The Motet is making its second annual pit stop in its home town of Denver to bring “dance your ass off” funk for two nights to the Ogden. The band's Hometown Hustle show is even more of a homecoming for one of the newest members, vocalist Lyle Divinsky. Divinsky joined the Motet in January 2016, after frontman Jans Ingber left last year.
Divinsky is the only member of the band who does not currently live in Colorado. He's itching to make the move from Portland, Maine, to Denver after Thanksgiving, and he sees this two-night run as a preview of what's to come in what will soon be his new home. Divinsky lived in Brooklyn from 2009 to 2015, pursuing a solo career. He released his own record one month before he received a phone call from Motet keyboardist Joey Porter, extending an invitation to join to the band. From there, ideas between Divinsky and the band flowed freely for their new album, Totem. The Motet had instrumentals for the album that they had been working on since the 2015 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, but there were still missing pieces. “Things weren’t jelling [for the album] where they wanted to,” Divinsky explains. “They sent me the first instrumental and got more into giving me a clean slate and seeing what I could come up with. They loved the direction I was taking things and allowed me to go where I wanted to.”
While Divinsky’s prior experiences have been more in the soul realm of music, he really enjoyed the opportunity to dig deep into funk with creative input on the album. Divinsky believes the Motet is ever-evolving.
“I describe funk and soul as the extrovert and introvert sides of the same person,” Divinsky says. “Funk is more the party side, while soul is the more reflective side. It was fun to jump up with a band that was already crushing it [in funk], and I was immediately given creative input and freedom to start writing lyrics.”
From Porter’s invitation in December to touring this fall, Divinsky has described his journey with the band as “Motet boot camp." After a couple weeks sending album ideas back and forth, Divinsky flew out to rehearse. A week after that, the group began touring, and Divinsky performed about twenty shows between January and February alone. While it was a quick transition with a steep learning curve, the members became fast family.
“In the first hour of rehearsal, I thought, ‘Oh, of course it’s this easy,’ and I haven’t questioned that since,” Divinsky says. “I was used to the makeup of the band, it was just a matter of getting to know personalities. Everyone is so cool and so good at their instrument, and I was able to learn intricacies along the way while doing my own thing. I was trying to honor the band that has meant so much to so many people for so long, and it’s a big thing for a frontman to change.”
Divinsky is looking forward to this two-night run, not only because of his impending move to the city, but because of the environment and energy of Colorado shows.
“I’ve been [to Colorado] seven or eight times now, and I’m more impressed every time I go,” Divinsky says. “Everyone [is willing] to fully immerse themselves in the experience. People can be a little too cool sometimes and may go to a show but not dance. In Colorado, people have embraced that you’re only cooler if you dance and give yourself to the experience at hand. I’m excited to be a part of a community that is willing to be present.”
The Motet performs this Friday, November 11, and Saturday, November 12, at the Ogden Theatre, with Sophistafunk, Mikey Thunder and a set of Mixtape 1979 (a funk and disco dance party ).
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