We introduced you to Southampton Dreampop duo The Diamond Age the other day. Now we’ve had a chat with them.
EP: What’s The Diamond Age story?
TDA: Billy and I have been in several bands over the years, and The Diamond Age (TDA) started by accident really, as we were working on material for another project. We realised that the music we were doing wasn’t going to fit that project, so TDA was born.
EP: Tell us about the songwriting process.
TDA: We record at our home studio within Billy’s house, and lay down ideas as and when they arise – it could start with a bass line, or a vocal melody, or whatever. Eventually, (but not every time), a song starts to take shape. Vocals and lyrics are usually laid down last.
EP: You have self produced your recordings, you do your own artwork and so on – is it important for you to have 100% creative control, or do you see yourselves giving some control away in the future, given the right offer /opportunity?
TDA: We have a strong DIY punk ethic, so having full creative control at this stage is important to us, and it’s been great learning to hone our production skills in a home environment. I wouldn’t say our recordings are perfect, and we tend to leave some rough edges in the final mix, but self-producing our music has shaped our sound enormously. We’re obviously open to seeing where it all takes us, but we’re happy with where we are currently.
EP: Talk us through ‘Sleepwalking’. What’s it all about?
TDA: I was reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula at the time the lyrics were written for Sleepwalking, and the themes in that book had a bearing on the song. The general election was also happening at the same time, so that (and the resulting Tory win) had an effect. It’s about how we’re drawn to and influenced by things without necessarily being aware of them – as if or decisions and actions are made in a perpetual ‘sleepwalking’ state of mind.
EP: Who are your inspirations? Musically? In life?
TDA: We both have similar music taste, but there are differences, which is a good thing. TDA was born out of a love of The Drums and LCD Soundsystem, and I guess we initially wanted to combine elements of those two bands. I think we’re moving away into other areas now, which is exciting for us. The biggest influence I can think of recently would be Sleaford Mods for me, and Billy has had a lifelong affiliation with The Smiths.
EP: If you could, what would you do differently in terms of your musical careers?
TDA: We’ve both been doing music in various guises for over 20 years, and I don’t think either of us would change what we’ve done in the past. It really does feel that all the trials and tribulations of our former projects have helped shape and manage TDA a lot!
EP: What three tracks really get you right now?
TDA: ‘Tidal Wave’ by Tempesst
‘Fool’ by Nadine Shah
‘Thank You’ by All Tvvins
EP: Advice for anyone starting out in the music industry?
TDA: If you’re interested to making a shed load of cash or becoming a millionaire, stay away from the music industry and pursue a career as a chef! Don’t invest vast amounts of capital into your music project unless there is a sound businesscase and you’re guaranteed a return on your investment. Make sure you utilise all the FREE social media platforms strategically, and forget about approaching labels/publishing/management deals – they’ll come to you when the time is right. Bloggers are the most important peeps in the industry, so build good relations with them and your profile will grow. Focus on your strengths, build a dedicated fanbase who love your music, and most importantly make kickass music!
EP: Where do you see yourselves in a year? 5 years?
TDA: We’re looking at milking the Festivals next year, but in the meantime keeping busy writing and recording until we have an album. In 5 years, I want a handful of albums in the discography, and a modest sum of money in the band account so that we can each buy a nice villa in the South of France 🙂
Check out the video for their new single, ‘I Might Just Be’ which was added to the MTV India Pepsi New Music Show in January this year: