Divide & Dissolve are sick of venues not having enough power to ignite their colossal wall of amps. They are also sick of the sexism, racism and overall fuckery that dominates the heavy music scene and the world. Composed of guitarist/saxophonist Takiaya (27) and drummer Sylvie (25), the Texas-Geelong duo based in Melbourne have one solid ambition; to abolish white supremacy with their heavy, bone-crushing doom.
The duo is a transformative rite of passage best experienced live and with a desire to be chewed, spat out and restored. You'll feel overpowered by the thickness of their vibrations, the size of their resonance. It will make you realize how in comparison to the size of their wall of amps you are just a speck of dust in the universe. Divide & Dissolve is not to be taken lightly.
Noisey had a chat with Takiaya and Sylvie ahead of the release of their second album BASIC and their transcontinental tour.
Noisey: Divide & Dissolve's aim is to dismantle white supremacy. Having no vocalist, which methods do you use express this through your instruments?
Sylvie: Fucking with norms. Fucking with the expected.
Takiaya: Liberation, black empowerment and indigenous movements are very present in our minds when we write. I think our songs are almost like maps to guide slaves - all forms of slavery- towards freedom. In that sense we try to make our music as much as a bodily experience as possible. It's all very organic and there's a lot of breathing room in our songs. I feel like our music takes so much space wherever we play as a way to take over every colonized corner of the room. That's how we decolonize the space , we play loud and heavy to destroy CIS white supremacy.
Tell me about the songwriting process. Do you have any rituals?
Takiaya: Sylvie and I have an accelerated songwriting process. Our previous album TFW was written in about two days and the one we are making now [BASIC] was written in four. I don't know if I would call it a ritual but we go celibate with each other .
Sylvie: We sort of isolate ourselves and hang out a lot just the two of us and then we just grab our instruments and play. We don't talk about the songs or musically discuss anything. We just let the songs happen. Most of our songs are recorded in one take.
I heard that you purposely avoid listening to any genre of heavy music in general.
Takiaya: Yes, I don't listen to heavy music, metal or doom. Those genres are usually dominated by people I don't feel inspired by. When I think of music I think of my culture and how music has been used to liberate people from all types of slavery and resist against the incessant genocide, erasure, and assimilation of culture. When filling my mind with words or music I want to feel connected to the literal maps of freedom that music encoded with inherent white supremacy could never provide for me.
Why did you pick heavy doom/drone?
Sylvie: I love the physicality of sound through low end vibrations and resonance. For me making music involves balancing my body and controlling or being controlled by my breath and it involves listening. We play slowly and heavily, and so we fit into the doom or sometimes drone genres, but we are not loyal to this - or any genre. Having said that, it's really important for me that the metal scene - so heavily dominated by white men - is faced by people like Takiaya and I. The very act of her and I making this crushing music and being present in the scene challenges their entitlement and white supremacy.
Takiaya: Also, I see our genre as something along the lines of a neo-classical- drone-heavy. To me what's most important is that our music empowers other black and indigenous people to see that these genres are not played just by white men. Overall we want to destroy norms, and we want others to destroy and re-invent these genres and play whatever makes them feel empowered.
Australia's heavy scene is predominantly white and full of bros. How has this affected D/D?
Takiaya: I feel like we have been severely limited in Australia because of sexism and racism. Our music is super heavy and doomy but it's been chopped down into something else, it's been reduced to a 'girl band'. I think only now people are starting to understand us here. In saying that, I feel like only a couple of months ago we had an attitude re-adjustment. It was about the time that Trump got elected so it became obvious that fascism is actually here and quite visibly.
People have stopped being as complacent and everyone's art will become better and fearless. We need to step up to the plate. When we made this decision we started demanding to be listened to, we started demanding more shows.
Sylvie: I think an important element is that even though we play heavy music we are not 'aggressive', we are heavy without having to put on the tough act. We just chill, play, and go, we do what we do…and it's fun to always be heavier and louder than the bros [laughs].
Is it true someone texted you after one of your gigs to tell you they had shat themselves?
Sylvie: [Laughs] Yes. Someone after the Listen gig contacted us randomly and was like 'I just saw your gig, you rocked. I'm glad I wore my nappy because you made me shit'.
Takiaya: There you go, that's your click-bait headline. Divide & Dissolve will make you shit yourself. Bring your nappies.
Images: Jack Mannix