The New Division - Indie Electronica
The New Division began as a college dorm room project for songwriter John Kunkel back in 2005. After moving from Uruguay (where he resided for 18 years) to Southern California. Kunkel began experimenting with synthesizers after being heavily influenced by the sounds of Joy Division, New Order, and Depeche Mode.
Originally, the name “New Division” was meant as an artist working title for songs that would never be released. Within a few months Kunkel developed a series of songs that attracted other fellow college students at California Baptist University. By the end of 2007, the one man New Division project had transformed into a four piece. Michael Janz (aka “Janzie” by friends) was the first member to be added after Kunkel discovered the two shared common interests in musical tastes. Shortly thereafter both began playing mini-shows in their college dorm which eventually attracted a number of students, including Brock Woolsey who would later be recruited for an on campus battle of the bands to play guitar. After succesfully acheiving first place, The New Division started gaining attention in their local city of Riverside, CA. They were asked to play at several local venues, including the well adored “Back to the Grind” coffee house. During one of their many shows at this location the band met Mark Michalski, who at the time was a dedicated fan of the group. Kunkel, seeing the need for an additional keyboardist recruited Michalski who later played an integral part in shaping the band’s sound.
Currently, The New Division is John Kunkel (vocals), Brock Woolsey (guitars), Janzie (synths), and Mark Michaslki (synths). With over 300 songs in their “demo roster,” the band is continually writing new material on a regular basis. “We believe the best way to make good music is to write a lot,” says frontman John Kunkel. “I wake up every day with fresh ideas, and I seek out sources of inspiration. Sometimes, I’ll write three songs in a day if I have the time. It’s what I love doing. It’s therapeutic.”
While Kunkel focuses on the production and songwriting aspect of the band, the other members play a vital role in developing their live performance and sound. “We used to be crappy live, I won’t lie,” says Janzie. “But we’ve come such a long way from what we used to be. Whereas before we just plugged in an ipod and pressed play for certain tracks, we’re now doing basically what Deadmau5 does with Ableton. The only difference is that we’re a four piece, we’re new wavish, and we sometimes use a live drummer [Kenny Wells].”
2011 may be the brightest year for the band to date. Already receiving critical acclaim for “The Rookie” EP, the band has big plans. Currently, the Californian outfit is working on a follow-up to the Rookie, possibly another EP. Their next single, “True Lies” will be available in April. Kunkel calls it their “best single yet.” “It’s quite a mixture of genres, but it blends hip hop with electro. It’s very dark, but extremly catchy. Everyone we’ve showed it to says its their favorite.”
Whether you’re new to these boys, or you’ve been playing them on your ipod since their early days, The New Divison garners the respect of listeners who crave for nostalgia with a modern twist. They won’t let you down.