Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit
Divorce landscape 2024

On the Rise

14 March 2024, 00:00

Nottingham four-piece Divorce are conjuring playful theatrics and surreal joy against the bleak everyday.

“It’s all about allowing playfulness to be the thing that defines us,” says DIVORCE co-vocalist Felix Mackenzie-Barrow. “We have a sound, but we’re not really worried about genre.”

True to his word, the Nottingham band have comfortably dabbled in everything from folk, indie and punk across two sweepingly dramatic EPs. Twisting murder ballads sit next to spiky coming-of-age anthems, with DIVORCE finding joy in the surreal everyday. “It’s theatre,” adds Tiger Cohen-Towell. “But it’s not serious.”

New track “Gears” is just as gleefully chaotic. Written while Felix was working a rewarding, yet gruelling job after moving to London and struggling to balance work, the band and a steadily diminishing social life, the track was fuelled by frustration. “It feels like there’s just so much trial and error when it comes to everything,” he says with a touch of hopelessness. Still, “Gears” is more fun than fury, with the band once again channelling a playful energy. “The best way to deal with things is humour,” he says. “Sometimes you just have to laugh at how hilariously bleak a situation is.”


“It was also such a playful song to record,” adds Tiger, with the band working with producer Catherine Marks (St. Vincent, Boygenius, Wolf Alice, The Big Moon) on the track. “She was just so willing to try everything, no matter how weird. My backing vocals sound like I’m singing in a bar, while Adam [Peter-Smith, guitarist] just ended up screaming. It’s kind of silly but provides so much atmosphere,” they explain, with that spontaneity adding a real warmth to the music. “It just felt like playtime,” Tiger adds. It reminded them of the freedom of Megatrain, their old alternative indie-pop band band with Felix, as well as the excitement that came from forming DIVORCE in 2021.

Rather than looking back though, Tiger believes “Gears” is the “perfect introduction” to DIVORCE in 2024. “It’s about things ever-changing and being a bit disastrous, but not losing that humour,” they explain. “[2023’s ‘Heady Metal’ EP] was all about playing with extremes but I think ‘Gears’ is the beginning of us really understanding who we are as a band.”

The band play coy about how much new music they’re currently sitting on, but they do admit they spent a chunk of 2023 building up a back catalogue of releases. “I can’t get too specific but there will be more music this year. You won't be waiting long for new songs from DIVORCE,” says Tiger. “We've been cooking.”

Divorce portrait 2024

“No song is ever going to sound the same as the last because that’s not the kind of band we are,” they continue, but there’s a shared energy that runs across the next batch of tracks. “There’s this confidence that’s come from playing live,” says Felix.

We’re speaking a few days after the current Conservative government has announced the budget for 2024 and unsurprisingly, there’s not much funding for culture, especially in places outside of London. “It’s devastating because there’s so much going on in Nottingham, and around the country, that isn’t being given the opportunity to grow,” says Tiger. “There are a lot of voices that just aren’t being heard,” adds Felix.

“If it carries on like this, it’ll be even harder for musicians to stay engaged for as long as you need to, in order to turn it into a career,” explains Tiger. “You’ll only hear music created by people from privilege, because so many brilliant creative minds will just never be able to give it a proper go. That’s a real shame.”


It’s a feeling Tiger knows well. They’ve been making music since they were a teenager and still don't really know what kept them coming back beyond it being fun. “We’re very lucky that we’ve signed a record deal that means we can live off of music for the time being. I would never make any effort to hide that, but I also won’t hide the fact that for years, we worked incredibly hard to make this happen.”

“It's still unstable,” they continue. “But art has always been born of defiance. People who face unbelievable odds still make art. That's not us though,” they continue, explaining there are degrees of struggle when it comes to the music industry. “I do think we deserve to be doing this though.”

“A lot of what stops musicians from places like Nottingham pursuing a career is that they don't think they deserve it,” they add. “We've worked hard and I think our music is good, so I want people to hear it.”

And it seems like they’re getting their way. DIVORCE started the year by supporting the likes of The Vaccines and Bombay Bicycle Club and following a trip to SXSW this week, will be touring with Everything Everything ahead of a very busy festival season and their own headline gigs. “We’ve a lot to prove, and there’s a lot of work to do,” says Tiger.

“Playing live is an experience you share with the audience,” continues Felix. “You’re asking people to come with you and it feels like we’ve really started connecting, which is a big win.”

“We put a lot of ourselves into our music, and we never hold back,” he says of why their wordy, surreal music is connecting, despite it being written about “really specific situations”.

“People are simple creatures. We all go through very similar things and we have a similar way of interpreting the world around us. The core emotions of what we’re talking about are pretty universal. Rather than preaching or trying to deliver a certain narrative, we’re just trying to capture specific emotions,” Felix says. “Finding common ground with others, that's the thing that people latch on to. No matter how specific you think your experiences are, they're probably not that unique.”

“I just hope people can feel some comfort and a sense of understanding through our fuck ups that we’ve written into songs,” continues Tiger. “If it can inspire someone from somewhere as ‘culturally insignificant’ as Nottingham to make art, that’s even better,” they add.

Divorce play Best Fit's SXSW party at the Swan Dive patio on Friday, 15 March.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next