The all-female metal rock band conquers the divide between genders
Conquer Divide, an all-female metal rock band, is conquering rock radio stations across America. It’s only been a year since their first self-titled album was released and they have already landed number 13 on Billboard’s HeatSeeker charts and number 33 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock/Radio Charts.
The band consists of screamer and vocalist Janel Duarte, guitarist Kristen Waters, drummer Tamara Tadic, lead vocalist Kiarely Castillo, bassist Ashley Colby and guitarist Izzy Johnson. For Duarte, hearing her band’s name on the radio is surreal. “We’re getting up there and it’s a lot to do with our fans,” she said. “They are calling the radio stations requesting us. It’s such a lovely feeling.” Conquer Divide’s music is a mixture of metal rock and softer rock tunes. Duarte said the bands “Beartooth” and “Attack Attack!” were some of the band’s major musical influences.
The band wouldn’t have been formed if it weren’t for international networking across a multitude of social media platforms.“It originally started with Kristen [Waters] when she was 15. She had the vision of starting a female project. She wanted to prove that it’s possible,” said Duarte. “She looked for girls in the Michigan area, which is where she’s from, but had to broaden her search.” The search for Kristen’s band mates expanded throughout the U.S., Canada and into the UK. Duarte mentions how band members Kiarely, Izzy and herself were discovered through YouTube. “They found me through my song covers that I had posted on my YouTube Channel,” Duarte said. “We all come from different states and Izzy is from the UK. Conquer Divide started with a lot of Facebook and YouTube so we have a lot of love for social media.”
The name ‘Conquer Divide’ has a strong meaning, one that Duarte explained is different for each member. “I see Conquer Divide as conquering the division of how far apart we are, we all live in different parts of the world and we come and make beautiful music together,” she explained. “It also means conquering the division of genders. Essentially, how conquering the fact that we are girls and still kick ass.”
What she loves most about being in the band is when they all get to [jam] together and go to different cities that they’ve never been to. “It’s always a good time when we are out travelling and then the shows are just the highlight of the night,” Duarte said. She added that touring isn’t dreadful: “When we got stuck by the side of the road at the end of our ‘Slave’ tour, we were all giggling. We were in the middle of the desert.” The girls are very close-knit and they conquer all their band issues together. “We’re a really strong band,” she said. Duarte said that the whole experience is worth the sleepless and showerless nights.
Conquer Divide wants listeners to feel comforted through their music. They write their songs based on experiences that everyone goes through. “Everyone goes through a lot of stuff in life, so I have a few things that I want to get off my chest and that’s where my inspiration comes from,” said Duarte.
What she loves most about what she brings to the band is her sense of humour. “I make a lot of people laugh, I’m just a ball of energy,” she said. “I feel like I help bring the shows together with the hype, craziness and aggression.”
She has a lot to say about her beloved bandmates as well. “Next to me, [Izzy] has a lot of patience, she knows how to get things done—best sense of humour mixed with a pretty personality and sassy accent.” As for their drummer Tamara, Duarte said she’s on fire behind the drums. “She’s a quiet sweet girl and when you see her on drums, it’s like, what? She’s so down to earth. We are all two different people on and off stage but for her it’s definitely apparent.”
The “momma” of Conquer Divide is guitarist Kristen. “She knows our schedules, when we need to do interviews. Any questions we have, we ask her,” Duarte said, adding that Kristen is the blunt and honest friend of the group. “She’s the friend that will tell you you look fat in those jeans.”
Their bass player Ashley is a tall southern gal who loves country music. “Her personality is so bubbly and happy. She’s always the person trying to keep us positive. It’s really awesome to have her around,” Duarte said. Vocalist Kiarely is Duarte’s best friend, inside and outside of the band. “We can just sit in a room and laugh our asses off for hours. We are inseparable on tour,” said Duarte. “I love all my girls in my band.”
To all bands out there working hard on their music, this is Duarte’s advice: “Get on YouTube, Facebook, post comments, go crazy, network as much as you possibly can, because when you do have a project that’s about to blow their minds, you will have a great audience.”
The girls are currently saving up for a new van for future tours. As soon as they hit the road again they are looking forward to touring and performing in Canada.