It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since The New Division‘s last release, Gemini, stole the hearts of electronic & synth geeks alike. Kicking off 2017 the right way with new EP, Precision, a new sound for the LA-based outfit has been born. With dark, dreamy soundscapes to get lost in for days, night drives (and walks) won’t ever be the same.
We asked frontman/producer, John Kunkel, to walk us through each track off of Precision in this exclusive track-by-track commentary. Enjoy as you take the EP for a spin below!
I got the idea to write this song one day while I was in Manhattan Beach, CA working out of a little café. Something about the weather that day inspired me to write a synth heavy track about a couple of fugitives running away from something that was chasing them. As usual, I never quite developed the song into a full story as I envisioned the lyrics as open to interpretation. The music video obviously strays away somewhat from the actual lyrics, but it captures the vague tension that’s present throughout the song perfectly. The guitars were performed by Brandt Gassman from Hypefactor.
This is a really unique track because it was collaboration between my friend from the band Missing Words, James Meays and I. He began writing this song for a side project of ours and when he presented it to me, I helped him finish it, added vocals, etc. I later showed it to my co-producer, FJ DeSanto, who made it clear that this song had to be on the record. We made a few slight changes and it became what it is today. Had the pleasure of having Charles LaBarbara return again on live bass for this track.
“Vices” – in my mind anyways – was always intended to be the dance-heavy, but not quite “dance-floor” single. I’d wanted to create a song in this style for quite sometime, and it was really the easiest song on the record to write. I’ve literally had this song done for ages and FJ made the suggestion to go with this “chord change” idea he’s always going on about. We dropped the song down to a sharp two thirds of the way in and I think it really made the song a lot more special.
With “Precision,” my goal was to create a really bass heavy track. I think I layered something ridiculous like 12 separate synth-bass tracks to get the main groove on the low end. It was a challenge – particularly with the final mix – to get everything to sound good, but ultimately it somehow worked out. I feel that if a professional engineer had worked on this track he/she would’ve removed most of them! At any rate, the song touches on the ongoing New Division theme of cops and villains.
“Pressure (In Decay)”
This song is really straightforward. I don’t have much to say about it other than it was the most difficult song on the record to get ‘right.’ There’s so many things going on, so many elements that it was really hard to identify what were the strengths and weaknesses of the song during the arrangement/mix down process. I know this song went through at least 25 revisions before it was finalized, and even then I kept making adjustments up to the last minute. Needless to say, I’m quite pleased with the results. All the hard work and headache in the end paid off.
Easily my favorite song off the record. It’s not necessarily the most appealing maybe to audiences but it’s the one that – when I hear it – gives me the chills to this day. It’s one of those tracks that I wrote to make you feel powerful, self-reliant, and good about yourself. The lyrics maybe don’t reflect that directly, but every time I hear “Walk,” it takes me to another place in my mind.