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A Dirty Dozen with LYLE DIVINSKY of THE MOTET – May 2019


According to a recent press release: “For almost 20 years, THE MOTET have been fusing boisterous badass funk and swaggering soul with a thought-provoking inventiveness to create something truly unique. The Denver-based ensemble is continuing to evolve and further define their distinctive sound with their ninth studio album, Death Or Devotion – a killer collection of feel good grooves that was released January 25th via their own label. Death Or Devotion earmarks an important point in the band’s own journey. Since emerging in 1998, the seven-piece band (Dave Watts [drums], Joey Porter [keys], Garrett Sayers [bass], Ryan Jalbert [guitar], Lyle Divinsky [vocals], Drew Sayers[sax] and Parris Fleming [trumpet]) have cooked up eight full-length albums and entranced countless crowds.” We get singer Lyle to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

I think the goal of any piece of art is to affect people differently with every experience.  There is so much love and passion buried in every note and every lyric, and with every listen of Death Or Devotion, you’ll take something new if you let yourself.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I was raised around music, but never really participated in a big way.  My father is my favorite singer in the world, and he plays guitar as well.  He would always be playing and singing, both professionally and around the house, alone or with friends.  There were a string of events that brought me into it, but the definitive moment was when I first heard Donny Hathaway’s version of “A Song for You.”  I had to sit down, cried, and recognized immediately the power of music, and of the human voice.  That moment redirected and focused my path.  My world had to be music.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

“A Song for You” was the catalyst to my music, but there were so many incredible influences that guided me.  My parents put me on to so much old soul – Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Sam Cooke, all things Motown, Prince, Earth Wind and Fire – as well as the 60’s/70’s folk movement – Carole King, James Taylor, CSN, etc.  Then, on the side, my sister was all about 90’s hip hop/R&B, so I was also getting all of the Tupac, Biggie, Was, Blackstreet, Boyz II Men, etc., etc.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Oh wow, that’s so hard.  Here’s the first 5 that pop into my head: D’Angelo, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Bill Withers.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Probably D’Angelo.  He’s one of the most versatile musicians of all time and has the absolute best feel and taste.  Everything is so incredibly put together, but also loose and free.  He’s just the baddest, and not enough people know about him.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Our music is, at the root, funk.  There are so many influences that each individual brings into it, but the essence is funk.  The band’s sound has changed so much over the years, because we follow what inspires us at the moment.  Really the only thing that gets me is when people still describe us as one of the past versions of our sound.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Every part of it!  We get to have so many incredible and unique experiences while doing the things we love most.  We get to travel the world, meet so many wonderful and passionate people, and eat so much delicious food.  Then we get to go on stage and perform music we love for people who are ready to give themselves fully to the musical moment.  There’s just so much to celebrate.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Our roles switch off a bunch.  I’d definitely be buying the wine, with Joey and Ryan buying the whiskey.   Parris would lead the charge on the weed, but all would join and come packing.  We’d be making a big family meal.  Then, I would bust out the guitar and do my best to make Drew feel uncomfortable, haha!

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Meeting Shaq at Kaaboo Festival last year.  I’ve gotten to the point where I can keep it pretty cool around musicians I look up to, but I’m a huge basketball fan, and Shaq… I mean… c’mon.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Probably a teacher.  Maybe English literature or Creative Writing.  I just love words and helping people find inspiration within themselves.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

To be honest, I’m so grateful for everything I have right now.  Who knows what could have changed had any one moment been different.  I want lessons.  I want mistakes in order to learn.  I obviously don’t want them to be major or repetitive, but the only way you get better is by learning from experience.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I’m going to have to say two: Stevie Wonder – Innervisions: This is my favorite Stevie album, and one of the most masterful pieces of art that’s ever been made.  Some of the most perfectly written songs, played in the most perfect ways.  Plus… Stevie Wonder. D’Angelo – Voodoo: This may be my favorite album of all time.  D’Angelo basically combines every side of the genres I flock to, and in the absolute highest level with the dopest players.  To be in those sessions hearing him, Questlove, Pino Palladino and the whole band + all of the legends that were popping through and joining in, that just feels like the craziest and most magical musical dream ever.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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