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Started from the bottom
March 15th, 2010
Diamond Rings is the colourful, androgynous and oh so cool solo dance act helmed by Johnny O of The D’Urbervilles. His two projects couldn’t be any more different but are equally buzz worthy. Check out the Q&A with Johnny O where he talks about his look, Pitchfork.com, Body Break and swinging both ways.
Your CMW line-up was quite diverse. What do you think that does for the audience?
Listening to the same thing over and over again gets boring. I’m glad that people are finally opening up and wanting to discover and appreciate all kinds of different sounds and styles.
You have played with other acts like Ghost Bees. What is the musical community like that you are in?
Fantastic. There’s a real strong undercurrent of great music happening in West Toronto right now. I’m really into groups like Ghost Bees who not only write fantastic songs but also focus on the visual and performative aspects of their live shows as well. My work with the Bees has probably just as much to do with getting dressed up as it does singing harmonies. I’m also really into anything that Katie Stelmanis is doing lately.
What was it like to have the “All Yr Songs” video picked up by Pitchfork?
It made for a few busy weeks running back and forth from the post office to mail out copies of the 7″ vinyls. It was fun to send something that was so close and personal to me to places like Japan and Australia and find out that there are people all over the world who are excited by what I’m doing.
Have things changed for you since then?
I’ve been getting more press coverage and playing lots more shows than I originally anticipated. I’ve been able to get some other labels interested in what I’m doing and now I don’t have to mail out my own records anymore. Not that I don’t like mailing out records, but you know.
How is this project different than The D’Urbervilles?
It’s not a band for starters. All of the songs feature digital drum loops and are composed using mostly MIDI instrumentation. I get glammed up and really focus on the entire performance and try to give people something that they wouldn’t otherwise expect. It’s totally different but not better or worse. Just different.
Are you better working solitarily or with a group?
I’d like to think that I swing both ways.
What does each project fulfill for you?
The band gives me the opportunity to work with an amazing group of really talented musicians who I not only respect but really care for.
We’re good friends and we have worked together for long enough that we’re developing our own style, which is really exciting. Diamond Rings allows me to really let loose and engage with my more visual side. I really like fashion and bright colours and loud dance beats so it’s also nice to have the option to rock out in my own personal way.
What was your look inspired by?
Grace Jones, Salt N Pepa, Bowie, Run DMC, and Dennis Rodman.
What is next for you with Diamond Rings and The D’Urbervilles? Any other projects in the works?
We’re both going to be releasing full length records. Hopefully more singles. As Jay Z says, on to the next one, right? There are always other projects in the works. I just can’t talk about them yet.
Are there any new artists that you have your eye on for 2010?
PS I Love You, Ghost Bees, Katie Stelmanis, and of course Lady Gaga.
Great. Do you have anything else to add?
Keep fit and have fun.
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