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Progressive Rock Interviews

The Devine Xperience

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with The Devine Xperience from 2014
MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music both individually and as a band?

Enki Siruz: I was first was exposed to live music at an early age and was constantly going to several music events in Los Angeles. I started experimenting with instruments like the guitar, drums, and keyboards at the age of eleven. From that age on I fell in love with music and started listening to every style of music ranging from anything like classical music to death metal. I am now a graduate student of Musicians Institutes Audio Engineering program and am currently working with The Devine Xperience as a live performer and as our own personal audio engineer.

Robert Devine: I’ve played music all of my life. I’ve been in punk bands, industrial bands, rap groups, rap metal groups, school bands, and electronic music groups. I have always made solo music in all of these genres as well. I thrive in the studio locked up like a mad scientist.

MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Enki Siruz: If I weren’t involved in music I would probably be somewhere like a mental asylum doing nothing with my life.

Vanessa Garic: If I weren't involved in music, I'd be creating another mixed media art form  (e.g., painting, collages, and sculptures made out of cat hair).

Robert Devine: I would definitely be a cinematographer and artist because I just love to create epic scenarios and extract emotions by taking others into my world.

MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?
Robert Devine: In the 90s I performed under the name “The Devine Xperience,” the name was made up of two parts the first being Devine which was my last name from my early rave days given to me by my friends because they told me I was sent from God with a slightly different spelling to make it unique. The second part of the name the name is Xperience which is from the album that changed my life: The Prodigy Experience. These two words coupled together are: The Devine Xperience so with the music we try to create a God-like Experience for our listeners.

Vanessa Garic: The name of the group, The Devine Xperience, originated from my husband. He's used the same name since his professional music career began, in the 90s, and I could not think of a better name.

MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Robert Devine: Dynamix II, Uberzone, 311, The Prodigy, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Janes Addiction, Simply Jeff, Jackal & Hyde, Lord of Acid, The Spacemen, Decoding Jesus, Trip Theory, Borgore, Cookie Monsta, Korn, DJ Icey, Baby Anne, Tool, DJ Fixx, Sharaz, Rabbit in The Moon, Limp Bizkit, AK1200, White Zombie, Tech N9NE, The Kottonmouth Kings, DJ D-Xtreme, Destroid, Ray Lynch, NOFX, Pennywise, Pink Floyd, Superstar DJ Keoki, The Crystal Method, Timbaland, The Neptunes, 50’s Rock & Roll, and WC OLO Garb aka Jexus.

Enki Siruz: I listen to every type of music so my musical influences range from Slayer, Metallica, The Doors, Black Sabbath, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Sublime, Cypress Hill, Beastie Boys, N.W.A., Public Enemy, Rob Zombie, Psycho Realm, Wu-Tang Clan, 2Pac, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Slipknot, Excision, Datsik, 12th Planet, Borgore, Funtcase, AK1200, Andy C, DJ Hype, Congo Natty, DJ Muggs, R.A.W., CRS and many others.

Vanessa Garic: My musical influences are: The Fiery Furnaces, Holly Golightly, Jimi Hendrix, Pavement, Elliot Smith, Joy Divison, Cibo Matto, and Coco Rosie.

MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Enki Siruz: Making more trippy music and hopefully touring some really amazing places soon!

Vanessa Garic: We are currently working on our next music video for “The Answer” and also finishing the first track of our second album which we hope to release early next year.

Robert Devine: We are releasing a new music video for our song “The Answer” in early July. It was shot by famed photographer and music video director Don Ptashne with the help of Rona Lu and it is currently being edited by Aaron “Tails” Preciado at Full Spectrum Visuals, whom, by the way, do the visuals and live video mixing at some of the biggest raves and festivals out here in the west coast. We are very excited about this music video release and are grateful to Let's Beat Milo Records and Keoki records for making it happen. I am also working on a new The Duke and The Kaiser project with Edgar Montiel and the follow up album with The Devine Xperience – both to be released next year.

The Devine Xperience also have a remix coming out July 30th that we did for Scratche, the song is called “B.A.S.”  It will be released on Base Industry Records. Scratche is currently the number one  breaks producer in Canada according to the very influential TheDJList.com. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him.

MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
Enki Siruz: Probably somewhere in the lines as unique musical blend or fusion of electronic dance music with no specific genre to claim. We love all music types and dont discriminate. We want to make some crazy albums with a fusion of different musical styles for people to enjoy!

Vanessa Garic: I would describe our music as an unusual mix of sounds. It's hard for me to pigeonhole our sound. It sounds like alien music to me!

Robert Devine:  We are completely different. We don't try to follow any format or genre. We just make music in the studio that is pleasing to our ear, no boundaries, no boxes, no fear. We envision ourselves at a concert and as we play back the music we created, it should make us go crazy and feel great, otherwise we just throw it away and start over. We do not sound like anyone else making music right now overall, and to us that's a great thing because we are unique, an Enigma if you will. We are super lucky to have the blessing of both Edgar Montiel and Keoki at the label for 100% creative control.

MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
Enki Siruz: Hell yeah, we would love to work with Excision, Downlink, KJ Sawka Aka (Destroid), Cookie Monsta, Datsik, 12th Planet, Liquid Stranger, Borgore, The Prodigy, The Crystal Method, Chemical Brothers, Rabbit in the Moon, Rob Zombie, Bassnectar, Rusko, Caspa, Benga and anybody else that wants to collaborate and make some sick music!

Vanessa Garic: Holly Golightly.

Robert Devine: Anyone that makes tripped out music that takes the listener into another dimension. I want to play at festivals where the majority of the crowd is in an altered state of conciousness. I want the crowd to be fully immersed in the world I create so whoever we play with needs to be on our same wavelength spiritually.

MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
Enki Siruz: Honestly it works both ways. It helps and also hurts the musicians. In some cases it helps people discover new music by downloading and sharing. On the other hand it also hurts the musician that is making the music and dedicates all of their own time and money into making great music for everyone to enjoy!

Vanessa Garic: Not a fan of illegal downloading. I believe it's a hindrance because it's disrespectful to the artist.

Robert Devine: I believe Enki Siruz nailed my sentiments exactly. . .

MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
Enki Siruz: All I can really say is sometimes its cool capturing some of lifes interesting moments, but please dont mess up someone elses experience by having your phone out and blocking their view of the performance. Everyone pays to go to these events to enjoy the experience and have fun.

Vanessa Garic: I don't necessarily agree with fans recording and trading shows. If they want to truly experience the event then they should want to be there in person. I am happy I was able to purchase all the amazing quality live music concerts of people like Jimi Hendrix. I wasn't alive to see him live. I wouldn't want some crappy recording from a fan.

MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
Robert Devine: Any artist out there that thinks they are God’s gift to mankind and generally acts like a douchebag is going to be a nemesis of mine. I believe that every single being on this planet is capable of achieving greatness given the proper circumstances, so for someone to think that they are extra special makes me want to vomit.

Enki Siruz: I don’t know? Probably someone like Justin Beiber, One Direction or any other pop groups ruining the scene.

MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Robert Devine: The band would consist of drummer Chad Sexton from 311, guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer from Korn on rhythm guitar, Kirk Hammett from Metallica on lead guitar, Les Claypool from Primus on bass, Maynard James Keenan from Tool on lead vocals, Celine Dion also on lead vocals, with Tech N9ne as the rapper, and Jordan Rudess from Dream Theater on keyboards, and DJ Craze scratching on the turntables. The reason why is because I consider all of them to be the best in their respective fields of musicianship and I think they would sound amazing together.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Enki Siruz: The Ultimate Music Festival Line Up would be:

Slayer, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Cypress Hill, Korn, Slipknot, Rob Zombie, The Prodigy, Crystal Method, The Chemical Brothers, Lords of Acid, Amon Tobin, DJ Shawdow, Cut Chemist, Krafty Kuts, Excision, Datsik, Cookie Monsta, 12th Planet, Funtcase, Crizzly, Foreign Beggars, Dirtyphonics, Downlink, Liquid Stranger, Bar 9, Infected Mushroom, AK1200, Dieselboy, Pendulum, Andy C, DJ Hype, Goldie, Congo Natty, R.A.W. CRS?, APX-1, Ron D Core, Delta 9, Rob Gee, Neophyte, DJ Delirium, Demigod Melinfunk, Showtek, Angerfist, Bassnectar, DJ Icey, Keoki, Devine Xperience, and Rabbit in the Moon.

Robert Devine: Refer to my list of musical influences for this answer.

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Enki Siruz: Last CD I bought was probably an underground hip hop album or some crazy electronic music from Amoeba in Hollywood. Lately Ive been listening to a lot of old school hip hop, metal, and rave music. I have to be listening to something different every day, but I always remember my roots!

Robert Devine: The last CD I bought was: Five O'Clock Devil - A Ride with the Devil. It’s my cousin Jason Greene aka Hardluck Jay’s band and if you like thrash-punk you will love it as much as I do.

MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Enki Siruz: Yeah, I actually like reading books about anthropology, philosophy, non-fiction science books, and books about psychic phenomena and other crazy stuff. Right now Im reading The Conscious Universe by Dean Radin.

Robert Devine: The Remixer's Bible by Francis Preve

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Enki Siruz: Last event I attended was Datsiks Digital Assassins Tour in Los Angeles. It was a really awesome event and I got to meet Cookie Monsta and 12th Planet.

Robert Devine: I saw Depeche Mode with Vanessa at the Hollywood Bowl and it was amazing! I’m hoping to see Ministry this year and if The Prodigy tours the U.S.A. again anytime soon I’m so there.

MSJ: Do you have a musical guilty pleasure?
Enki Siruz: Not really, music itself is a pleasure.

Robert Devine: I have many unexpected “guilty pleasures” when it comes to music: I like to listen to Celine Dion, she has an amazing voice and an unparalleled vocal range. I also love listening to Riff Raff and am a fan of his new album Neon Icon. Most artists that the majority of people around me say have no talent I like, weirdly enough; I’m very open to avant garde music.

MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Robert Devine: Back in the early 90s I was performing at a rave at a huge warehouse in Atlanta Georgia and we were supposed to go on stage at 2 AM but I was in the artist chill out area and when it came time to go on stage, the rest of my group had already gone on the stage but I got lost backstage and could not find the exit to the stage and I actually got locked out of the venue itself by walking out the backdoor and had to have the security guard at the front door call the promoter on a Walkie Talkie to verify that I was who I said I was and to let me back in. By time I was let back in it was 2:20am and the crowd was angry and yelling at us, it took a few songs before we finally changed the vibe back to a good one.
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Enki Siruz: Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and a Central American Shaman.

Robert Devine: Trent Reznor, God, and Albert Einstein. I would ask them all a ton of questions about things I dont know the answers to.

MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Enki Siruz: Just be open minded to new music and dont be afraid to explore your musical boundaries. Our music is for everyone to enjoy. We want to see every type of people at our music events having fun, tripping out, expressing their individuality, and enjoying themselves to the fullest!

Robert Devine: I want to thank you for this amazing interview first of all. I also want to thank Edgar Montiel for believing in us and giving us a chance to live our dreams, KXLU 88.9FM and Mystic Pete for breaking us on the radio, Urban Decibel Radio for putting us in rotation, James Moore at Independent Music Promotions for amazing PR, Amoeba Records, Street Sounds Music, and Dr. Freeclouds Record Shoppe for selling our CDs in their stores, Don Ptashne for shooting our amazing photos and our latest Music Video, Full Spectrum Visuals for editing our newest video, I also want to Thank Scott Weiser of Pain Device, Jackal & Hyde, and Dynamix II. I definitely want to thank all of our fans because without them none of this is possible. Lastly please buy our self-titled debut album The Devine Xperience on Let’s Beat Milo Records, The Devine Xperience Remixes Album on Keoki Records, SCHLAGZEUG UND BASS_SAMPLER16 on Faders United Records, and Techno Parties Vol.2 on Tekkno Records. All four releases are available now in stores everywhere. Be on the lookout for our newest remix for Canada’s number one breaks producer ScratchE. The song is called “B.A.S.” and it will be available worldwide July 30th on Base Industry Records. We also have another remix that we did for ScratchE called “How We Gonna Get Down” that will be released later this year on Base Industry Records, as well and for that I’d like to thank Lorin Wade Brown. Lastly we are currently in the studio recording the follow up album for The Devine Xperience for release sometime next year again on Let’s Beat Milo Records and Keoki Records.

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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