Norwich is a Fine City with a reputation for producing fine bands, and this year we can add …of Diamonds to the list of burgeoning talent coming out of this rural conurbation.
For the most part, …of Diamonds are three girls, Natalie (melodica), Vikki (bass) and Kimberly (guitar). Additionally, all the girls sing and play some synths and for live performances are joined by the infamous Boy on Drums while the collective brain power of electro noodlers Mark Neudorf and Paul Sankt (who have recently produced a remix of another Norwich group, Death of Death of Discotheque) provide additional muscle in the studio.
The alchemic wizardry of this disparate collective has already been compared to the likes of Kraftwerkand certainly there is more than just a smidgen of krautrock in the multifaceted “…of Diamonds Theme”. Lead single “Weirdo” (the video for which is below) is an entirely different matter. A heady mix of electro-pop, pre-Brit-pop indie guitars, three-part harmonies and even the theme song from an anime movie (the excellent My Neighbour Totoro if you were interested); “Weirdo” is as infectious as Ebola, but without any of the debilitating effects.
In fact, infectious is something that …of Diamonds do very very well indeed, with even the sub-one minute excerpt of demo track, “Frank Said” ingraining its way into our very being.
Being so new, there’s not much out there about …of Diamonds so we decided to take matters into our own hands and send some questions over for their manager, Mark Wernham to put to the girls on our behalf. The Freudian slips are his own.
How did you get together? Wasn’t there another version of the band before this one that was in the Future Radio Next Big Thing contest?
Kim: Before my time. Never heard of them. But seriously, that was a test wasn’t it?
Vikki: It was a little studio project and I don’t think anyone expected anything to come of it. Someone sent a demo off to that radio competition and it got through, so a line-up had to be put together quickly to play live. Two other girls quit after that, so we got some fresh meat in…
Kim: Vikki was clearly the best…
How long have you been performing together?
Nat: Three weeks?
Kim: Just under a year.
Vikki: Has it been that long?
Kim: In this very room.
Vikki: We’ve only just done our first gig, but we had to put a lot of work in to get to that.
Natalie: We’ve got some tweaks to do.
Who/what are your influences?
Kim: Frank Zappa.
Kim: My personal influences, KT Tunstall. but for this band? Kraftwerk.
Natalie: Paul and Mark like Kraftwerk.
Who are Paul and Mark?
Natalie: Paul Sankt and Mark Neudorf. Paul and Mark: it sounds like Bill and Bob the Flowerpot Men.
Vikki: It sounds nothing like that! What are you talking about?
Kim: And anyway, it’s Bill and Ben. Paul and Mark do the electronicky things to the songs and produce …of Diamonds while we eat chips and forget to tune our guitars.
How would you describe your sound?
Kim: Kraftwerk? They’ve got a ukelele, haven’t they? (Kim picks up a ukelele and starts playing The Model by Kraftwerk)
Vikki: We got compared to the Ting Tings but I don’t know about that.
Kim: We’re electro-pop!
Natalie: We’re not a heavy band. We’re glitzy and gritty.
Vikki: Guitars meet synthesisers with girlie harmonies and lose!
You have a Boy on Drums, is he interchangeable with other boys or do you just not like giving your pets names?
Kim: He’s pretty good. We’ll keep him. He is always Boy on Drums no matter what we do. I don’t know his name.
What’s a night out with …of Diamonds like?
Vikki: A night out? We’re always rehearsing!
Kim: Yeah, two songs in four hours.
Natalie: We went shopping.
Vikki: That’s not a night out!
Kim: That was fun. I did enjoy that.
Natalie: I want to see Kim drunk.
Vikki: You don’t want to see me drunk.
Natalie: I’ve seen you drunk. A night out with us might involve dancing.
Kim: If by ‘dancing’, you mean ‘moving in a hilarious way’ then yes. And with the occasional floor plant.
Natalie: Vikki will be on the table dancing before anyone else.
Vikki: Or on the bar. I don’t mind. I’m not very good at dancing. Natalie’s a let-down. Because she’s a dancer, you think she’s going to go for it, but…
Natalie: I don’t. When I’m out, I don’t. Unless I’ve had a bit to drink.
Vikki: And then you fall to the floor and get worried about the police.
Natalie: We’re NOT SUPPOSED TO MENTION THAT!
Kim: She’s not even old enough.
Kim: It just means we have to buy the drinks for her.
Vikki: A night out would involve a long time getting ready.
Kim: Fuck you! I’m going to be out before you.
Your sound isn’t really like anything else in Norwich at the moment. Was this by design or an organic process?
Kim: Pure accident.
Natlaie: I hate questions like this!
Vikki: Well, Paul and Mark had a vision of how they wanted it to sound, and then we…
Kim: …wrecked it all!
What other Norwich bands do you like or look up to?
Vikki: Death of Death of Discotheque. They’re awesome. We like them.
Kim: The Neutrinos. Although they played in the dark the only time I saw them. Maybe I’ll actually see them play next time. Technically we did a gig in the dark.
Vikki: Pout At The Devil. They played my birthday party. They’re an 80s joke band.
Kim: Power To The Devil?
Vikki: Pout, POUT! At The Devil.
Natalie: I wasn’t invited.
Vikki: I didn’t know you then!
Natalie: You invited my friend.
Vikki: Well I’m sorry.
Is there a masterplan for …of Diamonds, if so, how long have you pencilled in for world domination?
Kim: January 2012. We’re playing the Olympics.
Vikki: Are we?
Kim: Yeah. People are going to run around in circles while we’re playing.
Vikki: Isn’t the world supposed to end in 2012?
Natalie: December, 2012. We’ve got a year to get somewhere.
Where will we be able to see/hear you next? (Mark said ‘see stroke see you next’…)
Kim: Stroke us? You can’t touch, OK?
Vikki: I don’t mind. As long as it’s an appropriate place.
Kim: You can see us now.
Vikki: There are some more gigs in the pipeline.
Natalie: New songs on the way. They’ll go up on Soundcloud.
Kim: You [Mark] will be the first to know. Before us, probably.
Thanks to the girls for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to hearing what they have to offer next and will keep you posted about new tracks and upcoming shows (they hope to get a couple more in before the end of the year).
In the meantime you can download “Weirdo” here.