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Interview with Jordana Divinorum

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I was lucky enough to have a chance to interview Jordana Divinorum. Here is what I learned:

When did you get into music? What instruments do you play?
I got into music when I was eight years old; I started with piano lessons. When I was fourteen, I started learning cello, guitar, and percussion at school and continued my music education at university where I was a composition major. Being in various choirs through high school and university helped me understand how to control my voice when I sing.

Who are your biggest influences?
My biggest influence when it comes to song writing is probably classical music. I’ve been into classical music, especially music written by composers from the Baroque period like Bach and Vivaldi etc since I was a kid. My main focus is writing lyrical melodies that can stand on their own with or without the other parts of the music. A good melody should resemble a normal spoken phrase, but with more expression. I like bands that blend acoustic instruments with electronic elements like The Birthday Massacre, Nine Inch Nails, Girls Under Glass, Marilyn Manson, Ministry, Genitortures, etc.

How many bands have you been in over the years, what style of music were they?

My first band was a grunge band called Monday Night Ritual, and I played guitar/lead vocals. When I got more into metal, I created a band called Encrypted in Flesh where I mostly did vocals. I played drums for a metal band called Azathoth, and a rock band called Falsity. I played guitar in a band I put together called Awkward Silence, that was all instrumental music that included violin and flute players. I’ve been the lead singer for my current band Jordana Divinorum for a long time now, but lately I’ve been playing guitar live too.

The band you are in now, what is it? Where do you see it heading?
The band I’m in now, Jordana Divinorum, is a hard rock band with some electronic elements like synthesizers, electronic drums, and sequencing. I started the band because I’ve always had the most fun when I can front a band. You can learn about yourself a lot from taking on that role because it forces you to come out of your shell, and it also challenges you as an entertainer and an artist. I started this band because I was drumming for Falsity at the time, and none of the music and lyrics I was writing really fit that band. I felt I had a lot of more abstract ideas to show the world and I needed an avenue for that stream of consciousness. Some of the people that influenced what I was writing about were Terrence McKenna, Timothy Leary, Franz Bardon, Bill Hicks, and Austin Osman Spare. I don’t like to make music just for the sake of making it, I only write when I have a story to tell or I want to convey an idea, even if it’s very abstract. I think every band wants to be able to earn a living making music, that’s always been our goal, and short of that, we’ll have fun being creative.

Hobbies outside of music?
I’ve always been into fitness and swimming. I’m not very good at swimming, but I love water slides. I’m already planning a trip next summer to the Wisconsin Dells. I’ve been getting into wood burning a little bit too. I’ve started growing my own plants to make teas such as Peppermint and Lemon Balm. I have asthsma, so it’s always better to treat it with herbs if I can instead of the medication the doctors give you that keeps you up at night.

Favorite places to hang out?
I like going to the Marina and watching the birds there. I’ve always been a bird lover and there have been a lot of ducks there lately. My favourite restaurant im town is the Sushi Bowl because I love the food there. I also like the Madhouse and the Fox and the Hedgehog.

I remember seeing you play live back in early 2000, how would you compare the venues you have played in since then?
A lot of the venues are basically the same, but they have new promoters booking the bands that play there. The Black Pirate Pub is probably the best new club for music that’s opened recently.

What are your other goals outside of music?
A friend got me into martial arts a few years ago, so I’d like to keep going with that and get my black belt. I also plan on applying to teacher’s college when I graduate this winter from the music program at Lakehead University. Self discipline is important to me and I have personal goals and include making more time for meditation and things like that.

What career would you have settled on if you were not a musician?
I’ve been teaching music for seven years, but I would probably equally as happy teaching other subjects. If I couldn’t do that I would probably get into doing something with computers. I used to run my own local Bulletin Board Service before the internet and my friends and I would watch people connect to my computer to leave messages and play games. Of course it was very slow; it took us over five minutes just to download one picture of Drew Barrymore from another board.

Who of your heroes have you had the chance to meet over the years?
Unfortunately, I haven’t met a lot of the people that have influenced me. I got to meet Steve Tucker from Morbid Angel when they played in Thunder Bay. We played with Robin Black a few times and they were really good and nice guys too. When I was drumming for Falsity, I remember talking to the lead singer of Simple Plan at the Apollo in Thunder Bay about how he had the same ear plugs as me. I’m not into their style of music, but I’m happy for them that they found success in their genre.

Do you have a new cd due for release any time soon?
Yeah, it’s like giving birth, you never know exactly what day it will finally arrive. The studio has changed locations twice since we started recording so there have been a few delays. It’s scheduled to be released before Christmas of 2009. Samples and burned copies should be available at our gigs starting in November. It’s called the End of Entertainment and it’s our first full length album. This album is mainly about escapism, facing your demons, and questioning reality. I called it the End of Entertainment because it’s about the personal choice every person makes about whether they use things to escape reality or to embrace it.

One of the main tracks, Oblivion, talks about Nietzsche’s idea of eternal recurrence where time flows is a circle and everything, including your life, will happen all over again. In the song Pillbox, I ask questions like: Is your relationship helping you, or hurting you? Are drugs and alcohol helping you or hurting you? Defining something as helpful or destructive can be very challenging. Another thing I think about is that promoting individuality has become a cliché with rock music, but I like to expose people to how I see the world, which is heavily influenced by Hermetic philosophy. I want to send people the message that the more each person is themselves and unique, the more we’re all one because oneness is infinite possibilities. I also make a few references to people that have influenced me in this album, such as: Robert Frost, John Cage, and Paganini.

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