Diamond Rings is literally as cool as ice (and by ice I mean the kind that rappers rap about, the diamond kind that glitters…a lot). I had the chance to briefly speak with him a little while ago right before his epic Vancouver show. It was refreshing speaking to someone who really doesn’t care what people think because at the end of the day, what people think doesn’t define him: he defines himself and being himself makes him happy and creative, and in turn, brings us fans some rockin’ electro-pop ear candy.
Hi! How are ya? How’s the tour going?
Diamond Rings: Amazing, having a good time. I’m with PS I Love You. It’s great.
What’s it like being on tour all the time, city to city, culture to culture?
Diamond Rings: It’s kind of like being in the circus. I don’t know. It’s so many things. There are so many responsibilities every day. It’s a really big balancing act but it’s fun.
What’s the most important thing you get out of touring?
Diamond Rings: Probably just the feeling of being able to express myself fully and honestly every night to a room of people who want to see me be me. That’s the reward at the end of the day.
On the subject of you getting to be you every night, how would you describe yourself and your music and what do you think attracts your fans?
Diamond Rings: People are attracted to seeing something exciting, different, and unique but also something that is real. I guess realness is an ambiguous term, you can’t really explain. Some people just have it and are able to express themselves that way.
So on to your music, how do you feel about your album Special Affections being leaked online before its release?
Diamond Rings: I thought it was awesome. It means people are into my music and are excited to hear it. I’ve been doing this long enough that I know you can’t even give your shit away for free if you wanted to so if someone wants to go online and navigate the underbelly of the online world to find my music before its available, that’s cool. Hopefully they’ll come to the show and buy a t-shirt and if not, at least they’re listening to my music.
How did Special Affections morph into as a slew of acoustic songs to computerized electro-pop?
Diamond Rings: I had been performing the songs acoustically for friends at parties, etc., and I wanted to bring them to a bigger audience. I didn’t want to be that guy strumming an acoustic guitar in the middle of a crowded bar with drunk guys yelling over the music. It was pretty much a matter of finding something that would allow me to bring music to a bigger audience. Not only is electronic music fun and what I’m into, it was the most practical genre for me to reach that larger audience. I learnt to use GarageBand to make my own beats and backing tracks.
I don’t know if you can elaborate on this because it might always be evolving or spontaneous, but if you can, what’s you’re creative process like?
Diamond Rings: I sit in my room for long periods of time alone, strumming guitars, playing keyboards, and banging my head against the wall until either I get a really big bruise and call it quits or I break through the other side and find something special.
When locked in your room, other than banging you head against the wall, do you do anything or listen to anything in particular to get inspired?
Diamond Rings: My studio is in my room, it’s literally a bedroom studio: loft bed above and recording gear below and always hooked up and ready to go whenever I am. I listen to music all the time. I’m always drawing inspiration from that. I have incense and salt rock lamps: everything to get the vibe going.
How would you define your personal style?
Diamond Rings: My style is unique: it’s intuitive. I just know what I like and I go after it.
A lot of artists with super cool unique styles that challenge status quo get stereotyped for being “too different”, and/or people simply don’t know how to react…..do you feel like that has happened to you at all?
Diamond Rings: Totally. Diamond Rings is pretty much its own stereotype. [Stereotyping] is inevitable; it’s part of the process of establishing yourself as an artist. You need something that people can connect to and it has to be obvious and direct but also has to be unique, that’s what I’m always striving for. I’m fully aware that what I’m doing is boiled down to some really hideous and grotesque caricature, but that happens all the time, it comes with the territory.
It’s great you feel comfortable in continuing on with your own style instead of letting the masses change you with their opinion.
Diamond Rings: First rule is to not take anything you read on the internet seriously, whether it’s good or bad criticism. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t read what people say online; I check out my Youtube comments for a laugh every once and awhile but you can’t internalize that stuff, it’s not a reflection of you as a person.
What should your fans expect from you this year…what are your musical goals for the next while?
Diamond Rings: Be a better musician, producer, and artist. I want to record a new record and I want it to be better than the last. Maybe better isn’t the right word: I want to keep evolving, that’s probably a more accurate way to describe what I want to do. For sure the stuff I’m working on now production-wise is more refined than Special Affections which I created in GarageBand. It’s about constantly pushing myself to keep improving and exploring new ideas.
The stuff you’re working on now…does that mean you’re working on new music?
Diamond Rings: A little bit. Wish I could do more but by the time you’re done a show you just want to pass out. I find that on the road it’s more a time for me to reflect and conceptualize where I want to be this time next year. I do that best when I’m travelling and then get all the ideas and reflections out when I’m home.
Special Affections is great so I’m totally looking forward to hearing the new stuff!Anyways, thanks for the chat and good luck with the rest of your tour and future music making!
Diamond Rings: Thanks! Peace.