Soul, funk and R+B bandits: The Divinchis

In a day and age where it is often easier to catch up and meet over the inter-webs, our writer, Emily Hosking caught up with Garry Larden, lead singer of Sydney based Soul and Groove outfit, The Divinchis via email to chat about their recent debut album release.

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Where did the name ‘The Divinchis’ originate from?

The name was originally registered for a business involved in hiring exotic animals such as Lions, Tigers, Monkeys, Elephants etc for Film and TV work. I wanted a name that sounded a little continental and Divinchis Exotic Animals seemed like a good idea at the time.  That business venture fell through, and at the very same time I was asked to do some corporate gigs which needed a band name, so instead of the name representing a host of exotic animals, it ended up representing a band of soul, funk and R&B bandits.


The self-titled album features an array of talented Sydney based musicians. When did they come on board with the project and how did you manage to collaborate with such a high calibre collective of musicians?

Alex Plavsic, our ‘drummer and producer’, coordinated everything from Sydney. After so many years in the industry, we all have a great network of musicians in our diaries so it’s not hard for us to bring together a collection of great session musicians.


Speaking of Alex… You mentioned he was the drummer and producer for this project. Considering these a two very different ‘hats’ to be worn in the studio, how did he manage juggling between seeing the overall picture as the producer, and providing the backbone rhythms in a creative aspect for the album?

Alex did a wonderful job and handled it with ease. He has spent many years in some of Sydney’s finest studios, and there was a collective input from everyone throughout the recording process. We also had Ted Howard engineering the entire production, and then Alex and Ted mastered the album when it was competed.


So you recorded the album with multi-award winning engineer, Ted Howard (who has worked with the likes of Paul Kelly, Kasey Chambers, John Williamson and Yothu Yindi to mention a few) at Rancom Street Studio in Sydney. In what ways did Ted’s experience compliment the vision for this project?

Ah yes, ‘Magic Ted’ was a delight to work with. I have a pet hate with some bands recording an album and then when you see them live they sound nothing like the recording or are very average compared to their superior recording.  I expressed my thoughts to Ted, Alex, and the boys who all agreed that we should try and keep the entire recording as live as possible and Ted has definitely accomplished that. What you hear on this album is exactly what you get live.


Of the 10 tracks listed, 9 of them are co-written by yourself and keyboardist John Carson. How do you both approach song writing in a duo capacity?

John and I both work from different angles. Sometimes he will produce a melody that I will search through my endless lyric sheets to match up compatible works, and other times I will scat a groove and nominate a particular genre for a song with a basic structure that I may already be working on with lyrics. Very often once we start rolling we will both improvise and explore options within any particular groove, and groove we do until we have the finished works.


When I listened to the album, all I wanted to do was collect my friends and head to my local for a good ol’ Saturday night dance to a live sweet soul and blues band. Do the Divinchis play many live gigs?

We are in the process of appointing an agent to organise festivals Australia wide and I am really looking forward to that. We will definitely let everyone know when and where they will be happening.


What’s next for the Divinchis?

Apart from the festivals, we have had some interest from overseas (as all the band have worked extensively touring overseas, we have acquired some very good contacts).  We have also had interest from a very large label in the USA regarding using songs from the Divinchis album in film scores, which is also a real buzz.


Congrats on a great album release. Anything further to add Garry?

I never really expected that these songs which were written in my garage would end up being released (as they were simply done for pure enjoyment through self-indulgence over far too many vodkas). I am grateful that MGM took them up and distributed the album in all major music stores plus iTunes etc… but also I am so very grateful that people are taking so much interest and of course, enjoying our music.

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