How Divine Fits plans to indie-rock Moogfest

Moogfest always throws a few surprises into its lineup. Not in the last-minute-super-huge-announcement sense, or the Brian-Eno-art-show sense, but in the indie-rock-band-in-the-sea-of-electronic-acts sense.

Last year’s lineup had a number of bands rooted in indie-rock, though all of those (Toro y Moi, The Antlers, TV On the Radio) also had strong electronic elements as well. This year’s surprise of that ilk is Divine Fits.

The band (whose members may or may not be okay with the “supergroup” label) is Britt Daniel (Spoon), Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs), Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks) and Alex Fischel (Papa).

Of how Divine Fits (who, initially, had only announced a trio of shows, one each in the hometowns of Daniel, Boeckner and Brown), singer-songwriter-guitarist Daniel says, “I was just asked, ‘Do you want to do it? Here’s the date.’ And I said, yes.” That’s an empathic yes.

When it comes to Moog equipment, however, Daniel says the band isn’t currently using any of the local company’s instruments on stage. He does think they used some Moog products in the recording of the band’s debut, A Thing Called Divine Fits, out on Merge on Aug. 28.

“Dan [Boeckner] is more on top of that side of things — pedals and synths,” says Daniel. “I have an early ‘80s Oberheim that I used a lot on the record and we have this Arp that we used a bunch.”

The Divine Fits just headlined the Twilight Concert Series in Salt Lake City (Daniel getting ready to fly to Utah when he spoke to Xpress) after Moogfest alums Passion Pit pulled out. Boeckner told The Salt lake Tribune, “A lot of this [for the audience] is having good faith and listening to music they haven’t heard before.”

Moogfest audiences will have a chance to check out the Divine Fits album first. It’s good and, at many points, recalls some of Spoon’s most glitchy, static-y, hooky songs like “I Turn My Camera On” and “Written in Reverse.” Drummer Brown described the sound to Columbus Alive as, “all over the place. Some of the songs are really kind of dark new wave songs with heavy keyboards, and then other songs are more rocking.” Want a preview? Listen to “My Love Is Real,” here:

Daniel does say that many of the album’s songs were written synth-first; especially those penned by Boeckner. The Handsome Furs musician camped out at Daniel’s house in L.A. “Dan said he wrote a lot of the songs with the synth baseline,” Daniel says.

Divine Fits formed, at least in part, because of the friendship and mutual admiration between Daniel and Boeckner. “I was such a fan of Dan’s voice and how he is on stage,” Daniel says. When Boeckner told him that Wolf Parade was winding down, they realized the timing was right. Lucky us.


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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