NewTracks New Artist: The Diamond Dead

NewTracks New Artist: The Diamond Dead

From the ashes of Hawkes Bay band Diamond Doll rise The Diamond Dead with new single No Revolution, a grunge track so catchy you can sing (or, of course, scream) along with during your first listen. The Napier/Hastings four-piece even managed to charm NZ On Air Music into adding the song to their NewTracks compilation this March – not an easy feat for a new(ish) rock act in today’s radio climate.  

Where are The Diamond Dead from and what instruments do you play?

We’re based across Napier/Hastings and are Tyley Burkin (vocals), Tom Mohi (bass), Kane Riley (guitar) and Liv Strawbridge on drums.

What other projects might we know you from?

  • Kane – Tempo 38
  • Tom – Vicious Rumour, Roadeater
  • Tyley – Queens of Beauty School
  • Liv – Queens of Beauty School, Roadeater

What’s the background story of how The Diamond Dead came to be?

Kane, Liv and Hogga (the original bassist) were looking for a new vocalist. Tyley was flatting with Liv at the time and went along to audition with the band. It clicked into place pretty much straight away and that’s it really. Hogga moved to Melbourne and Ben from Come to Dolly joined us for a while. (Are you beginning to notice how incestuous the Napier music scene is?) Tom joined us in 2016 but we had all known each other for years before playing together.

How has your music evolved to get you to this single?

Our sound hasn’t really evolved too much over the years, we’ve just individually developed as musicians. We’ve all drawn from different influences over time when our personal tastes change, and we’ve tightened up our songwriting process. If we all dig the feel of the riff we’ll go ahead and develop the song.

How did you come up with the name for the new project?

When we changed our band name from Diamond Doll to The Diamond Dead we threw about a few completely new names. But band names always sound naff when you hear them the first couple of times. We ended up settling on the minor change, probably because it was still familiar, but just different enough.

What makes No Revolution stand out for you as a single?

From the other songs on the EP, it is based more in reality. From other songs out there, it’s a lot less positive or ‘feel good’ than what I think a lot of people would choose to release.

What is the story behind No Revolution?

It started with a riff that Kane played at practice and then the chorus came quite naturally. The general lyrical theme was drawn from a few different literary influences, most obviously George Orwell’s 1984 (cliché, right?) and feelings of apathy and anxiety.

Who did you produce the single with and where? 

We recorded and mixed it with Nick Blow from Sister Lung Productions (SLP). Because Nick didn’t have fixed premises at the time every instrument was recorded at different times in different places in Napier; in a hall (drums), a school classroom (bass) and a hot & cosy loft (guitar and vocals).

What you do want listeners to take away from this song.

We try to write in a way where the meaning is open to interpretation. If listeners get amped up by the music and can relate to the lyrics of No Revolution then we’ve hit the mark.

In general, how do you work out what song would be a good single?

If it’s fun for us to play, and if we feel like it’s going to have a wider reach then that’s usually a good indication to us that it could be a single. Also if it passes the hum test; if we’re still humming the tune days after practice.

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for, with this band or others?

Aside from working on two more videos and a tour in May for The Diamond Dead, Tyley and Liv will be recording some tracks in Queens of Beauty School later on in the year.

Can you please name three other local tunes that should be on a playlist alongside your song.

  1. Without BordersLast Serenade
  2. Generation DeadHospital Hill Hooligans
  3. DesbotOak and Fog

Had any previous applications not get funding or included on NewTracks? Got any advice for people out there?

This was the second time we had applied for NewTracks with No Revolution. The first time we had only just released the single and it hadn’t had much exposure. In between that time, we’d just signed up to our publisher Songbroker, it was aired on 4ZZZ Radio in Brisbane and featured on the NZ Musician’s ‘Hatchlings’ playlist. Our advice would be to send it to as many radio stations and music blogs you can, just put the hard yards in. We’ve been getting a hand from our PR Renee Jones who’s been helping us to do that.

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

  1. The Needle Drop
  2. Off The Tracks

Who did you create the music video with?

We DIY’d it in Kane’s basement with our phone cameras mostly and little phone camera lens attachments we bought from Briscoes for about $11 on sale! Liv and her partner shot it and put it together.

Any last words?

Thanks to everyone who’s been sharing our music! We really appreciate your enthusiasm!