June Divided Interview

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Is this your first year on Warped?
Lenny: Officially.
Keith: I would say so.

Officially? What does that mean?
Lenny: Last year we played one day. We just did the Camden date last year with Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands. This year we’re doing 12. As you can see first day, we’re still just trying to figure it out [laughs].

Have you gotten lost already?
Melissa: Not lost.
Lenny: We’ve been wandering, I don’t know if we’ve been lost.
Keith: I think our minds are lost.
Melissa: We’re tired.
Chris: We’re just using today not a trial run but testing the waters, figuring everything out today.
Melissa: I feel a bit lost right now [laughs].

You definitely have a more rock sound as opposed to Warped’s traditional punk sound, how do you think fans will be reacting to that?
Melissa: I think there are a lot of kids out there that are cool with that. They have some diverse stuff on Warped Tour, I mean there’s some pretty hard core bands here.
Chris: We like to say we’re heavy but we’re really not that heavy.
Melissa: We’re really not that heavy and in the Warped scene, we’re really not that heavy.
Lenny: We do, do things heavy though and I think that will stick out for some kids definitely.
Keith: But from past shows, we’ve played with a few heavier bands and we’ve opened for Falling in Reverse.
Melissa: We’ve also for the Cab so you can see we kind of fit in a bunch of different places.
Keith: On both sides of it, it seemed like the fans enjoyed us, certainly.
Melissa: That is something about our stuff. There are heavier parts and then there are not so heavy parts.
Keith: It’s a middle ground.

You just released Backbone, did you have any goals during the making of it, musically?
Chris: To get it out [laughs]. It’s been an experience every step of the way.
Melissa: When we did our first EP, it was just songs we’d written for fun. This band started out as something very casual, just for fun. The EP ended up catching on which is why we’re here today. But when we sat down to make Backbone we were like “Okay, this is what we wanna do,” establish as a band like this is who we are. So Backbone is definitely more of who we are since we sat down as a band to write a full length.

How’s the reception been to Backbone?
Chris: It’s only been out two weeks so we can’t talk too much [laughs].
Keith: It is different from the EP, which we were a little skeptical at first, it seems like people are catching on, they like it.
Melissa: There were like some bolder stuff that we did on the album so we were like, “alright,” but we think it went well.

Is today’s set mostly from Backbone? Or are you putting old stuff in there too?
Melissa & Keith: Mostly from Backbone.

Am I wrong in saying this? But did you get your drummer off Craigslist?
Keith: It was me. [laughs] It’s all I use it for. I’m gonna put that out there. We were doing an interview for NBC 10 like a year and a half ago and the reporter, and its live television; she goes “so you guys are Craigslist. What else do you use it for?” I’m like “What!”
Chris: He turns as red as his shirt.
Keith: I was like nothing!
All: Craigslist is great. It brought us here.
Lenny: We thanked Craigslist in our album.
Keith: Real big: “Thank you Craigslist”
Melissa: We put the ad out, Chris and I were writing songs just for fun during the job hunt after we graduated and we were like “You know, we could probably use a drummer.” And someone made a joke that we should put the ad out on Craigslist and the next day I was like “Yeah okay.” So we weren’t expecting anything. We got some weird couple first responses and then we finally found Keith.
Chris: He was actually the only one we responded to so I guess we did okay.

Was that weird, meeting somebody from Craigslist?
Melissa: Totally weird. Like I’m not an internet meeter at all, you know what I mean; like I don’t do stuff like that.
Keith: I brought my friend, who’s a cop. I said, “Make sure you bring your gun” [laughs].

Are you serious? You brought a cop with you?
Keith: Yes [laughs].

In uniform?
Keith: No no.
Chris: I don’t think we would be a band if he brought a cop in uniform with him [laughs].
Keith: He had his license to carry. You know, I never did that before so alright, just to be safe, you know, I asked them to come down to my neighborhood.
Melissa: Well when he told us this, Chris was like “Man, that kid was crazy!” I was like “No, he was really smart actually!” Use Craigslist with caution kids.

How was that initial meeting? With apprehension?
Chris: It was funny. He walked in.
Melissa: No we sat down at the bar first.
Chris: He was late, as always [laughs].
Melissa: It was like a random night and it’s like dead, it’s like this small bar and there was old guys, like a couple old guys, like “Oh god, the kid said he was 22. Please don’t tell me it’s one of these 50 year old guys here.” He finally walks in, he came over to us, we spotted each other, and he went to go get a beer at the bar, and I was like “Well he looks like a drummer.” So okay, you look like a drummer.
Keith: Thank you.

How do you show other people that you’re a good drummer?
Keith: How do I show them I’m a drummer?

Because you meet up and say “Hi I’m a drummer” but you can’t carry drums with you to prove that you have musical ability.
Melissa: You sent us demos.
Keith: I have a crazy arm [laughs] so imagine what I can do with this arm.
Nancy: You can bang behind you.
Keith: Exactly.
Chris: He can bang backwards [laughs].
Nancy: I’m hoping to see some of that during your set. If there isn’t any, I’m docking a few points.
Keith: I will try. Don’t look at my face; I have really crazy faces when I play.
Melissa: You sent us demos. That’s how we knew we knew we wanted to meet up in the first place. He sent us demos of like an old band.
Keith: Past stuff I did. Bands I’d been in before which kinda helped. I guess I feel like I have a good personality that I try to talk to people and say you know, “Check out our band. I’m the drummer.”
Chris: That really didn’t work the other day. We were driving, picking up a pizza and we go to Wawa which for those of you who don’t know is like the most amazing convenience store you could ever go to and we’re sitting in the parking lot and this girl pulls up next to us. So she’s blasting this tune from this band that we recognize and he cranks the window down, he goes “Hey are you going to Warped tour in Camden tomorrow?”
Keith: She’s like “Oh I was supposed to but I never got tickets.” I was like “Oh well, you should come. We’re playing tomorrow. We’re June Divided. And she looks at me and she’s like, “Are you the singer?” And I’m like “No” and she’s like “Oh” [laughs].
Chris: And then he goes, “I’m the drummer” and she’s like “Oh” [laughs].
Keith: I looked at him and I’m like “What!” [laughs] And we told her. The singer man, everybody cares about the singer. Nobody cares about the drummer or the bass player.
Melissa: Trade with me.

Did any of you attend Warped when you were younger? What acts did you see?
Keith: When I was younger, I saw Yellowcard all the time, and Senses Fail. It’s great that they’re playing now. I get to see them on the tour with me. It’s kinda cool.
Chris: I remember seeing Dropkicks Murphys. They always put on an awesome show.
Unidentified June Divided Male Member: Dropkick Murphys kill it! Underoath. We’re big fans of Underoath. We’re tired, we’re driving. Late at night to keep us going through the night, we’ll blast “They’re Only Chasing Safety.”

Has everyone else on Warped Tour been nice?
Melissa: Well we haven’t really gotten a chance. Everyone so far has been very nice but we haven’t really gotten a chance because it’s like our first day so we haven’t had the chance to see everyone.
Matt Toka: We just ran into Matt Toka about five minutes ago. He was really cool. We ran into Ronnie Radke backstage and that was interesting [laughs].
Keith: That’s the cool thing about it. Even though bands might be from completely opposite ends of the genre, no matter what, it still comes down to the actual person they are and how nice. Bands just gain like camaraderie-ship when you’re out here because everyone is doing the same thing: just trying to get their music out. Everyone’s just so nice.

That’s good to hear because I heard there’s tension between the newbie’s and the veterans.
Melissa: Oh we didn’t come to cause tension.
Chris: We’re just that naive so far.
Melissa: If we’re stupid, please forgive us.
Keith: We’ve had pretty good luck with it. We went out to L.A. for Battle of the Bands and that was like four bands in a big competition. We went out there and all the bands were just so nice to each other.
Lenny: I think a big thing about it too is that I want to carry myself as if I am a veteran.
Melissa: Even though we do stupid stuff all the time [laughs].
Lenny:I feel like you have to earn the respect. You have to give to get. You can’t show up fangirling over the headlining bands.
Melissa: You also can’t show up acting like the headlining bands.
Chris: It’s a tough balance.
Lenny: You can’t like ram your music down their throat.
Melissa: I think that’s who we are naturally. We’re not here to cause any problems. We just want to make some friends and play our music.
Chris: We just wanna say hey.

Ending comments:
Nancy: I can’t wait to see your set.
Chris: We’ll try not to suck.
Melissa: This is our first, we don’t know what’s gonna happen.
Keith: Don’t judge us on this.
Nancy: I really want to see some backwards drumming though!
Keith: Look for a stick flip.
Melissa: There will be some cool drumming.

June Divided is Melissa Menago, Chris Kissel, Keith Gill, Lenny Sasso.


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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (She's basically a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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