Since “replacing a Mike for a Mike,” Anadivine’s line-up has been stable, with Sean Paul on vocals and guitar, Justin on drums, Bill on guitar and vocals, and the aforementioned Mike on vocals and bass. These four men have known each other since high school and have been in various bands together before forming Anadivine in 2001. The area they are from, Kingston, NY, held claim to a scene where one could always spot all the same kids at shows who were all in different bands together. And according to Sean Paul, the guys of Anadivine were “the kids out of what was like a big melting pot of musicians in our high school that kind of rose above and really wanted to do this. And I think that’s why we ended up coming together in the end.” On the same note, he believes that Anadivine’s greatest strength is a mixture of patience and integrity, elaborating, “We’re still all best friends: we go right from practice or just playing a show to hanging out somewhere,” as opposed to many other bands, who find it difficult to spend so much time together.
Kingston has also spawned other bands that Sean Paul can’t help but praise, including Three, which just so happens to be Josh’s (of Coheed And Cambria fame) brother’s band, as well as another act called No Valentine, who Anadivine have played with before. They haven’t been on a bill with Coheed And Cambria for about a year, but there is no doubt the two bands are close. In fact, Coheed vocalist Claudio Sanchez even lends his voice to a track off Anadivine’s self-titled debut EP on SideCho, and Sean Paul wrote the song “Alcohol and Oxygen” with Josh in mind. It’s a song that means much to the vocalist/guitarist, as it “had to do with a big six month chunk of my life,” and pertains to his and Josh’s time at a so-called “dive bar” where they would spend much time when they’d come back home after playing, just “living in like alcohol and oxygen…it’s like day and night drinking and breathing.” Even more bands, such as Matchbook Romance and Autopilot Off, are over in the next county, so there’s a lot going on around this area. Sean Paul ascribes this to the fact that in some places, music simply “inspires” and that the “kids have a real passion for music around here.”
But back to the EP…I asked him to deconstruct another song entitled “Emily”, and was met with some hesitance. Apparently due to the dark lyrics (“My valentine in a chalked outline/You’re finally mine/Don’t make a sound/Sleep underground) he thought I didn’t like it or something, but nothing could be further from the truth. He discloses that the song is not actually about a real person named Emily or even any woman for that matter. Rather, Sean Paul reveals, “It’s anything that drives anybody crazy…And you would do anything to just see it miserable – as happy as that is…It’s a daydream that I had. I don’t know; it’s weird.” He had thought this track would bring some criticism as a result of people taking the lyrics literally, and seems shocked and relieved that they haven’t gotten any backlash from the extremely intriguing lyrics. As he admits, while writing “Emily”, he thought, “‘I’m gonna get slammed for this,’ but I was like, ‘I gotta write it’ – you know, that’s what I wanna write, so I’m gonna put it on there…I like it, so I put it on, and there it is.” There it is indeed. “Emily”, along with the most surprising of the compostitions, “Filling the Lungs (of this Dead Machine)”, which is downright skate punk for a majority of the song until it melds into hardcore and what Sean Paul describes as an Iron Maiden riff towards the end, are the standout tracks on the EP. This latter offering is his Descendents-inspired composition, and unfortunately, from what he says, there won’t be any more like it in the near future.
The guys in Anadivine already have a majority of the material written for their debut full-length, which is to be released on The Militia Group during the summer and Sean Paul assures me they’re “in good shape.” Moreover, from what he says, the new album is going to surprise a lot of people. “I really don’t know what anybody’s gonna think of the next record. It’s gonna be out there.” When asked to elaborate, all he can add is that “it’s strange, but it’s gonna be cool, it’s gonna be awesome. It’s got every element again.”
All of the band members contribute to the writing process; there is no sole songwriter. “We just kind of bring ideas to the group and we just smash it into whatever we make it,” says Sean Paul. What they make out of this mish-mash of ideas are songs that feature many different elements and styles, yet still sound cohesive in themselves, as well as when listened to the record as a whole. As he laughingly says, “We just write whatever we write because that’s what comes out, which is cool, but sometimes we get a little slammed for that.” Yet, their fusion of punk, hardcore, emo, and what-have-you adds to Anadivine’s appeal, even if some reviewers can’t see that, objecting that the band “can’t seem to find their niche,” a criticism that really maddens Sean Paul.
Anadivine have already begun incorporating a couple new songs into their set, alternating between one of the two every night. Sorry, folks – Sean Paul couldn’t give titles, as they only have tentative names like “That Crazy Song” and “The More Chill Song”. And apparently, they’re getting “great reception.” They actually sometimes ask the kids at the shows if they like the new song afterwards, and as Sean Paul jokes, they say, “‘It’s done well,’ or that’s what they tell us to our faces I guess.”
When asked about Anadivine’s live show, Sean Paul claims, “[It’s] madness…It’s different every time,” but they always give 110 percent no matter what. “[It] doesn’t matter if there’s five or 500 or 1000 kids, you’re gonna get what you heard on the CD that you bought,” he declares – even if the crowd only wants to hear the song “Cross Your Heart” off the EP, as they did at their last show on Long Island in mid-December. And it doesn’t really make a difference what size venue they play. Sean Paul admits he has a hankering for smaller, more intimate venues, but still believes “it’s flattering to play a big like packed venue.” He goes on to say that he enjoyed playing the small shows immensely on the Hidden In Plain View tour, but also concedes, that it’s a great feeling “to play bigger clubs and to see a sea of kids.”
And although they’re busy finishing writing for the upcoming record and will have to go into the studio in February to lay down the tracks, they’ll still try to play as many shows as is feasible. However, as February approaches and they have to “get this thing finalized so that it goes a lot smoother in the studio”, the guys will have to cut back on shows. Still, he believes that even while in the studio, they’ll head out for a couple one-offs every now and then. It’s all good though, because according to Sean Paul, “As soon as it’s over, we’re just gonna jump right back on the road.”