Meet The Division Men; a husband / wife acoustic duo based in Austin, Texas. We were blown away when we heard their mesmerizing, haunting, desert-dusted sound a couple months ago, and since then their music has swept across the Fluence community evoking recurring comparisons to Leonard Cohen, The Handsome Family, and Tom Waits to name a few.
— Coyote Music (@coyotemusic) January 23, 2015
We see great heights in store for their talent, and after listening to their music, it’s not hard to imagine them finding a place alongside Conor Oberst, The Good Life, and Monsters of Folk in the future. Read our interview with J. and Caroline below to hear The Division Men’s genesis, creative influences, and what’s upcoming for them this year.
How did your collaboration as ‘The Division Men’ begin and transpire?
(J) The band began in my apartment Berlin, Germany, in 2008. I met a few musicians that I wanted to collaborate with. My idea was to work with my friends who did not live in Germany at the time. I know a lot of talented musicians and I didn’t think our locations should be a factor.
I sent files to guys like Fredo Ortiz (Beastie Boys/ Tito and Tarantula/ Ozomatli), Steven Medina Hufsteter (The Quick / Cruzados / Tito and Tarantula) and Mitch Hertz (Salacious Crumb, Salmon Hater). I really enjoyed collaborating with them but just like everything in life, people get busy and the work slows down. At that time Caroline and I were dating and we continued to play music together under the already established name “The Division Men”.
Did growing up in Texas inform any of the creative direction in your work?
(J) I was raised on the border of El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. I was able to be apart of two different cultures coming together. El Paso is a perfect place to write music because of it’s surroundings, everyday struggles, history and beautiful people that have so many stories to tell. Our music is naturally Texas because it’s what we know, who we know and what we’ve heard and read about.
(C) San Antonio is a predominantly Hispanic town. It’s full of culture, fiesta, music and art. Any contributions that I have come from what I was surrounded by. I grew up in a musical family from the guitar makers (Bajo Sextos) to the guitar players. Although all of these things are my Texas influence, moving to El Paso in 2009 definitely encouraged the writing for our music.
You just released the music video for ‘Criminal’ which tells the story of a man spending his days travelling behind a mask. Is there any significance in that particular mask, and the cemetery where he chooses to remove it in the final scene?
(J) There’s no direct significance in the choice of the specific cemetery or that particular mask. The song is about someone realizing the wrong choices he made and trying to rectify them. The use of mask represented the temptation and the choice made. In the cemetery he leaves the mask asking for redemption in his choice.
Are there any artists in particular you’ve drawn inspiration from?
(C) There are many artists that both of us draw inspiration from. We’re inspired by writers, film, art and music. Going into this we never tried to replicate or mimic anyone but have been compared to some amazing artists who we both truly admire.
(J) David Romo, Cormac McCarthy, Stanley Kubrick, Wes Anderson, David Lynch, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen are just a few.
How did you discover Fluence? What do you think of the platform so far?
(J) I’ve followed Travis Keller’s writings for years and have been a fan of Buddyhead. I read that he was doing reviews and thought it was a great opportunity for him to listen to our music. I’m glad we became part of Fluence because we have been fortunate enough to have great writers review our work. We plan on continuing to work with Fluence and promote it as much as we can.
You released your debut album ‘Under The Gun’ the past May. What are your plans for 2015? Can we look forward to any live shows?
(J) We’re currently getting ready to head out for a short tour in February. This will take us through Texas, California, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming and Colorado with our friends (Black Market II) from San Diego. Another tour later this year is also a possibility. We are starting to work on new material for a third record and will release a few more videos.