I'M DELIVERING PIZZAS with all four members of Divers. Since the guys each have drastically different work schedules—their band practices usually don't get started until after midnight—it was decided that the only way we could all get together was if somebody was on the clock. So five grown men are crammed into bassist James Deegan's purple Honda Civic, making the rounds in Southeast Portland and dropping off hot, cheesy pies.
As onstage, singer/guitarist Harrison Rapp takes the lead, answering questions about the band's origins—there was an empty slot at a house show Deegan was helping to organize. "We were just like, let's start a band and write as many songs as we can," says Harrison. "It started pretty casually. By small graduations, it's become a real band."
Alongside Deegan and Harrison, guitarist Seth Rapp (Harrison's brother) and drummer Colby Dean Hulsey (the Rapps' childhood friend from Las Vegas) round out the band. Both Harrison and Seth spent years playing together in punk band Drunken Boat before Divers came along. To date, Divers have only released a 7-inch—"Glass Chimes" backed with "Montrose," on Olympia's Rumbletowne label—but it is a motherfucker, a gob-smackingly marvelous pair of anthems. Divers' tattered-heart, hoarse-voiced rock 'n' roll is motored by pealing guitars, oil-slicked emotion, and songwriting that Springsteen would burn his union card to have written.
When pressed, Harrison says the songs are about "finding beauty in impermanence, rolling with the punches, moving on—but also, carrying the past with you in meaningful ways." But they're also about cranking up the guitars and hollering along with your friends. In a mere two songs, Divers have made their purpose plain—and become one of Portland's best bands in the process.
More tunes are on the way. "We trash things a lot. It's a pretty ruthless editing process," says Harrison. When I ask if that's discouraging, he says, "I think it's fun. It's something I always wanted to do but never did in a band, because I didn't have a group of people that was patient enough to deal with that. [With Divers], everybody's game. Anything you give up, you're gonna get something back. I like being ruthless about it, because any good idea is going to persist."