WAM INTERVIEWS: Big Splash champ & SOTA Fest-er Jacob Diamond
Having taken out The Big Splash (reminder: entries close May 20!) and playing State Of The Art Festival on Monday 6 June, we thought it high time we spoke to Jacob Diamond. WAMily scribe Lauren Bettridge interviewed him, getting tips for slaying song comps, hearing stories of offending Paul Kelly, and discovering the songwriter, singer and guitarist’s hot tips for must-sees at #SOTAFest…
A history in brief: I started playing open mics when I was in high school and continued to come up through that young singer-songwriter thing for the next three or four years. Last year I entered The Big Splash with my new super talented band and tried to put together the best set I could, which was rewarding because that’s just what people who play music should do, but also because, clams. WAM [editor: the Awards are judged by the industry, and not WAM per se] also gave us a nod with the Best Folk Act award, which was nice. We finished last year playing heaps of fun festival shows and had the freedom to do two different recordings in two very different ways – the first was our most recent release, an EP called Chum – which was conceived of, written, recorded and released in just over a month – and our as yet unreleased LP, conceived of written and recorded over about 400 years.
Your sound? The best way to understand it is to hear it, I suppose, but I’m inspired by badass singer- songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits, the abandon of Neutral Milk Hotel and the theatre. So it’s a bloody mess.
Who or what would you say is your main influence(s) in making music? Whoops, see above – Jumped the gun. Also, love. Yeah, I said it.
How did taking out the 2015 Big Splash (and all those clams) change things for you? Well, the clams made it possible for me to make my album project broader in scope – I was able to travel between Melbourne and Perth to work with a producer that I liked (the wondrous Lachlan Carrick), I was able to, ya know, work with this producer that I liked and take him and my beautiful band out into the bush at Real2Reel Studios for a week to really cut sick for the songs. The funds gave the songs a glitzier life than what I’d anticipated, which is not essential for them to be good necessarily, but it’s just hella glam. We’ve also been offered heaps of opportunities to play festival shows and national supports, something that didn’t happen so often beforehand!
What advice would you give to bands entering The Big Splash this year (preparation tips, live performance song-choices, food to fuel up on beforehand, etc)? The best thing to do is to not worry and just try and put together half an hour or twenty five minutes, or however long it is, of the best ya got. Competitions are a little weird, so it’s best to just focus on the songs because what else is there really. Although, comps are good for kicking people in the ass, so even if you fail spectacularly at least try to use the deadlines as a way to make the vibes super strong. AND NO HATS. Or at least have the decency to give them back to who they rightfully belong to, gosh.
How did it feel to beat out all those rad bands at The Big Splash Grand Final? Actually kinda terrible, but then you’re holding a novelty cheque and you’re like ‘kneel peasants’ jks ily shit narnia
We’re stoked to see you on the SOTA line-up this year for WA Day, what three acts are you most looking forward to seeing on the day and why?
1. Well, Jebs because my cousin had a poster of theirs on his wall when I was like eight, and I used to be all ‘that is sick.’ Plus, Ness.
2. Mathas because of his rare artful everything.
3. And The Love Junkies because they’re a hardworking, killer songwriting bunch of legends.
What can new listeners/lookers to the Jacob Diamond experience expect from your SOTA set? Some new songs from the forthcoming record, and I’m thinking of applying glitter just generally.
What’s the best/most surreal/magical moment you’ve ever had on stage? Not sure about the best or most magical, but the most surreal moment was fumbling through a Paul Kelly song at a terrible cover gig at the Broome Cup and finding out after the set that he was actually there, probably not loving that I was jumbling up his perfect lyrics. Ugh.
We hear you’re in the studio in the bush recording with legend Lachlan Carrick (Gotye, C.W Stoneking, Lior) how’s the debut LP sounding? It’s still very young, but it’s sounding how I hoped it would sound! The album is rooted in the singer-songwriter thing, but has odd noisy moments, short sketches as well as extended things and a hopefully not-shit thematic arc.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, shine bright like a diamond, diamonds on the inside, diamonds on the soles of her shoes…what’s your fave diamond related song? Diamond Dogs mate. Oft’ overlooked when the diamond puns are coming thick and fast.
What’s happening for you in the near future? I’m just focused on finishing off the album at the moment, but SOTA is the next big hoo-ha. I’m also supporting buddies HYLA at The Bird on May 21.