Diamond Sea are readying themselves for the release of their debut album Second Move, so we decided to catch up with the band to discuss using books for inspiration and rescuing amplifiers from dumps to fill a house. Firstly, how are you all doing? Pretty good thanks getting all excited about the album coming out. We played with The Kissaway Trail last week at Cargo in London, and we had loads of fun. The set went down well and it was nice to get away from Leeds for a night and see London in all its tight jean glory.   How did you come up with your name? Was it Sonic Youth inspired? Well it came from the fact that we got asked to do a gig before we had a name. It was just “Ben’s Band” before, or the “Quip” band, which is the name of my solo stuff, cos we all play in lots of bands. Nathan at the Brudenell Social Club asked us to fill in a spare night when Chrome Hoof couldn’t play, so I had to come up for a name fast. I like the Sonic Youth song ‘Washing Machine‘, I used to listen to it over and over like an idiot, especially for the wigged out middle section, and it was an obsession of mine. I come from Lancaster, which is near the sea, and my songs tend to have an obsession with the sea, and it seemed to fit the music we do. Little did I know that there are 3 other “The Diamond Sea’s”, but you only live once eh?   When did the three of you initially decide to create music together and how did the band come about? Well I write quite a bit of music, some completely electronic, some more guitar based. And I didn’t have a proper outlet for the more acoustic/rock stuff. So I made a band. Originally my house-mate Ed was on bass before we were “The Diamond Sea” proper. There are many stories about Ed. He is such a character. We played a few gigs together and there was always a massive crowd round Ed just watching him, he was a force of nature. At one place he ripped the decor down from the ceiling with his heavy metal bass. But then he left Leeds to go back down South, so I asked Lee to join as we had been in a band before with Matt, and he plays a lot with Matt in the Blanche Hudson Weekend and in Matt’s band Ailsa Craig. Me and Matt have made music before together, I play on his stuff occasionally, and we share similar tastes, he likes a lot of new bass music and good rock, stuff that I hadn’t really been exposed to as much, he has played in a lot of bands I like, like Hood for example. Lee is the improv/music theory guy, he knows everything. Originally all the songs were written by me, but now all three of us write together, we are getting it down to an art form, like one song every two weeks or something. That is when you know your with the right people. I like to think that in some way we will always make music together, we really enjoy playing together and I hope it stays that way.   You say literature, 21st century life and travel influences you, but what elements of these are your inspiration? Well the literature is obviously books I read. I’m a bit of a nerd and read lots of books about nuclear power, secret bunkers, history and stuff. Real downer stuff, but I find solace in it, its comforting to know just how messed up things have got. I was reading ‘The Road‘, and that gave me some of the lyrics for ‘The First One‘, especially the burning trees bit. Some books indirectly influence me, and that is more of a feeling thing. I get sucked into books and end up wearing them, thinking what the writer thinks, or imagining what the characters would do. I’m very easily influenced by outside things. I just finished a book about the psychology of the moon astronauts, called ‘Moon Dust’ an absolutely astounding book.  The moon landings were such a misnomer, they had no real purpose other than a great spectacle, yet the astronauts accounts are so moving, and their personalities and thoughts about the whole thing so different to one another. As a band we talk books and films all the time, its a like a language isn’t it? 21st Century life - that’s everything isn’t it? I mean you go out the door and its there. It’s in the traffic jam on the way to work. So ‘Turn It Round’ is about the economic crisis, rubbish jobs and the idea of people as redundant assets.  I have a repetitive mental image of a people pile, the fact that we just have loads of people doing nothing, like a people mountain. We had the industrial revolution, we have had the consumer revolution, the information revolution is kind of making people expendable, combined with the economic downturn, there is masses of unemployment and people left on the rubbish heap. It’s like the 80s all over again, but ten times worse. I’m such fun at a party!   I have travelled a bit, both as a musician and tourist. I enjoy seeking out new places, seeing what people are up to. The most interesting places I have been to are places of extremes, Finland, Morocco and the former East Germany. I like Italy too. It’s so messed up there. On the one hand you have pretty much a fascist state, run by a megalomaniac media mogul, on the other hand there are a hundred squats in Rome and across Italy, doing lots of good art and music and community stuff. I went to one squat there and it was like a scene from Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome, people on huge mutant motocross bikes, flame-throwers on the stage, with a jungle theme tune. It was totally awe inspiring. I like to find stuff other people haven’t seen, and I try and write about it in my own way. Photobucket   Second Move is your debut album, what are your current feelings in the approach up to its release? Well good really. I mean I love working on music, we love playing gigs and recording. We are about to record our second album now, just as the first one is out, which is a bit weird, but it makes sense to us. We love being in the studio, me and Matt are sound engineers so we love recording and poking microphones up to amps. The first album is quite mellow, so I like to think people will find the live shows a bit more up beat, we rock live! The album is really a moment in time, recorded over a summer. Someone said an album is like a diary, and this one is. I had space to record my thoughts and feelings at the time. The guitars and vocals were done in my mate Paul’s front room, so it has that intimate feel. We would setup and then wait until we were ready, not like working in a studio at all. He is a wicked cook too, so we were always well fed.   Did the song titles come easily? Or are they a long thought process? Some came really easily. Some were argued about. ‘What Shores’ is a pun, Paul came up with, as in “What shores? Mine’s a pint!”, so I had to use that. I have written a lot of stuff so my mind finds titles easily. And none of them are that complex really. Maybe I should spend more time on them? I don’t think so.   Why did you choose Mark Demidio to do the album's cover? Well I lived with Mark for a bit. He has something going on which is hard to define. He just keeps going at something until its perfect. Its a process. I can relate to that, as the album was similar, we just kept going until it was ready. You know when its ready. His work is just jaw dropping, you look at graphic designers and they are ten a penny, and then you look at stuff Mark does, and you aren’t looking at the design, you just have a good feeling, you don’t even think about the design, it just looks great. It was an easy choice. I gave him a few images to start with, and he dropped everything but the image that Liz provided for the cover. And he made it work so well. He will go very far indeed that lad.   At last count, how many amplifiers have you rescued from the dump? Well a house full. A mutual friend, who shall remain nameless saves them from the tip and brings them to another friend, who fixes them up. Some of them are so new its unreal. We used a fender bass amp that obviously hadn’t even been used. It’s a great amp, that someone had just thrown away, absolutely shocking really. When I was a kid I would look at amps and think “If I had that I could make so much noise!”. Now people throw them out as rubbish. Was nice to do something with them though.   You mentioned having people lined up to do remixes of the songs in Second Move, who have you chosen? I asked Kelpe, Point B and a few other people I know. It will be interesting to hear what they do with them. I like electronic music, and have done remixes for other bands, so would love to hear someone doing stuff with our music. In fact that reminds me I should send them off.   When playing live, what is your favourite aspect of a gig? Well as I mentioned we like to travel. So the travelling part is cool. Both me and Matt drive, Lee is in charge of food and music, we pile in the transit van, put some CDs on and enjoy the journey.  The three piece is the perfect Transit van band, three seats in the front, your gear safe in the back, why would you want six people in a band? You’d have to drive a people carrier (no thanks), or a split van, which is just anti-social. I heard that transit vans are used in more bank robberies than any other vehicle, and I can see why. Armed robbers know a good escape vehicle when they see one.   I really like playing too, and that is one of the important things for us, why I started a band, to have fun with other people. We make sure the gig is fun for us, so we have bits that are improvised, and the songs are fun to play. We try out new songs in the set, and I like to try out new lyrics and stuff. Playing live is the best way to test out songs, its weird but you can feel the response to a song that is not quite finished. The audience know when a song is complete and good. Better than us most of the time.   I love the feeling of pulling a good gig off, and people chatting to you after, giving you some confidence with what you do. We are not a massively rock’n’roll band, we like a party but I’m not really an after party person.  We are a bit past that stage really, which is quite nice, although we have a gig in London in two weeks and I am gonna party after that... but it will be a bit of booze and toast. I did a gig with another band I am in the other day, and we all went back and had wicked marmalade and toast.   Cocaine is such a losers drug, I don’t want to snort something cut with 80% salt that some kid has had his right hand cut off for, in fact what drugs are any good? Ketamine? I don’t think so. You reach a certain age and you just think “Waste of time, I’ll feel crap on Wednesday.” If someone came up with a good, social drug, that filled you with confidence, made you think a bit, have a laugh and chat, with no hangover or health repercussions, how rich would you be?   Lastly, what does the rest of 2010 have in store for you? Well we should be doing some gigs to celebrate the release of the album, it feels like ages ago that we were recording it, then we are going into the studio to do album number two. That will be a lot of fun, we are doing it with Ross at Ghost Town in Leeds. He is just a brilliant guy. We met and we had a lot in common, he has a lot of ideas on sounds and recording, we like the same engineers, and his studio is beautiful. Hopefully we should be done by Christmas, which I plan to use to write some more music, maybe do a solo EP for someone I have been promising for years. 2010 has gone really quickly actually, but we have had a lot of fun. Being in a good band is an amazing feeling, I can’t recommend it enough.   You can visit the band by heading to http://www.thediamondsea.co.uk/