In Features...White-Hot Diamond Rings

>> Monday, 21 March 2011

Since his debut album Special Affections dropped this past October, glamour demi-god Diamond Rings (aka John O’Regan) has been one of this nation’s hottest musical acts.

But the songs populating Special Affections weren’t always the way we know and hear them.

The bulk of the record was written over a year, in two phases. O’Regan originally penned the songs on an acoustic guitar with the intention of performing them exclusively for friends at private events. And this is exactly what he did for a winter until deciding the songs needed flat-out reimagining.

“I wanted to reconceptualize (the songs) in a way that was a little more populist and exciting and engaging,” he explains over the phone from his hotel in Vancouver. “So that’s when I started teaching myself rudimentary electronic music production.”

This self-directed apprenticeship eventually led him to Special Affections: a warm and enveloping set of lyrical electro-pop numbers galvanized by O’Regan distinctive baritone and knack for writing highly personal, idiosyncratic tales.

The buzz surrounding the debut coupled with his incomparable, glammed-out one-man live show eventually earned O’Regan the opening slot on Swedish indie-pop sensation Robyn’s North American tour. And O’Regan took full advantage of this coveted opportunity.

“I haven’t played consistently to that many people before in my life,” he admits. “It really forced me to reevaluate the way I perform and the way I compose my music. It was a positive thing.”

For O’Regan though, this prime opening slot wasn’t just a chance to introduce Special Affections to large, unfamiliar audiences. It also allowed him to watch and learn from one of the world’s pre-eminent live performers each night as she took the stage.

“I’m always trying to grown and develop and improve,” says O’Regan. “Getting to watch an artist who has been doing this for quite sometime, night in and night out, was a real privilege. Hopefully I can put all that experience to good use.”

The experience O’Regan gained on tour with Robyn is currently being harnessed on his co-headlining tour with PS I Love You, another Canadian band whose stock has been rising exponentially since the fall.

“We both kinda started out making music together. Diamond Rings was new and when I put out my first 7 inch, they were on the B Side. I really believe in them as artists, and the feeling is mutual, so it only made sense…that we team up.”

And once the tour winds up, O’Regan plans to return home to Toronto for some much desired downtime. But only a few days worth.

“I want to keep working hard and improving, so I’ll be right back at it.”

Catch Diamond Rings this Friday night at the Lo Pub w/ PS I Love You and the Cannon Bros.


CreativeNige,  23 March 2011 at 11:52  

Nice little feature on Diamond Rings, man. Did you have it published anywhere else?

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