It’s no lie that in the last century New York City has provided the world with some of music’s legendary great of greats from New York Dolls, Blondie, KISS, The Ramones, The Strokes… the list is endless, with successful rock groups leading a legendary career spanning decades. That reputation doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon with a new rock band on the horizon ready to take on the world. That band, of course, is The Dives.
But who are The Dives and where did they come from?
After an in-depth conversation with guitarist and lead vocalist, Evan Stanley, and drummer Jimmy Meier, we grasped a deeper understanding of just who these boys are.
With the four members hailing from both sides of the country and the middle, it might seem unlikely that these musicians would ever even meet, let alone form a band. When Stanley moved to NYC to attend college at NYU / Tisch’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, he was determined to start a band. After a little trial and error, he was introduced to New Jersey native, Mike Lefton. Brotherhood was formed instantly as the two found musical commonalities beginning with their influences and energetic work ethic.
“We all had separately moved to New York, and a year and a half ago, I wanted to get more serious and I had met this guy Bob who had been a producer in New York City for forty years. I was looking to get a band together, and Bob kept saying I have to meet and get together with this guy, Mike [lead guitar] who he had seen play a week earlier. Apparently, he was saying the same thing to Mike about me, so finally we called each other and arranged a meeting, and within about 10 minutes of jamming, we knew we had to form a group. It was just perfect timing, and Mike knew Jimmy, and I knew Sergio [Orgeta, bass]; and from the very first song we knew there was something there, and we never had to question what we were going to play. It was just how we were going to get as good as we were going to get.” Evan Stanley explained when asked on how the group initially created their formation.
Featuring tight harmonies and infectious hooks, the music of The Dives’ sounds fresh and familiar at the same time. When explaining how the band was formed, they all vehemently agree that they got together with the common goal of making the kind of music the band wished they heard more. Stanley continued to explain the group’s influences into their musical direction: “The greatest common denominator between us all was The Beatles… they’re the greatest band in the world; you can’t top the Beatles. But beyond them, we are also tremendously influenced by The Who, Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers, Led Zeppelin… The real classics, we feed off of bands with great musicians who play great songs.”
However, midway through our interview, the elephant in the room needed to be addressed. It’s not just a coincidence that lead singer Evan Stanley happens to share the same last name as legendary KISS frontman, Paul Stanley. In fact, he is the son of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Despite this fact, no musical assumptions should arise when making a connection between the two groups; the contrast between The Dives’ music and that of KISS is completely different as The Dives possess their own identity and individual sound.
From then, Stanley is asked what it’s like to have a father with such a successful career in the industry, as well as his [Paul Stanley] views on his son joining the “family business”.
“It’s definitely an interesting position… I was very lucky that both my parents are very supportive of what I do. In fact, all the guys’ parents are, which we’re all super grateful for, but my dad never pushed me towards it. Like any kid, I dabbled in everything from sport – soccer, football; I played the saxophone; and when I was 10 years old, my best friend picked up a guitar and he was playing Nirvana, and that fact that he was playing a song we all knew set me off. I mean, seeing my dad growing, by all means, played a very important role, but it was really my best friend who pushed me towards it. But I’m thankful for all the support my parents give. I mean, I grew up knowing Dad made music, and I happened to grow up and fall in love with it, too. I picked up more on his work ethic; there is no secret backdoor to success or ability – it’s just a lot of hours spent towards it, no matter who your parents are or what you come from. You’ve got to put in the work because at the end of the day it’s the public who decides.
“I mean, sure, a door can open but it can still slam shut unless you have the goods that can back it up, and my parents always taught me that from a young age, and not just in terms of music, but in life. If you’re going to do something, you have to do it to the best of your ability, and that’s what all do well because we love to work. With my dad, like any parent, he’s protective of me and all of us after seeing what’s in the kitchen and kind of wants to shield us from it. But after seeing us play and how into it all we are, there’s no turning back, and he has been all for it and as supportive as you could ever ask anyone to be.”
The Dives have a bright future installed for them. The group has been together only over one year now and have just come off a UK tour that afforded them the opportunity to play to audiences numbering in the tens of thousands when they’d only ever played bars in the duration of this time.
“We had been preparing for it [the tour] for so long, and we try to play every venue whether it’s a small club of 10, 100, 200 people; the same as we would if we were to play a huge stadium. You really can’t rehearse for something like that, and for us, we play, we have fun together, and that’s what we wanted to do because we’re having a good time on stage and the crowd is going to feed off of that. We want to establish a connection. I mean, it was crazy playing arenas when we had played bars and clubs literally smaller than the stages to suddenly having 20,000 people screaming. And I don’t want to say it’s daunting… it’s exciting to play to that many people! So we approached it in a way that we play each show better than the last show. And, as soon as we got back from the tour, we played a small bar with the same energy we did at a stadium, so whether it’s a hand full of people or a stadium, you’re still getting The Dives, and it will always be a Dives show.” Jimmy Meier explained the contrast was between playing stadiums and bars.
It has certainly been a busy year for the boys as they have also released their debut EP, Everybody’s Talkin’ (see our review HERE).
“We spent two months preparing for recording and came into the studio and recorded the album as a full band at once. We went in there knowing that we really wanted to capture on our recordings what we do live, and on a four track EP, it’s really not that much time to get across a statement of ‘this is exactly who we are’. So the goal was always just to capture the energy of the live show on record. It’s all about connection, whatever art it is. It’s just about connection. Recording is a different medium to live performance, so we’re all so happy with how it turned out.” Stanley described the recording process.
The Dives are going to embark on a national tour in the United States this August and also begin work on an upcoming full-length album, which after listening to their EP, the public will most assuredly be highly anticipating its release.
From this point on, anything is possible, so be on the lookout for what these boys have coming to the public very soon as this band is definitely going to be the next best thing to come out of New York City.