One source I’ve looked to for new, lesser-known music since at least 2003 is New York City’s Other Music—a tiny record store just north of Houston off Broadway that staffs some of the most passionate, knowledgable music fans I’ve ever met.
In addition to having the brick-and-mortor and what is now a pretty deep Web store, Other also sends out regular emails rich with their highly curated best picks for new independent and world music.
I’ve discovered countless bands through those emails, the most recent of which was Melbourne, Australia’s Dick Diver, a four-piece that evokes the jangley, raw Brit Pop of the 60’s while filtering the sound through their own unique, contemporary lens.
We got a chance to speak with guitarist, Rupert Edwards, about the band’s stellar new album, Melbourne, Florida, their coming tour of the US, and the band’s unique sound. Stream the new album in full below and read on.
raven + crow: Alright, this is almost always our first question to bands…but it’s especially your first question—where does that band name come from?
Rupert Edwards: Dick Diver is the name of the main character from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s less famous novel Tender Is The Night, which is a title he took from a Keats poem and which was also used for the title of a crappy song on the Blur album 13. Lots of people have pointed out the parallels between the Fitzgerald’s Dick Diver and the character Don Draper in Mad Men. Umm, there are zero parallels between the character Dick Diver and us.
So, no cheeky double-entendre with the name then? I know. My mind’s ever in the gutter.
When I read the Fitzgerald book, I didn’t really register the absurdity of the name. But I sure did when the band took it.
And you’re from Melbourne, Australia, correct?
But then your new album—out this past March on Trouble in Mind—is confusingly called Melbourne, Florida. Are you all just trying to mess with our minds? What’s the story behind that album title?
It just seemed right! There’s no rational explanation, really, but messing with your/our minds probably has something to do with it.
Fair enough. You all have been a band for a while—2008, I think—but I first heard of you last month, when one of favorite records stores, NYC’s Other Music, reviewed the new record. Do you feel like you all have hit some sort of stride as a band or broken out to some new audiences? Or maybe I’m just late to the game here…..
Having a record out on Trouble In Mind has made a big difference and I think we were confident in making this record.
Did you go into writing the new album with anything in mind? Any…goals?
I think we wanted to try things we hadn’t attempted before, like getting horns in. I hoped that this record would be a bit more ‘complex’ in that it might take a while for someone to get it but who knows if that worked out.
Well, speaking as new fan, it’s great regardless of what came before. For our non-Aussie readers, though, can you tell us what “dolewave” is…and why it must be destroyed?
‘Dolewave’ was a word invented in 2012 or 2013 by someone on a message board as a joke. It was meant to describe or poke fun at a bunch of Australian bands who sung about ‘every day life’ rather than, I dunno, ‘feeling spiritual in a forest’. The joke was taken up by a few music journalists. It had to be destroyed because Real Bands want people to know that they feel misunderstood.
Consider it forgot by this writer. But how did your particular sound as a band develop? Or is that an inane question? I feel like you all are the closest contemporary band to reflect the jangly, chaotic pop bliss of Brit 60s band, The Action, but you’re not at all derivative or sounding like you’re trying to reinvent older sounds.
Don’t think it’s an inane question. I think it’s this unspoken thing where you play together more and you become aware of the things you might be able to pull off…so we’d try those things and and sometimes they’d work.
What’s the musical scene like in Melbourne (the Australian one)? I think my most recent exposure to Australian indie was the Aussie BBQ here in LA last year, where Glass Towers and Gossling and Jungle Giants and a bunch of other bands from Australia played before SXSW 2014. Beyond that, I feel pretty out-of-touch with any prevailing “sound”.
Don’t know much about those bands, but it’s very diverse in Melbourne. The idea of a prevailing sound I guess is dependent on how much any sound is given attention; that is, I’m not sure if there’s such a thing.
Yeah, I have no idea how big the scene is—seemingly much bigger than I’d previously thought. Do you all know of Love of Diagrams though? Another Melbourne band I fell in love with that I fell like I haven’t heard much from of late.
Yep, we’ve seen them play a bunch of times and I think played with them once or twice. They just put out a new record this year!
Look at that! I had no idea—thanks, man!
Is it tough as a small band to play state-side? I feel like so many non-US artists we talk to have many financial hurdles to overcome to play over here that you don’t have to deal with in other countries. Seems like a terrible shame.
Touring isn’t cheap. It’s the usual time and money thing and balancing that with work and stuff back home.
Totally. Are you all excited for your American shows tough?
For sure! We’d be stupid babies if we weren’t.
Took the words right from my mouth. We’re psyched to see you in LA, and Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn’s a great venue, but anywhere in particular you’re excited about playing or visiting over here?
Really looking forward to playing in Chicago where Trouble In Mind is based, and also going to North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia.
Did not see those last three coming—nice. Any plans for any particularly American recreation? Disneyworld? Hollywood sign? NASCAR?
Al Montfort from DD is a connoisseur of fucked up gas station snack foods so it’ll be fun to see that happening.
Look for Chick-O-Sticks nationwide and Twang Pickle in the south. Also, keep an eye out if you hit Pennsylvania for some especially fucked up chip flavors. Hey, non sequitur, but I love the new album’s artwork. What’s the design/art behind you all?
That’s a big mural/painting that Steph Hughes (who’s in DD) made. She’s done all the art and design for the band from the start.
Yeah, looking at her work, she does some great stuff. Awesome. Well, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us. Can’t wait to see you all in LA
I will do that.
Brooklyn, you can catch DD at Baby’s All Right on July 7; Los Angeles, we’ve got them at Jewels on West Pico ten days later on the 17th; everybody else, check their Facebook Tour page to see when they’re in your neck of the woods.