Words by Kyle Shaffer

Photo by: Tabatha Cavendish

"Divide By One", like all the songs on the record, was written while in the stay-at-home phase of the COVID pandemic, and the entire record is definitely a product of that environment. When I'm writing lyrics, I don't really have a story or linear train of thought I'm trying to follow - I usually keep things pretty vague and imagistic, but I think the motivation for this song was maybe the clearest when compared to other songs on the record.

This is probably a really common memory for a lot of people, but I vividly remember trips to the grocery store during the start of the pandemic and seeing large swathes (typically toilet paper and other essentials) being completely emptied, and likewise seeing people with their carts overflowing with their stash to bring home and hunker down for a few weeks if need be. It was easy to laugh off as overreaction and panic, but at the same time I had this visceral reaction to the selfishness and short-sightedness of people. It was a really direct demonstration of how people might say they're willing to help others or act together toward a common goal, but when the shit hits the fan people look out for themselves at the expense of others.

I started to play with that idea with the lyrics and the whole idea of "dividing by one" - the idea that people might have a greater collaborative goal they're working towards, but in the end individualism and selfishness can ultimately win out in so many scenarios. Using that as a lens to view other crises - most prominently climate change - I pushed on some of the negative implications of that behavior. The ending lyrics of the song "Always pick and choose, and build an ever-smaller view / Just cut until it's up to snuff, never enough" reflects a pessimistic feeling that we'll probably be content entertaining ourselves to distract from larger problems that will ultimately lead to irreversible consequences. It's pretty bleak, and it's just a song - but I'm not convinced it's entirely off-base.   

Make sure to check out Fixture's "Life in Retreat" in it's entirety over on Bandcamp. You can also follow the band on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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