Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ DIIV

While at TIME Festival 2015, AMBY met up with indie-rock group DIIV backstage after their performance! Before the release of their forthcoming record Is the Is Are, diiv into our exclusive interview below as we discuss having 300 songs written for the album, bands they love, internet culture, and handpicking support bands.

AMBY: You all just played TIME Festival here in Toronto! How are you enjoying your time in our lovely city and what are your thoughts on the festival and crowd today?

DIIV: The reaction was great! The crowd was amazing. We love Toronto every single time we come. It’s the New York of Canada.

AMBY: Very true.

DIIV: Toronto kicks ass. I enjoy it every time. The crowd is also very brave, it’s very hot out there.

AMBY: You played some new songs, which I am guessing are off of your forthcoming record Is the Is Are, so just tell us a little bit about this record because there is not so much out there as of now.

DIIV: It exists. It’s done. I promise! It’s a long record, there’s a lot of songs… seventeen or eighteen songs. More vocal driven and less ambient than the first record.

AMBY: I read that you actually created over three hundred tracks for this album. When it came to narrowing it down to the seventeen or eighteen that are on it, how did you do that? Going from three hundred to eighteen is pretty tedious.

DIIV: I played them for a lot of people and kind of narrowed it down to maybe like sixty or something. Then I brought them to Los Angeles with the boys and Colin and Bailey helped me sort through the tracks and we combined some. I’d take two ideas, and they’re not like three hundred full songs, but more like three hundred…

AMBY: Snip-its.

DIIV: Yea, snip-its. My writing process, I don’t know how else to describe it as trial and error, I just play a bass line, a guitar part, and another guitar part. If it’s a song, that’s awesome; but, if it kind of sounds like a song but it’s something in between… it’s not good, basically. I had a lot of those.

AMBY: Three hundred not-so-good, hoping-to-turn-into-good songs.

DIIV: Yea, there were like two hundred and fifty bad songs, fifty good songs, and we combined those fifty to make…

AMBY: Eighteen pretty good songs!

DIIV: Eighteen okay songs.

AMBY and DIIV: [laughs]

AMBY: I’m figuring you played a couple of festivals in between actually writing to now. So were any of the songs road tested or did you vibe off of stuff?

DIIV: Only two songs were road tested. That’s what was kind of weird and cool about this record, the first time we played almost all of the songs was the day after we left the studio after recording them all. So we just got to see what the crowd thought of them, even though they were already done. That was after tracking. The only songs that got road tested were the songs Dust and Loose Ends which we’ve been playing around for like a year.

AMBY: Nice. Being that we’re at TIME Festival and I mentioned you had played quite a few festivals before this, if you could curate your own, who would you want to be part of that?

DIIV: Honestly, we played this festival called Austin Psych Fest last year, Levitation Fest, and it was my dream festival! Jesus and Mary Chain, Spiritualized, us. Tame Impala, Primal Scream. It was perfect, so I don’t think it could get much better than that. Primavera was kind of the same thing, so many of my favourite bands.

AMBY: Anyone else you’d like on it?

DIIV: Yea, some hip-hop. Some Joey Badass would be nice. Yea, I’d like to meet that cat.

AMBY: You’re soon going to embark on a North American tour with No Joy. At NXNE, one of our bigger festivals here we actually sat down with them and they are hilarious, so I’m sure it will be a fun tour.

DIIV: Yea, it will be fun. We’re also taking this super young band of like eighteen year-old kids out called Sunflower Bean. It’s kind of a weird story, but before Bailey joined the band… Actually, Bailey’s been in the band since, I’d say, day two.

AMBY and DIIV: [laughs]

DIIV: Because day one we practiced once with this kid Daniel, who’s here from Moon King, which is a Toronto band. Daniel was the drummer, I was the singer, Devin was the bass player, and the guitar player was this fifteen year-old kid named Cal. So, when he came to my house to learn the songs he brought his friend who was this kid Nick, who’s in this band Sunflower Bean. It’s kind of weird that I brought this fifteen year-old kid to my house, his Dad dropped him off and he was like “What the fuck is going on here?”. This kid just came up to me at a Beach Fossils show… I don’t even know why! I think he wanted to buy a t-shirt or something and Devin was like “Hey, Cole is starting a band, you should play in it!”. I look at the kid and I was like, “Psstttt, yea! Come over!”, and he did and he brought Nick which is kind of funny. So, I’ve known Nick I guess now for three or four years since being in the band. But he started his own band Sunflower Bean who are coming out with us. No Joy are old friends and I’m a huge an of their new record, it is so fucking good. It should be a good tour.

AMBY: Were both of those bands handpicked by you then to come along?

DIIV: Yea, I picked them because you have to find a band that’s the right size. You can’t just pick your favourite band because they got to say yes to going on tour with you, but they definitely are the two bands that I’ve been listening to a lot that are also really good live. No Joy are so good live. Sunflower Bean are insane live.

AMBY: We’ll definitely have to check them out. When it comes to actually touring as a band together, what are some things you like to do either to keep your boredom at bay when on the road? I know you mentioned the crosswords earlier.

DIIV: Talking about memes.

AMBY and DIIV: [laughs]

DIIV: We just talk about memes pretty much all of the time. Memeing. Just internet culture. Changing the lyrics of popular songs to include references to memes.

AMBY: What are some of your favourite things floating out there right now?

DIIV: Well, meme culture really just changes so fast. There’s UMO, that’s a good answer. By the time this goes up we’re going to look like idiots, so…

AMBY: That was so three weeks ago!

AMBY and DIIV: [laughs]

DIIV: We’re kind of into cooking though.

AMBY: Oh, alright. Well to wrap everything up today guys, what would you say is the best part of being in DIIV with one another?

DIIV: Getting to travel… also the worst part.

AMBY and DIIV: [laughs]


Thank you DIIV, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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