years though, Bertie Blackman made a really beautiful pop record. And Grafton Primary, who came out during the dance wave here (Presets, Empire of the Sun, PNAU etc) are great. Dark, hard, romantic dance music. With a bit of a queer edge, dare I say it! There was a Melbourne band called The New Avant Garde, who were like a sexier Alphabeat, who I really loved, but they only lasted 1 EP! Shame.
Any if you could send any artist/song into Room 101 never to be heard of again, who/what would you pick and why?
Beef: I’m gonna take this one! Look, I love all types of music; chart, pop, electro, dolly. BUT, what I cannot stand is pointless music that says NOTHING. For that reason, it’s time to go…Katy Perry.
Any chance of touring in the UK anytime soon?
Both: Absolutely! We both love the UK and wrote much of this record in London, so we will absolutely be over there at some point for a tour. Hopefully later this year. Keep an eye on our website for info!
Midnight, the spiffing debut album by Divine Knights is available to purchase now. Check out their Facebook page and follow them on The Twitter for latest updates.