Local band Divided Minds adds Norterra Parkway to the list of places immortalized in song
Local band Divided Minds adds Norterra Parkway to the list of places immortalized in song.
By Becky Antioco
Photo by Chadwick Fowler
Writers, no matter the genre or medium, write what they know. Or about where they know. Certain bands and artists are inexorably linked to places they hail from and sing about. Springsteen and Asbury Park. The Beatles and Abbey Road. There’s even a song about the Carefree Highway, courtesy of Gordon Lightfoot. Phoenix-based Divided Minds adds Norterra Parkway to the list of places immortalized in song. Recently signed to the We Are Triumphant label, Divided Minds’ Mood Swings EP is now available, and they’re hoping to make a mark on the music world beyond their 85085 zip code.
The band started four years ago when lead vocalist and rhythm guitar player Sean Collins and lead guitarist and backing vocalist Joshua Peters, met at a rock workshop at Stages in Grayhawk. Drummer Deven Palay joined soon after. The formation of the band went something like this:
Sean: “Me, Josh, and a bunch of other people got put in a band together. And then all the other kids left, and it was just me and Josh.”
Josh: “We decided to keep going, but we needed a drummer.”
Sean: “So, I was at Circle K one day getting a Kool Aid, and I happened to see Deven’s sister. I was like, ‘Hey, your brother plays drums, doesn’t he?’ And I gave her my number to give to Deven. He didn’t want to at first, but for some reason he showed up to practice, and we’ve just been playing since then.”
But each of their musical endeavors started much earlier. Josh says, “When I was 13 months old, I was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which is a spinal and nervous system cancer. So, when I was younger I couldn’t play sports or anything like that because I just wasn’t physically able to do it. And one day I saw Jack Black on TV, and I wanted to play guitar, so that’s what I started doing instead of sports.”
Sean’s older sister was a guitar player, and gave him her Fender Stratocaster for Christmas when he was 10. He didn’t really pick it up until two years later, but still plays on the same guitar today. Now he says, “My parents are supportive because music is the only thing I’ve ever put any effort into, and they see that I’m passionate about it.”
Deven’s interest in music started with a video game: “One of my friends got Rock Band for his PlayStation 3. Once I started playing the drums, I went and talked to my dad and said, ‘Hey, I kinda of like this and want to take some lessons.’”
The guys cite Five Seconds of Summer, A Day to Remember, and Silverstein as influences, but have a breadth of musical tastes that range from rap to hard core metal. Divided Minds’ thrashy pop/punk sound––with a little Brendon Urie/Panic at the Disco-esque edge to Sean’s vocals––has an upbeat high-energy alternative rock vibe. The aforementioned “Norterra Parkway,” is a nostalgic take on growing up in the area.
Josh, a senior at Barry Goldwater High School, explains, “When I was growing up, all my friends lived in those neighborhoods around the parks. We’d stop at each park and it’d be super fun just hanging out, all the girls were beautiful, and that’s really what this song was inspired by.
“I was very young when I wrote the songs for Mood Swings and our last EP––easily 14 to 16 years old. All of my problems were girls, friends, family. So that’s what I wrote about. Now things are a little weirder and crazier, so the music reflects that.”
Sean adds, “I think the themes between this EP and the last one haven’t really changed, to be honest, but the delivery has matured greatly. It’s a more poetic style, and the songs are definitely more well written.”
Deven credits Divided Minds’ maturing sound to a greater understanding of the recording process. “There are roadblocks that come with being younger and being a new band in the studio. As we grew up and matured, we learned more and we could wrap our head around it better. Now, some of those roadblocks are gone, and that leaves room for a lot more creativity.”
Divided Minds has done the Arizona circuit––Marquis Theater, Joe’s Grotto, The Nile Theater, Wasted Grain, Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake––and plans to hit the road for a regional and national tour later this year. They’ll be playing May 12 at the GROM and Mini Bike Show at Go AZ Motorcycles in Scottsdale. You can keep up with the band at dividedmindsband.com, and download Mood Swings on Spotify, iTunes, or Google Play. The music video “Don’t Get Too Close” can be found on YouTube.