Cape Town – Sitting down to chat with Cape Town band Diamond Thug is like chilling with your friends at a braai where discussions can range from the most random things like your mom’s chicken soup to more serious things like the meaning of life – it all depends of course on how much you’ve had to drink.
In this case though, only coffee was consumed with the band members - Chantel Van T (Vocals + Keys), Danilo Queiros (Bass + Production), Adrian Culhane (Guitar/Backing Vocals + Production) and Ted Buxton (Drums) – and it still managed to produce a good dose of randomness.
First question of course: "Where does the name come from guys?"
"It was a long naming process," says Danilo. "But then all of a sudden, someone suggested it, and we were like, ‘yeah whatever’," Chantal laughingly chips in. "I have a little diamond tattoo on my foot," adds Danilo.
"So it’s got absolutely nothing to do with living a thug life?" I ask.
The band breaks out in laughter. "We very much don’t live the thug life," says Danilo. "Chantal is a vegan, me and Adrian are pretty much sugar free, and I don’t think Ted even knows where thugs live," Danilo laughs.
On their EP launch:
In anticipation of launching their new EP, Monday Will Have To Wait, on Friday in Cape Town, the band has been working very hard at creating a buzz around the event. "We’ve been doing a lot of interviews about the EP and live shows lately to prepare for the launch," says Danilo.
"What can people expect from your performance?" I ask.
"We are a band that really pride ourselves in our live performances, more than our recordings," says Danilo. "People can expect a lot of excitement from us, if anything! Whether it’s a good or bad performance," says Chantal.
Danilo explains that the way they've set it up is that there will be a little listening station where people can listen to the EP and buy it if they want to. There will be sets with breaks in between and it won't be like a party, but more like a function or an art exhibition.
On their music:
"Can you describe your album sound in one sentence?" I ask.
"I think the name of the EP is like our sentence for it, Monday Will Have To Wait," says Chantal.
"It’s like the Sunday evening you don’t want Monday to come," says Danilo. "It’s sort of where we are in our lives, as young adults who have to start doing this as a career, and like sort of Monday is a thing we don’t want to do. It’s also just like about that emotional turbulence of a Sunday evening. Where you’re happy you had such a great weekend..."
I chip in: "But then Carte Blanche comes on!"
"Yes!" everyone exclaims.
The conversation then goes a bit off course as the band chats about their songs and metaphors and then all of us struggle to find a word that describes something, but we can’t, for the life of us, remember what that word is and then it comes out that all of them are banding permanently. Yes, we coined a new term while chatting. Banding: to be in a band full time and not have a day job.(Photo: Kealan Shilling)
On their trip to the US:
Two of the songs on the band’s EP were recorded in the US at Converse Rubber Tracks studio in Boston. Diamond Thug won the recording as part of a worldwide competition where the criteria was that you had to be an unsigned band and an active band for a certain amount of time. Out of 9000 entrants, only 84 bands got chosen.
"We got flown to Boston, put up in a hotel and given 2 days in studio," says Danilo.
"What’s the one thing you took away from the experience?" I ask.
"For me, what stood out was working with people who had careers in music, and make money from music, and have built their lives around music, and for them to sort of validate what you’re doing and to give you a feeling that you’re actually not that far off of being able to make this work," says Danilo.
On other random stuff:
"What do you want people to do while listening to your album?" I ask.
"I’m a big fan of dancing around the house," says Chantal. "I’d say nothing serious, do whatever you want, like cook, or drive," adds Ted. "Just listen to the album," says Adrian.
"Do you guys have any rituals before you go on stage?"
"I’ve been trying to implement the group hug!" Chantal says laughingly.
Then we popped these quick questions to each band member to get to know them a bit better:
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Ted: When I wake up I put my ipod on and listen to a good band and clean up a bit... or I’ll make something like pancakes or waffles.
Danilo: I run the social media accounts for the band, so I’ve developed quite an addiction to social media. So as my alarm goes off I grab my phone. It’s such a problem, my girlfriend hates me for it!
Chantal: Ja, I’m a little bit more casual than that. Recently, I’ve just been writing down dreams, I have this thing with my brother where we’re trying to map our dreams. So I write it down immediately before I forget them. I also make my bed as soon as I can otherwise I just want to get back in. If you make your bed you’re not allowed to get back in.
Adrian: I wake up every morning and make sure to read our noticeboard.
And what’s the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Danilo: Also check my social media!
Ted: I just watch a lot of live music concerts, and Playstation.
Chantal: I read, or listen to music I think, I actually listen to music in the morning as well, it’s a good way to fix the day.
Adrian: I don’t have an evening ritual, I’m spontaneous like that.
What is you perfect date night?
Danilo: Probably like a good restaurant with good food.
Ted: Mine is in winter under a blanket with some hot chocolate.
Adrian: I think music would have to be important, but it can’t be too loud, because conversation, you know.
Chantal: If I am being taken on a date, I like surprises, I think. Whether it’s doing activities, or whatever, I think as long as I don’t know what’s going on, that’s fine.
Do you have a secret flu remedy?
Chantal: Honey and lemon, honey and lemon.
Danilo: I put a ACC and a Corenza C in a glass and I have about 4 of those in a day and I’m done. Then I’m fine the next day.
Adrian: Airmune. Haha! you heard of Airmune?
Ted: If I’m lucky enough I’ll have my mom’s leftover chicken soup.
Wow, that was super-fun! (Thanks for one of the most fun and random conversations I've had in a long time guys!)
Make sure to catch Diamond Thug live as they launch their new EP on Friday in Cape Town.
Date: Friday, 4 March 2016
Venue: The Loft at Truth Coffee Shop, 36 Buitenkant St, Cape Town
Time: 20:00 for 20:30
Tickets: R50 presold (click here)
Line-up: Diamond Thug, Amy Ayanda, Eden Myrrh