The Motet brings the funk to Lake Tahoe – an interview with lead singer Lyle Divinsky

by Brian Bahouth

The Motet - image courtesy of the band.

Reno – The Motet is a band from Denver set to appear at the Crystal Bay Casino on Lake Tahoe on March 1 and 2.  The high-energy funk band released a new album in January of this year titled Death or Devotion, and we took time recently to speak with lead singer Lyle Divinsky by phone and ask him about the band and their latest release. Listen to this mix of words and music from Death or Devotion …

All but every track on Death or Devotion is reminiscent of the golden age of funk during the late 1970s and early ’80s, yet the music also has a contemporary feel.

“We all come from very different musical backgrounds and whatnot, but funk is definitely the thing that ties us all together,” Divinsky said.  Funk is the thing that gets us super excited.  It’s our favorite stuff, but we also branch out into very different things, and a lot of our tastes gravitate toward that late ‘70s and into the early ‘80s kind of funk.

“Naturally as your influences come in, and living in the day and age that we’re in now.  You’re just constantly bombarded by more and more inspiration, and so you get influenced by different production techniques, Hip Hop or other kinds of  modern music and things like that, and so then taking the love of that late ‘70s funk and then dropping in some of the new tools that we have gives us a lot of possibilities and a lot of incredible things to work with.”

The entirety of Death or Devotion is eminently danceable.  Divinsky said the movement inspiring quality of the recordings has its roots in live performance.

“This band has always been a band that just wants to make you feel good and wants to make you … wants to encourage the party and encourage you to let loose and encourage you to give yourself to whatever experience you’re embarking on at that time.

“It’s really important to us to create that space for people to just kind of let go to forget about the stuff that might be bogging them down and maybe get them into a mode that just allows them to see things a little more clearly because they’re just being present in that funked up music … and so that’s what we really try to do is give people a space to do that.”

Many well known touring bands and artists are and have been based in Denver.  We asked Divinsky about the contemporary music scene in the Mile High City.

“The Denver music scene is one of the fastest growing music scenes in the country,” Divinsky said without hesitation.  “I lived in Brooklyn, New York for seven years and I know a ton of people who have moved out here from Brooklyn, from L.A., from all over the country, and now are filtering into Denver.  I mean, Denver has always had an amazing scene. It’s always been a hub of music, and so now there are just that many more incredibly talented and creative people coming in as well. The amount of talent is incredibly inspiring, but then on top of that, the concert-goers and the community in Colorado and surrounding Denver, it’s amazing.”

Divinsky gave a practical example of how large and appreciative Colorado audiences spur them to be better.

“On a Tuesday night, on a random show, you can get over 200 people to come out and be dancing like it’s a weekend, and that’s gonna make us play better.  It’s gonna make us walk off stage and feel better and more encouraged to write better music and be able to translate that into a better product because we’re just so motivated and so inspired by the thing that’s around us.”

Asking listeners to take stock and consider what they will bring to the world is a recurring theme in Death or Devotion, a prompt meant to inspire action.  The song Whacha Gonna Bring and the title track are prime examples.

“People won’t do the things that you need for you.  You need to be inspired and be proactive as well, whether that’s just like going and cleaning your room or something like that or whether it’s getting out and getting involved in a cause that you’re passionate about or a change that you want to see happen … the whole scope of it … creating the perspective around it like, we’re all in this together, and we all need to get by together by being proactive and getting involved, the world is just going to be a better place.”

For much more from Lyle Divinsky, listen to the audio file embedded above, a mix of words and music from Death or Devotion …

Music credits in order of appearance …

Song: Contagious
Artist: The Motet
Label: Motet

Song: Get it Right
Artist: The Motet
Label: Motet

Song: Speed of Light
Artist: The Motet
Label: Motet

Song: Highly Compatible
Artist: The Motet
Label: Motet

Song: Supernova
Artist: The Motet
Label: Motet

Song: Whacha Gonna Bring
Artist: The Motet
Label: Motet

Song: Death or Devotion
Artist: The Motet
Label: Motet