In the mid to late nineties Canada was experiencing an indie rock explosion. Long before the internet drew international attention northward to the likes of Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene, a handful of Canadian bands were building an exciting sound – something altogether unique from the rest of the world. At the epicenter of this churning bubble was By Divine Right
. Centered around the psychedelic song writing of Jose Contreras, By Divine Right’s line-up was ever evolving. Ranging between tight pop perfection and all-out noise hysteria, the band has included the talent of later musical crusaders such as Broken Social Scene
‘s Brendan Canning and Feist
, members of The Meligrove Band
, and Holy Fuck
‘s Brian Borcherdt.
José’s rare combination of artistic adventure and cultural intuition pre-dated the 90’s alternative music explosion and the 2000’s indie rock phenomena, and it’s this creative curiosity and fusion of sensibilities that continues to make BDR relevant. Since 1995, BDR has released 8 albums and played thousands of shows across Canada, the US, UK, Australia and China. They have influenced at least 3 generations of Canadian music. José has become a sought after and in demand record producer and songwriter, while at the same time By Divine Rights’s last album, 2010’s ‘Mutant Message’ was long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize and nominated for a Juno Award.
By Divine Right has just completed their 9th album, ‘Organized Accidents’. Scheduled to be released June 4th 2013 by Toronto Arts imprint Hand Drawn Dracula, ‘Organized Accidents’ is the culmination of José’s songwriting and production pursuits. A self-indulgent and decadent extravagance of sound, it is nonetheless a romantic study in minimalism. This is the sound of By Divine Right – vastly unlike the sound of any other artist. Written and recorded in a forest just outside of Toronto, Contreras has continued his explorations of ambience and deconstruction with a tight knit group of friends, including By Divine Right members Geordie Dynes (Mark Inside) and Alysha Haugen (Sheezer). This approach is not without its casualties. Everyone involved slept in their clothes at some point. Or in no clothes. Everyone fell asleep standing up. Everyone did something they didn’t think they could do. The experiment was a success.
· Mutant Message nominated for the 2011 Juno Award for Package Design of the Year ~ link
· Mutant Message long-listed for the 2010 Polaris Music Prize ~ link
· Jose Contreras co-wrote Hannah Georgas’ Bang Bang You’re Dead! ~ link
· Jose Contreras produced records for Brian Borcherdt, Meligrove Band, Lily Frost, David Vertessi
“By Divine Right return with a gorgeous collection of airy, hazy, pop-infused rock’n’roll that celebrates all that is sunny and shiny in this dark world – a jaunty album with bite.” ~ Exclaim! Magazine
“ten short-but-sweet pop gems, (Mutant Message) is a return to the tight, lean songwriting and general new-age positivity of BDR’s first two LP’s
- a damn near perfect pop album.” ~ Soundproof
“Brilliant oddball Jose Miguel Contreras of By Divine Right can do no wrong – a certified genius at writing diamond-sharp pop ditties
- Mutant Message proves to be his best musical moment yet.” ~ Montreal Mirror
“A triumphant return to form from one of the most important Canadian indie bands of the ’90s.” ~ AUX TV
“Mutant Message is a compact, potent collection of punchy hooks delivered with devil-may-care energy.” ~ National Post
“The glorious guitar sounds, Beatle-esque harmonies and pure pop songs on By Divine Right’s instantly addictive Mutant Message
- ample proof of Contreras’ songwriting skills and impeccable ear for melody.” ~ ELLE Canada