Northern Transmissions chats with John O from Diamond Rings. Catch him and his band live, or check out the new album available on Astralwerks.
NT: Your career prior to ‘Diamond Rings’ was mostly playing in Indie Rock bands. What helped pushed you into going at it solo?
JO: I wanted a platform to explore different musical and visual concepts without the pressure of having to compromise.
NT: It was a bit of a dramatic change musically and personally, was it a little intimidating from the onset?
JO: I was just making videos and music for myself and my friends. Things happened organically.
NT: What happened with the ‘Track ‘All Yr Songs’? Did Sony really force you to remove it from Youtube?
JO: No. YouTube removed it without asking. It really wasn’t that big a deal. It’s back online now and that’s all that matters.
NT: What was the experience like when you Played on Letterman? Did you get to meet fellow Canadian Paul Shaffer?
JO: Briefly. He’s got some great synths and the catering backstage was great.
NT: On ‘Free Dimensional’ you worked in a bit of a bigger studio than ‘Special Affections’, were you excited being able to experiment with so many new sounds?
JO: I recorded most of the tracks for this record on a laptop. The vocals and guitars were recorded by Damian Taylor, who also did all the mixing. He has a great studio and great ears but lots of the experimenting still just happened in my bedroom in Toronto.
NT: Can you tell me a bit about the ‘Remix Rainbow’ releases, how did that come together?
JO: I emailed a bunch of artists and bands that I liked and asked if I could remix their songs for free. The ones that said yes were included in the series. The ones that said no will regret it for the rest of their lives.
NT: You covered Sebadoh’s ‘On Fire’, what drew you to this song?
JO: One of my old roommates works at a record store in Toronto and frequently gives me ideas for potential covers. The Sebadoh one was on a mixtape that the bassist in my old band played for me on tour years ago. I thought the lyrics were great.
NT: Which five Albums continue to inspire you?
You mean like 5ive the band? Obviously they’re a big inspiration. Otherwise I’d go with Avalon by Roxy Music, Diva by Annie Lennox, Born To Run by Springsteen, Resurrection by Virgo Four, and Futuresex/Lovesounds by JT.