Local Bands Taken By The Scruff Of The Neck

Photography: Jordan Grant

Photography: Jordan Grant

Divine Youth Headline The Exchange With Support From Indigo & Poliptik

Lee Barber || September 2nd

Back in March of this year, Stoke three piece Divine Youth launched their debut single, Please Pour Away Those Petrol Eyes, complete with a sublime music video which received over 1,000 views. The song was well supported, with the likes of BBC Introducing From Stoke, Louder Than War, The Rebel Bear Precinct, Signal One, Bitter Sweet Symphonies all showing their love of the single, as well as the boys getting support across the world, reaching as far as Canada, where the song was played on Cowboys And Indies radio show.

Fast forward six months and Divine Youth are about to headline The Exchange for Scruff Of The Neck Records, the Manchester based label and promotions company who have firmly stamped their mark on the national music circuit with their stages at events such as Tramlines. I caught up with bass player Michael Sheldon to find out how they're finding life as a Stoke band in this fantastic year for local music.

Needless to say, 2016 has been a big year for Divine Youth so far, would you say there's been a pivotal or defining moment for the band?

I'd have to say it has yeah! We've really found our sound! It's hard to pick one but we really felt at home playing alongside Augustine's at The Sugarmill. Playing to a crowd who really appreciate your style and 'get it' is a bloody good feeling.

The first official release, (Please Pour Away Your) Petrol Eyes, was a massive success, how proud are you of the way it was received alongside the music video?

Immensely proud. We poured (ed. pun intended?) everything into that single and the reaction it's had means a lot. It shows that we do have a place alongside our cities other great bands!

Being in a band with your brother, are do band arguments get more heated than might usually be the case or is do things fizzle out into laughter?

We do argue but to be honest we laugh at each other more! Being in a band with my brother makes me even more determined to make our mark!

What are your thoughts on Stoke-on-Trent bidding to be the City of Culture 2021?

It's what our city needs. We are often overlooked on so many levels! But look what's happening in our city? The music, culture, art........ The more going on now then there's ever been! It's about time we were in the Spotlight!

What local music are you keen on at the moment?

I'd have to say Rinse, Indigo and Fake War. I appreciate bands who do something unique! There's far too many one trick ponies out there!

Photography: Jordan Grant

Photography: Jordan Grant

What makes you proud to be part of Stoke's music community?

The diversity of bands is what makes it for me. Plus there's a gang mentality within our community. A tribal thing. We stick up for one and another and that for me is the most important thing.

What would you like to see happen in the local music scene?

I'd like to see even more togetherness, more diversity and more commitment from bands. You can't expect people to come to shows and pay their hard earned money without you putting the graft in yourself to justify people putting their hands in their pockets.

Moving on to the band in the current day, how have you prepared for Saturday's headline show with Scruff Of The Neck at The Exchange?

I could go with the usual hard work, rehearsal etc but for me it's been... What hairstyle should I go for... What suit shall I wear... It's all about the details!

Looking ahead then, what plans do Divine Youth have that you are able to share with REBEL?

Now you're asking! We plan to release more material towards the end of the year, looking at moving DY out to the wider world and to end 2016 the way we started it... Making waves!

Michael refuses to spill any more beans on the plans for the future of Divine Youth, but something tells me there is definitely something big they're not telling us...