Twenty years ago, Norwegian progressive metal band, Divided Multitude began independently releasing demos, until their debut album Inner Self was released through Sensory Records in 1999. Flash forward, through many festivals and tours, including ProgPower Europe in the early 2000’s, to ProgPower USA in 2014, the band proudly holds six full length albums under their belt, all with an impressively stable lineup over the years.
Through our interview with keyboardist Eskild Kløften, Metal Wani has learned that 2015 and 2016 bring some exciting news for the five-piece. Divided Multitude is releasing a brand new album (with crowd funding help), is on the bill for quite a few festivals, and is hoping to get a tour in the works soon.
First of all, for my readers who aren’t familiar with Divided Multitude, can you explain your overall sound? What are some of your influences as a band?
Well, what can I say… it’s a mix of loads of influences, but the output of it can be described as a really heavy sound; chorus-based, with a very melodic touch to it. We’re often described as a mix of Nevermore, In Flames and Dream Theater, which maybe can be close to the truth.But we are influences by all kinds of music; everything from pop music to really aggressive metal.
In all honesty, you are such an amazing keyboard player! I love the atmosphere and depth you create. What influenced you personally to start playing progressive metal?
Thanks! To be honest with you, I consider myself as a guitar player, so I have never paid that much attention to keyboard players. But if I have to mention some influences, it would be Jon Lord and Ken Hensley because of the organ sound. I love the sound of a Hammond organ, and I am trying to use that a lot in our music. Of course, ever since we started out, we’ve all been listening to everything from Slayer to Dream Theater. But a lot of my personal inspirations came from Dio, Savatage,Crimson Glory, Yngwie Malmsteen, Fates Warning, and Riot among many hundreds of bands. There are so many, I could write a book about it. When we first started writing songs, we didn’t consider it as progressive metal . We just called it metal, but progressive metal was the new thing, and we had a couple weird patterns and high pitched vocals, hehe. It was just a normal thing to do, and it was what we wanted to do, so there we are.
Like many other bands, we started out as a cover band, and we’re talking about using two guitars (me and Chris). But after a while, we discovered that we needed some keyboard parts as well. So we gave the job to Sid to play the second guitar so that I could concentrate on the keyboards (I knew a couple of chords, thats it; I had to practice A LOT). Then we realized it would work out with just one guitar, so Sid just focused on the vocals, and here we are(again). I still think like a guitar player when it comes to playing chords, scales and so on; it seems like I can’t get rid of it, hehe.
Ahhhh… it’s hard to pick only one, but ProgPower USA was really special. 70 000 Tons Of Metal was different; a cruise with a day off at Jamaica, and hanging out with all the other bands and the other cruisers. Also, MetalDays was cool with the river, beach and great festival area. And back home here, Karmoygeddon was a blast, with the craziest crowd ever.
How was Divided Multitude’s experience at Progpower, USA? Any word on coming back to the festival in Atlanta? Or the US in general?
Our experience was kinda special, since we were missing one band member due to visa issues back home in Norway. So we asked both Frank (Withem) and Stian (Pagan’s Mind) to step in as drummers if Anders didn’t get his visa approved. And they were so cool that they could help us out, since we never wanted to cancel. So the week was stressful, but still very, very good. Glenn and Jen took such good care of us, and it was amazing to meet all the people.
We definitely want to come back to ProgPower USA. We had the time of our lives that week. So I hope the new album can bring us back to the US, and especially to ProgPower USA.
So since we last spoke, in 2014, what has Divided Multitude been up to? How are you celebrating your 20 years together as a band?
After ProgPower USA 2014, we played a couple of gigs and had a some time off, before going to play 70 000 Tons Of Metal. So the spring and summer was used for writing new material, and playing some really good festivals.
We ended up in a chaotic period in August/ September…..hahahahaha. We recorded half the album, then used 2 weeks to complete the writing for the album. It was an intense but really productive and positive period.
The 20th Anniversary will be a concert on the 5th Of December, with us playing with our previous drummer, and Frank from Withem will also be playing a couple of songs with us. Also, bands we’ve been involved in or worked with will be playing sets at the concerts. So we are happy that bands like Triosphere, Crossnail and UFO (Norway) will be our guest.
You guy are preparing to release a new album in December; can you tell us about it? What can we expect to hear?
It’s 10 tracks in the Divided Multitude spirit. This time however, we also added some aggressive vocals to a couple of tracks, and this album also has a ballad. It’s been a while since we released a ballad now, so it was about time again, hehe. And also this time, it’s riffs and hook-based, with grand choruses.
Divided Multitude has an Indiegogo page out now; how long is that running for? What kinds of perks can people find?
In the IndieGogo campaign, we have different kind of perks; of course we have the album both digitally and physically. There are photobooks, guitar/ bass-picks, t-shirts, and flags, and we have re-printed all the previous albums, so it’s possible to buy them again. There are some changes in the cover-design as well. So go crazy, folks!
From the tiny teasers I have heard, the new album sounds amazing. The production seems spot on, and I can’t wait to hear more! What’s different about this album, compared to the past couple of them, like ‘Guardian Angel’ and ‘Feed on Your Misery’?
The new album is in the same alley as both Guardian Angel and Feed On Your Misery, but is stretched a bit more in both directions. The album has got some really aggressive parts, and really fast up-beat tracks, but also melodic ballad-like tunes.
Another thing that is different in this album, is that 4 out of our 5 members are singing lead vocals on some tracks. There will be guest vocals from our friends Terje Harøy (Pyramaze/ Crossnail) and Brian Ashland (Shadow Gallery/ Eden) Which I think will give the album a different touch. Great singers, both of them, and they sound great together with Sindre and I.
So after this new album releases, do you guys have any festivals or tours in the works over in Europe?
We have a couple of festivals booked, and we’re working on several more festivals, so we’ll see what happens for 2016. We really want to play as many festivals as possible in the next year.
And finally, what’s in store for the next twenty years of Divided Multitude?
Oh, we are really excited about everything now! First, we want to get out to play our new material for people, so we’re working on booking festivals, and we’re looking at the possibility for a tour. And we already have material ready for recording, so hopefully we’ll start working on a new album next year as well.
It’s a good “go” and there’s loads of passion in the band at the moment, so another 20 years of Divided Multitude would be cool!
Check out and support Divided Multitude’s crowdfunding campaign here.