DNA: When did you form Divine Knights? Gerard Searle: We actually started in London about six years ago. Beef and I had started songwriting in Melbourne and as I was an actor it took me to London. Beef came over and it’s grown since then. We moved back to Australia about five years ago. Daniel ‘Beef’ Beck: We released an album independently in Australia, then we were invited to be part of Australia’s Got Talent. Gerard: They said they really wanted something like Lady Gaga! We thought it could be a terrible idea but they gave us $20,000 worth of production. Beef: They said we could have whatever we wanted and our eyes went – bing! In hindsight, was a reality show the launchpad you needed? Gerard: No. In some ways it was a stupid thing to do, but we did get fans in some weird places. Beef: We have people from Russia and Ukraine watching us who thought we were the shit. Gerard: Most Australians probably looked at us and went, “Oh no, what the fuck was that [laughs]!?” How far did you get on the show? Gerard: We were semi-finalists. Beef: We didn’t disgrace ourselves, but our semi-final performance was so over the top. It was based around The Neverending Story and they had to build these huge sets. We got a bit of exposure out of it, toured and then disappeared for two years. We didn’t capitalise on it in the way most people would. Gerard: Since we started Divine Knights it was all about being creative and performing and that was just another way of doing that. And now finally you have your first EP, Popaganda! Gerard: We were in the studio for a year-anda-half. We wanted it to be perfect and we love it. We loved doing the videos and we have started crystalising what we are about and the storytelling is a lot clearer. It’s more fun and less navel-gazing than what we’ve done before. We hope people embrace it and can relate to it. Is this a full-time occupation for you guys? Beef: You can’t be a musician these days and not work full-time, unfortunately. We do have to work to pay the bills for the recording and the videos. We are self-funding, which is exciting, and we retain the control. Divine Knights also seem unashamedly gay. Gerard: We will always be ourselves. Every time we present ourselves we are going to be openly gay and very much about our work and our creative vision. We are not hiding anything or changing anything. Beef: We always said that it would always be a non-issue for us. We are more than happy to talk about it. We are proud of that and I fucking love being a gay man. Why wouldn’t I want everyone to know that? Gerard: We are pop artists so there is not a lot to read into that except we have the potential to write stories and be people that can change things, or inspire other people, or make young people believe that you can be whatever you want to be. Your single, Hearts On Fire, was inspired by gay activists of the past, right? Gerard: It was inspired by Australia’s fight for marriage equality. Beef: One of the things I like about Sam Smith is that he writes love songs and sings about men just the way a man sings about a woman, or a woman sings about a man. It’s not garish. He’s just singing what is true to him and that’s awesome. It’s pretty inspirational. He’s probably one of the first artists to do that in the mainstream and that’s pretty cool. Do people assume you guys are a couple? Gerard: Yes, they do. We’ve been best friends for over ten years. We are really comfortable with each other, but I am married to a wonderful man and he is in a relationship with a wonderful man. Beef: We haven’t crossed that line [laughs]. Can two gay men really work so closely together and not be attached? Gerard: Anyone who meets us gets it straight away. You can see there is no sexual attraction, but we’re best buddies. Beef: Well, I am attracted to you… but only on Fridays [laughs].
Divine Knights: Gerard (left) and “Beef” Beck (right).