DIVIDE AND DISSOLVE
"Gas Lit" Out Now on Invada Records UK
Invada Records UK Exclusive
Interview with Takiaya Reed of Divide and Dissolve
"Gas Lit", the recent album from Divide and Dissolve has been out for just under a week now. Pulling in praise from the likes of NME, Pop Matters, Bandcamp, and others, the album brings to attention the aftermath of colonization and the shift of artists using their platform to amplify a message beyond themselves.
We were lucky enough to talk with Takaiya Reed (saxophone, guitar, live effects) over the phone about "Gas Lit", changing their environment to write the record, different books she was reading during the writing process, and more.
You can grab physical vinyl copies of the record on both Divide and Dissolve's site and Invada Records UK. They each have their own limited variants, so collectors are advised to check both webstores for variants.
Jump right into the interview below
Divide and Dissolve "We Are Really Worried About You"
Discover Vinyl: What did the creative process behind “Gas Lit” look like?
Takiaya Reed: "It actually was a little bit different. This record has the gift of a producer, his name is Ruban and he’s in the band Unknown Mortal Orchestra and he was like “Hey you should go somewhere and make this album”. So we went away for a couple weeks. It still came together really fast but not as quickly as normal. We went to the country, wrote the songs and then things started flowing really really well. Ruban came to the studio with us while we recorded, and he mixed the album. It felt like a really lovely process."
How was going into a new setting to write the songs. Do you think taking Ruban’s advise and going into the country helped the writing process?
"Absolutely, I mean I guess I have this fear where I don’t want to overthink anything so its nice when you’re moving quickly. You don’t really have time to overthink things, it becomes about trusting yourself. This time we moved slower and I still trusted myself."
Speaking of the creative process, there’s a surreal feeling when experiencing D/D. You recently collaborated with Director Amber Beaton on the visuals for “Denial” which was shot in Taupo, (New Zealand). How Do you feel your visuals help in how people view the new songs?
"I feel like visuals and music are always universal languages. They are able to communicate with each other on a different frequency. So when they come together and experience synchronicity it’s pretty magical. So I’m very grateful for the connection which we share with Amber. Amber is a genius [laughing] I feel very grateful."
Now flipping to the other side of the creative process. Each song is filled with elusive frequencies, textures, and time-signatures that shift from ominous to calm in a moment's notice. Is there a structure you follow when you write or how do did you come to create these soundscapes
"I believe we’re very connected with our breath and our ancestors. So It is a connection that is way less linear, but you can feel it."
Divide and Dissolve "Denial"
Going off that was there anything you were reading or connected to that stuck with you when creating "Gas Lit"?
"Yeah, there were a lot of things that I was reading that made me think about it. I know in particular I was reading this book called "Dark Emu" by Bruce Pascoe and this other book called "Beyond Settler Time" by Mark Rifkin. I also really loved this author named José Muñoz he is incredible, and Octavia Butler.
There’s so many people I love reading and I love the critical engagement of witts, and connection, and liberation, and strength."
It’s clear that you live the art you create, which isn’t something we see enough of in the industry. How would you say your personal ideologies take shape in your music and art?
"Sylvie and I are both indigenous so we’re constantly trying to give honor and respect our ancestors. I’m not sure if that is ideology but it’s a belief that we have and were constantly striving for. We’re also trying to dismantle systems of white supremacy. We want people to live a good life and be able to feel good and empowered. So it’s more of this is just the people that we are."
Things are noisy and confusing. What advice would you tell smaller artists on staying connected, motivated and creative during these times?
"I would say Follow your heart. If you’re feeling exhausted then take a rest haha. There’s no need in pressuring yourself to create right now because the world is so intense. There’s already enough pressure out there and it’s not okay. It can be really bad for people to give in to that pressure."
This is your first release with Invada, what was it like for you and Sylvie working with Ruben Nielson, Geoff Barrow and Invada Records team to bring the new record to life?
"Oh my god. Working with everyone was a literal dream come true haha. They’re all so amazing. Like the team is incredible. I never imagined that we would ever have the opportunity to work with such amazing people. I love our team so much.
We wouldn’t have put the record out with people who aren’t nice [laughs], It needs love and nourishment so the team made perfect sense."
I know Ruban produced the album and designed the cover art with an original photo his wife Jenny had taken. Did you and Sylvie have a hand in the vinyl art direction or did Ruban take the reigns.
"Ruban took over, it was great. My best friend from middle school did the D/D logo, her name is Susan Kim, and my friend Arthur Katrina contributed to a lot of the back album art. I feel so excited, it has good energy. I love the cover."
I know you’ve touched on your live shows in past interviews but I wanted to ask how live performances play into the dynamic and how you present your songs to people?
"I feel like Sylvie and I will be able to share these like amazing parts of ourselves and parts of the music with other people. The music is meant to be shared and enjoyed by people. I love when people can experience our connection because it’s very powerful. Hearing us live is really fun, we have a lot of fun with what we do. We love what we do. I know how important making music is to both of us."
I’m not going to keep you for too much longer, but before I let you go. Now that the record is finished and comes out in just over a week, What does the future hold for Divide and Dissolve?
"I hope it’s big and bright, for sure. I hope people can connect to the album because we put a lot of energy into it. I hope they can understand what we are trying to put out there and still support it and the experiences."