The Undivided, a name you should remember for years to come, is an upcoming band from South Wales, formed in 2009. In 2013, they headed back to the studio, working with Producer Romesh Dodangoda on their new album “The New Day” which was released in April. Ahead of their UK tour, Tim Morizet got to speak Joe (Guitar & Vocals), Lew (Guitar), Rhyd (Drums) and Craig (Bass) in Newport.
TM: Let’s start very easy, if you were a ghost for one day, who would you haunt?
RHYD: How is that easy?
CRAIG: I could kind of see a way of using it to my advantage. I could like, haunt my boss for a day to find out what he is looking for in an employee…and Derek Acorah, just for the fact that he hosted ‘Most Haunted’, just to prove him right, he got a lot of slack. Or haunt Casper, he needs a friend anyway.
TM: If you guys were pornstars, what would your pornstar name be?
LEW: Isn’t it meant to be your pets name and your mother’s maiden name?
CRAIG: Oh this is brilliant because my parents have a dog, and if we go by that rule, my name will be Major Smith.
TM: Your song ‘The New Day’ got some radio plays across the UK and ‘Worlds Apart’ was aired on BBC Radio Wales. Do you remember that feeling when you heard yourself on the first time on radio?
LEW: We didn’t know; we locked ourselves away in some second hole in West Wales. When we were coming back, we’d been cut off from our phones and radio for about two days, and out of the radio shadow, our phones all started ringing with texts and calls from friends saying: ‘Oh well done for last night guys!’ and we were all: ‘What happened?’
TM: How did you get interested into music and being in a band?
JOE: Bewitched! Bewitched, the girl band! That was the first song I ever played was: ‘C’est la vie’. I played the Cello before and then the guitar. I wasn’t very good straight away, so I quit. And then as my success with the female persuasion was poor, I decided to have another try, and after a while I got pretty good and it gets me out of the house. I like wide open spaces.
TM: Talking about girls, do you think you have more luck with girls since being in a band?
JOE: Absolutely not! The opposite actually!
RHYD: No, because you do not have any money.
LEW: I’m in district rules: ‘no floozies’, so just in case my girlfriend reads this: There were no women in that entire place, it was a complete sausage fest!
TM: I did some research on you. Quotes like ‘plenty of promise’ and ‘perfect balance between fast, upbeat rock and a slow memorable song’ were used to describe your band and your single ‘This New Day’. How important is the media’s opinion on you?
CRAIG: (laughing) That sounds like a very trick question. To be honest, I’d rather hear a fan a say that he likes our stuff than someone from the industry, but at the same time it can be incredibly useful, I suppose.
JOE: It’s really nice to have nice things said about us. Positive feedback is always great. The more media and people say it, the more it feels we’re doing something right. We just want to make a connection with people, especially with our new album.
TM: How important would you say is connecting to your fans through social media for a band that is trying to break through?
JOE: It’s incredibly important, now more than ever. I started being in bands in 2001 and it was a completely different game because if people wanted to hear your music they’d have to come to a show, there was no other way to get your music. It’s been such a massive change in the last 5 years, the MySpace generation changing to Facebook, YouTube and ITunes.
RHYD: In some ways it’s good because the fans now have instant access to the bands, so they can feel more connected. If they message us on Facebook, we’ll reply.
TM: It used to be CD’s and Napster, nowadays it is ITunes, Spotify and Deezer. What do you guys think of downloading or streaming music instead of buying CDs?
LEW: We’ve always done the downloading thing on our website as we give away a few of our songs as a free download. I think we get a lot of people moaning about downloading music, as they don’t make instant money off it, but I think they miss the long game you can make on it.
RHYD: We’re getting some College plays in America for example. They would not be able to come to one of our shows and buy a CD, but they can download it. Downloads give a wider access to everybody.
CRAIG: Apart from Turkey for Twitter.
TM: Where do you get your inspiration for new songs and how does the recording process work?
RHYD: It generally comes in with the back bones of a song like a chord progression and we sort of jam along until there is a structure in a song. If it doesn’t work we try something else until we’re happy with it.
JOE: Every song we write is a progression, as we’re a band built on progression. If your not expanding or moving forwards musically, it’s kind of pointless doing music.
TM: A band is or should at least be like a big family. And in every family, everyone has a certain role, what would be yours?
CRAIG: Joe is probably the carrying mother, making sure the rest of us are good. I’d put myself as the little brother, but that’s because I’m new.
LEW: I’d kind of put myself as the weird uncle who only turns up around Christmas and shouts.
TM: If you were able to create a one day festival in Wales, who would you like to hire for your line-up?
JOE: Manic Street Preachers, a great welsh band.
CRAIG: The band Brand New, I’ve seen them once in Reading; they disappointed a few people, but I love them.
JOE: All right, who’s headlining this?
CRAIG: Jeff Buckley!
TM: How would you describe the Welsh music scene and your place in it?
CRAIG: The Welsh music scene is very vibrant. So many bands started here in Newport and Cardiff. I think it sort of goes in and dips like a lot of things and a lot of genres out of the Welsh music scene seemed to have done well. I remember I read something like when Funeral for a Friend was starting that they couldn’t get a show because they sounded like the Stereophonics, and that Britpop sound was huge at the time. A couple of years later, everything started to go a bit more Post-Hardcore and Nu Metal. Yeah, it’s like a roller-coaster, very vibrant all the time.
JOE: I think we’ve always been the underdog. There are many good welsh bands coming out of the woodwork and I think we’re one of them. This is the first time that we’ve really started really to flourish, I guess. It’s been taking a long time to get to this point.
TM: What was the craziest thing that happened to you whilst touring and playing gigs?
RHYD: I lost my driving license once when I was driving the van. We borrowed another van and I thought I was covered, but I wasn’t. So we got pulled over in Essex, and there was the three of us in the front and two of us in the back in like, camping chairs, which of course isn’t legal at all. Yeah, the policeman came and drove us to the station and as we stopped at the station, the two at the back hoped to get over the front seat and get out and turn up later. But it didn’t work, so we spent three hours at some police station.
TM: As you are from Cardiff, where do you think our readers should go to see good local gigs?
CRAIG: Definitely LePub in Newport, a good place for local and more up and coming bands in the area. Swansea has got a few nice places too, like Sin City, that is a really good venue.
RHYD: In Cardiff you got like Clwb Ifor Bach, which is like the main club for touring bands. Then you got a place called the Moon Venue, which has smaller gigs. Then you got Fuel Rock Club, which is like the Metal place in Cardiff. Those would be the main good venues Cardiff.
TM: Where do you see yourself in three years?
CRAIG: Continually paying rent and trying to break even, being able to pay for the shows. If I can do that, that would be cool.
JOE: I haven’t thought that far ahead. I think we’re just really pleased with the album we just made, we’re just going to see how things work with that. It took us 18 months to make it, so I think we’re just going to enjoy this time right now as much as possible.