Life is pretty good for The Motet‘s energetic new vocalist, Lyle Divinsky. Since joining the band over a year ago he has recorded a well-received album, Totem, toured the country, sang the National Anthem at a pro baseball game, made his mark on NOLA with a slew of Jazz Fest late night tributes, and made multiple appearances at Red Rocks–just to name a few. This whirlwind of experiences would exhaust most people. But for Divinsky, getting a shot to do what he loves for a living is more than enough fuel for him to “keep on don’t stopping” night after night.
Next weekend, Divinsky will be taking part in the all-star musical mix-and-match mayhem of Brooklyn Comes Alive, where he’ll join Motet bandmates Joey Porter, Dave Watts, Garrett Sayers, and Ryan Jalbert as well as Todd Stoops, Jennifer Hartswick, and Natalie Cressman for a tribute to the music of neo-funk legends Jamiroquai.
We caught up with Lyle to chat about The Motet, Brooklyn Comes Alive, Jamiroquai, and the whirlwind year he’s had as an emerging artist in the live music scene:
Live For Live Music: You’ve had a while get used to the job of fronting The Motet. In what ways has the experience been different from how you expected it would be.
Lyle Divinsky: Honestly it has been amazing. I feel really blessed, at home immediately. The Motet and I came together as family. There was instant chemistry. We wrote our first two songs together before we even met in person.
It has been a really cool growing process together and I give love to everybody in The Motet. When I came in they didn’t say “Hey, we really need you to do this.” When I came in they gave me the freedom to really explore the creative process with them. I got to be me without any set expectations. That was huge. Now that we are a little over a year and a half into this we all understand how the band is taking its newest shape.
The Motet has always been an evolving thing. There has always been different members coming in and different genres being explored. I appreciate the fact that The Motet is very free and open in these processes. We’re in the writing process right now and we are just exploring things that the band hasn’t touched on before without sacrificing what the band is and can be.
L4LM: The Motet has indeed gone through a lot of permutations. In this last year and a half you have helped forge a very distinctive era for the band.
LD: It’s like I said…I love the fact that The Motet is boundary-less. It’s very cool to be part of a group that is unafraid to push their boundaries and explore what is inspiring us at the moment.
L4LM: The passion you sing with and the energy you expend during a Motet show are exhausting to just watch. How do you manage to bring so much of yourself to the stage night in and night out?
LD: I mean…it is a simple way to answer your question, but I love it. I am not one of those dudes who is in constant motion. I am totally cool with just chilling. But when i get onstage, especially with all the energy everyone in this band brings, it’s impossible for me to not bring it as well. I’m playing my favorite music and I am the happiest dude in the world when I get this chance to do this.
Joining this band, making this music with The Motet…I get blown away every night. I wouldn’t be bringing this energy if I wasn’t getting it from them every time I step on the stage. A lot of it is just me responding to what they do in the moment. Plus…I don’t like running so this is where I get my cardio!
Check out Divinsky performing with The Motet at Red Rocks this past sumer below:
L4LM: The Motet’s most recent album, Totem, sounded like it was a fast and near seamless fit for you and the rest of the band. After all this touring, how ready are you guys to return to the studio?
LD: We are definitely hoping to have something out next year. We’re not ready to put any sort of time frame on the next record, but it should be sometime next year. It will be pretty dope…we are coming up with some fun stuff in the writing process that I think people will really dig.
L4LM: You just took part in a Hurricane Harvey benefit in Colorage. Did you have any people in the path of this crazy weather?
LD: We have some friends down in Houston. And we have plenty of musical brothers and sisters. Luckily most of our people seem to be all good. In Florida I didn’t have anyone directly, but plenty of extended friends and family down there. I also have people in St. Johns.
St. Johns and the other islands that were affected by Irma are very small and easily overlooked but they are devastated. I used to go down there once a year and seeing them like this is just really sad. All their supplies need to be flown in and their airstrips are just gone. Their communications are down and there are people without shelter or food. It’s a scary time for them.
We all need to come together as the giant, loving community we are and take care of each other. It is sad that it takes a disaster to shine a magnifying glass on the things that are really important. Right now we are in the wake of it and it is our responsibility to take care of our family.
L4LM: On a lighter note…you got a chance to take on every singer’s dream and nightmare…the National Anthem in front of a packed Colorado Rockies crowd. Were you nervous?
LD: Dude…that was the most nervous I have ever been for any gig. Straight up. I was so nervous, no joke. I didn’t even realize how nervous I was. I’ve gotten pre-show jitters before but I have just shook it off. Usually you shake that off during the first song…but with the anthem you only get the one song. They asked me if I wanted to hold the mic or have it on a stand. I told then I wanted to hold it because if I am not dancing around I don’t know what to do with my hands. I can’t be dancing to the national anthem. But when I was holding the mic is was shaking so bad I had to use my other hand to balance it out.
I had sung the anthem before so I knew to start low and slow. I kinda laughed at myself. I was wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. But it worked out and it felt great. I definitely want to do it again.
L4LM: Pretty sure there is no rule against busting a move during the anthem.
LD: Right? Maybe next time I will just shimmy and shake a little bit. Do something in the Marvin Gaye-style from that NBA All-Star game back in the eighties with the little drum machine. I think that is the only version of the national anthem that had women screaming from the crowd.
L4LM: While you hail from Maine, you resided in Brooklyn for a few years. Are you ready to go back “Come Alive” next week?
LD: Oh man, I can’t wait. Brooklyn was my home for about seven years and I owe a lot to that town. I started off playing in the subways. I worked myself from the underground to the overground. I love the place and a lot of my chosen family is there. Especially for Brooklyn Comes Alive. The lineup is insane and I can’t wait to not only play music but to just go around and see it.
L4LM: What do you think of the core concept of Brooklyn Comes Alive, with the mix and match music philosophy?
LD: I think it is such a cool and unique approach. Bands and musicians alike are all about those special moments that can occur in live settings. And when you take so many incredibly talented passionate musicians who have become such good friends it makes for a insane experience. Whether it is a tribute set or a super jam or even a collaborative all original set of music you never know what is gonna happen. When you have this level of musicianship and this level of passion from the fans you are sure to get once in a lifetime moments.
L4LM: How do you like participating in super jams and the like? Your natural frontman skills seem perfectly suited for these kinds of shows.
LD: I get to go around to things like this and that “Daze Between” show during Jazz Fest that was dedicated to the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers. It is fun to be able to sing songs I don’t always get tot sing with people I don’t always get to play with…I just feel really lucky I get the opportunity to do that kind of stuff.
I love where I am and what I am doing with The Motet, but I also enjoy this extra inspiration that I get from collaborations like these. I think these superjams are not only unique but important to our community. They build relationships.
L4LM: Your big gig over the Brooklyn Comes Alive weekend is a tribute to Jamiroquai. Do you remember how you first encountered their smooth sounds?
LD: Yeah man…his stuff started to come out when I was in grade school. When I was in my earliest years in high school I started to really get into funk and soul. My dad was an incredible singer, still my favorite, and thanks to him there was always a lot of funk and soul music around. I was really getting into D’Angelo and the neo-soul music at the time but when the space funk stuff from Jamiroquai started coming out I was just blown away.
I remember seeing the “Virtual Insanity” video for the first time and I was like “Who the fuck is this?” Then exploring it more I realized that was the pop edge of what they were doing. Their music showed me what you could really do with not just funk but ALL music. There was room to grow and expand it. That was important to my musical formation.
Watch the official music video for Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity” below:
L4LM: Well, we appreciate your taking the time to talk. Can’t wait to see what you and your friends have in store for us this weekend!
LD: Thanks for your time as well brother. See you there!
[Cover photo via Emily Butler]
You can catch Lyle Divinsky along with over 100 other talented artists this weekend at Brooklyn Comes Alive. Set to take place across three venues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Brooklyn Bowl, Schimanski, Music Hall of Williamsburg) on September 23rd and 24th, Brooklyn Comes Alive is inspired by the vibrant musical communities of Brooklyn and New Orleans. The unique homegrown event puts the focus on the musicians, curating dream team collaborations, tributes, and artist passion projects for two full days of incredible music both new and old.
The 2017 lineup is set to include hand-selected band lineups featuring all-star musicians like John Scofield, George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Vinnie Amico (moe.), Bernard Purdie, Joel Cummins, Ryan Stasik, and Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee), Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits), Mike Greenfield and Jesse Miller (Lotus), Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident), Alan Evans (Soulive), Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Henry Butler, Jon Cleary, Reed Mathis (Electric Beethoven), Michael League, Nate Werth, Chris Bullock, Robert “Sput” Searight, and Bob Lanzetti (Snarky Puppy), Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band), and scores of others!
***Tickets Are On Sale Now!***
Brooklyn Comes Alive is now offering single day tickets, as well as a ticket payment plan for as low as $30/month. When checking out, just select “Monthly payments with Affirm” as your payment method. To find out more about ticketing, VIP options, and lodging, head to the festival website.