Before the show last Friday, I was lucky enough to catch up with frontman John Kunkel, sequencing guru Michael “Janzie” Janz, and manager Suraj Teppara for an impromptu interview. We discussed the band’s origins, influences, album successes, and future ambitions. Evident in their sound, groups such as Joy Division, New Order, and Depeche Mode have influenced the band heavily. At an early age Kunkel was exposed to this type of dark abstract music and you can hear glimpses of it in The New Devision’s synths and hard hitting drum tracks. We also discussed more modern groups such as Cut Copy and the Presets, and how the electro-pop movement has paved the way for the next generation of indie bands. The New Division has found a unique way to mix a variety of decades together without seeming dated or redundant. In fact their sound is so powerful and creative that many critics listed their debut LP “Shadows” as top five in 2011. This of course was a pleasant surprise for the young and talented group. Critical success has boosted the group’s confidence and has enhanced their ability to experiment with new sounds. In November of 2012 The New Division released their second EP Night Escape, and one can clearly see how the band has matured.
Last Friday night we celebrated Night Escape’s release at Central SAPC in Santa Monica and it was a blast. They were scheduled to go on at midnight and by 12:15 the crowd was buzzing with anticipation. Central’s sound system was incredible and once the set began the energy in the building was intense. The place was packed and it was a mob scene near the stage. Kunkel is quite a showman and his singing voice was extremely clear live. As for the band, they were tight and played with robust focus. An early highlight of the set was “Shallow Play”, which is one of their strongest songs. The place went absolutely nuts once the beat kicked in and Kunkel’s powerful vocals left everyone entranced. It is no surprise why this song has brought them much notoriety.
The whole set was outstanding but another shining moment was their performance of “Start Over”. The band has stated multiple times that they are experimenting with a more EDM sound and this song showcases that nicely. The dance driven melody sent shockwaves through the venue and had people dancing up a storm. This song has been able to win over the EDM crowd and broaden their fan base. The SBB team was lucky enough to capture a video of the track so make sure to check out the link below.
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Overall it was a great show, and if you haven’t seen The New Division yet make sure to catch them in the near future. As soon as more tour dates pop up we’ll make sure to update you on SBB. You should also expect a new album later this year, which is now permanently on my watch list. Janzie and Kunkel both advised me that the album’s sound will be different from their past records, and I couldn’t be more excited to witness the evolution. “Shadows” put them on the map in 2011, and with their new album looming, 2013 will be the year they breakout. Enjoy the pics and videos music fans. Until next time….