2010’s music season brought in quite a cast of characters and unique albums. However, one was able to successfully match artistic integrity with genuine stage presence and that was Toronto’s Diamond Rings. Lead by multi-instrumentalist and uber-talented John O, Diamond Rings is an ambitious and brave direction toward meaningful dance music. 2010’s Special Affections, his debut, received positive attention from the likes of Pitchfork and true fans of vulnerable and honest pop music. Like a soundtrack to a late night drive through the city, the album is bright, intelligent, and a fair display of what John O is musically capable of. But once you see him on stage, the music comes to life through his unconventional dance moves and clear passion he has toward performance art.
You can see Diamond Rings on September 25th with Twin Shadow at the Great American Music Hall. Tickets available here.
You can also purchase the Special Affections reissue here.
So this week we have John O himself answer the world famous Kuestionnaire as he gives us a collaboration wish made in musical heaven (or hell…?).
1. Could you state your name and what you do in the band?
My name is John O and I write, record, and perform as Diamond Rings.
2. How would you describe your sound?
3. What is your favorite local band?
Austra. They’re the most exciting band in Toronto for sure.
4. Any concerts that blew your mind recently?
Kylie Minogue at the Bell Centre in Montreal. So many costume changes!
She’s the best.
5. Any non-musical influences you would like to mention?
General Idea were a Toronto based art collective who were active in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s. They were openly queer and also really critiqued the process of art making within their actual work. They published their own magazine called File which also featured some of the first punk and new wave bands when those scenes were breaking in North America.
6. If your music was to be the theme of a film/TV show, what would it be?
Anything starring Michael Jordan.
7. What musician/artist would you like to collaborate with for a day?
8. What is the album you listen to on a cold rainy day?
Avalon by Roxy Music.
9. List four songs you would listen to on a road trip?
Lost Cause by Beck, She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals, Think Of Me by Madonna, and Cosmic Cars by Cybotron.
10. Where do you see yourselves in 7 years?
Traveling around the world and performing my music for as many people as humanly possible.
11. What is the last book you read?
The Dip by Seth Godin. I’m on a self-help kick lately.
12. Is image a factor in music or is it a waste of time?
Image is everything and to think otherwise is a total waste of time. Even a “non-image” is still an image. Just look at Nirvana or anything grunge, for that matter.
13. Any embarrassing moments on stage you would like to share?
How about the time I accidentally unplugged my guitar in-front of over 3,000 people at my biggest show ever in downtown Toronto? Nah…I’d rather not.
14. Any favorite tour locations?
15. Lastly, what is your present state of mind?
Open. Always open.