INTERVIEW: Evan Stanley & Sergio Ortega (The Dives)
On the new EP ‘Everybody’s Talkin
Evan: We’re really lucky so far, it’s been really good. It really seems to be connecting with people which is the most that you can hope for. You put you’re all into it and try to put out the very best version of you possible and we work really hard to do that, we were all very proud of the end result but you never know how people are going to react until they start reacting! Luckily it’s been quite positive so far.
Yeah so about a year and a half ago I was really dying to start a band and had a bunch of songs together that I wanted to play out but you can’t really go out there and play rock n’ roll with one dude so I asked this cat Bob that I knew if he knew anybody and Bob knows the scene here, has been here forever and knows everyone. He’s done sound for everyone, played bass with people, producers, he’s worked with a ton of great musicians and kind of just knows what’s going on and he was raving about this guy Mike (Lefton, guitars) for about a week or so, just wouldn’t shut up about him.
So finally I called Mike because there must be something to him because if he [Bob] won’t stop, there must be something to him. So I called Mike and Mike comes to my apartment and we plug in and we jam a little bit and then started singing some songs together and that’s when the moment just came where it was like, ‘Yeah this is it, we have to start a band. There’s something here that neither of us has felt before, we gotta grab it and run with it’. So I brought in Sergio (Ortega, bass) who Bob introduced me to a couple of years before and Mike brought in Jimmy (Meier, drums) and we were off. We were really lucky, there was never any question as to who we were going to be. We all were on the same page from the moment we started playing, we always knew exactly where we were going and how we were going to get there. It’s just a matter of how can we get as good as we can be and let’s get together and put in the work and that’s really what it was all about. We kinda came full circle and Bob produced this EP with us and is still very involved with our live sound so it’s a very organic thing which kind of has grown over the last year or so.
On how THE DIVES formed...
Evan: We’ve all been in a bunch of bands before and personally I’ve been in quite a few and played guitar for a lot of people but I wasn’t really writing or singing for a long time, I was just playing guitar for different bands. But it got to a point where I realized I was playing a lot of music that I wasn’t really enjoying and it’s kind of a downer to not have fun doing the one thing you love so I really set out to try and figure out how to write songs and with that, how to sing just because it’s kind of hard to write if you’re not going to sing. That happened around the time I got to college so there was a bit of an incubation period in that I knew where I wanted to go but certainly wasn’t good enough yet so I didn’t want to start a band but by my senior of school I was just itching to get out there and dying to start something. So as soon as I met these guys it was just real raw, everybody was very much on the same page and everyone is continuously pushing each other to get better and to really work to the greater good. There’s never any ego involved, it’s just what can we do for the band and how can we make the band as good as possible. Everybody’s voice is heard and at the end of the day we always go with what sounds best, there’s no being precious, it’s just working hard to be the best.
Sergio: Yeah and at the end of the day when we were trying to find people to play with, it’s hard enough to find one person that you like. When you get a group of 4 guys together and something happens, we definitely felt something with what was happening. It felt so easy and seamless and kind of a no-brainer so it’s been pretty awesome so far.
Andrew: Yeah I guess one thing I pick up from bands when they say when they first get together is chemistry is one of, if not the most important thing when you are first starting out and writing songs together. So that must of been something you knew right at the beginning then.
Evan: We all listen to a ton of different stuff which I think is what brings something fresh to what we do. We always go back to the innovators and the ones that stand the test of time, the Beatles, Tom Petty, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones. Those guys who really kind of wrote the book and 40 to 50 years later that happily holds up so for us it always comes back to the song. We are a rock n’ roll band by all means but we know to pay attention to the songs, we get up there and try and play something that’s concise and catchy and really gets the point across in a way that connects and also hopefully be unforgettable.
The meaning of the title ‘Everybody’s Talkin’...
Evan: It was one of those interesting things, there is a song on the EP called ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ which is one of the few songs that has nothing to do with girls. At the time I was living in the East Village and East Village in New York is a really fun place and a very weird place and I wrote a song about that and it ended up being the title of the song. It’s not actually the single off the EP, we thought ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ would be an apt title for the EP. We’re in an interesting position where everybody’s talking about it, we’re all talking about it and have a clear voice and idea of what we want to do and there are a lot of people who have ideas as well on what we should be and what we should do. So there are a lot of voices involved so we thought it was an accurate description of that EP. We heard a lot from a ton of different people in making it and we really had to listen to ourselves to find what resonated with us and go with that . I can’t discount the fact that honestly and hopefully we all like to think that the EP will have everybody talking at some point as well! So there’s that element to it and I think there’s a couple of different things in there.