Toronto indie institution By Divine Right may have been around for damn near a decade in one incarnation or another, but they had to go to the other side of the world to get the lovin’ they deserve. The band recently embarked on a tour of northern China where they were given the full royal rock treatment.
“We ate awesome fucking food there,” says mainman Jose Contreras. “They took us out for a banquet every day. For lunch – 30 dishes. For dinner – 40. And they got us completed loaded. After four or five days, I had to tell them, ‘We’re not used to drinking this much. Especially at lunch.’ At two in the afternoon, they drop you off at the hotel and you’re drunk and stuffed. Then they pick you up at six and stuff you again.”
The band toured the Hebei province where, according to Jose, “Mainstream-wise, Kenny G is the shit. They can’t get enough Kenny!” But the band also stumbled across music magazines who were familiar enough with By Divine Right that they were able to comparatively write about their sound.
How do Chinese fangirls differ from North American ones?
“They bring lots of flowers,” Jose says. “Every show, bouquets of flowers. They’d bring out individual flowers too, during the show. They’d want you to stop playing! And eventually I didn’t stop playing so they’d put the flower in my shirt or in my belt. It’s wild, because the guards would make them sit down in their seats, at least for the first few songs before they gave up. There were a few shows where we were (showered) with flowers – flowers flying through the air – it was beautiful, actually.”
On the heels of the successful tour, the band is excited about the impending release of their fourth full-length album, Sweet Confusion, due out on Linus/Warner this May.
“It’s upbeat and there are lots of catchy rock songs and weird pop songs,” reveals Jose. “I think it’s the purest and coolest By Divine Right record. I produced it and we recorded and mixed it ourselves. It’s really raw, but it sounds bombastic.”
Twelve songs made the cut, but eight others were also mastered and will probably also become available in an EP some time in 2004.