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If you live in London, pick up the new issue of (This is Fake) DIY. You’ll not pay a cent (or, pent) to read my name physically printed in a high circulating magazine. 
An Interview with DIIV (Part I)

DIIV (they used to be called Dive) is a Brooklyn based act, led by Zachary Cole Smith (a touring member of Beach Fossils). Devin Ruben Perez, Andrew Bailey, and Colby Hewitt make up the rest of the group. DIIV’s sound is atmospheric. It goes without saying, DIIV is a far cry from the breezy, summer tinged pop of Smith’s more prominent day job, Beach Fossils.

Debut single “Sometime” summates the aesthetic of DIIV. The song is drenched in reverb. Whilst a washed out, ringing guitar create a hazy, dense atmosphere. Despite the recollection of melancholia, the melodic power creates endearing and eloquent. Subsequently, it stuttered it’s reverb-drenched mien onto the pages of Pitchfork, where it received the flattering tag of Best New Track. 

Since that debut release in October 2011, just a few more samples of DIIV’s music has been released. But the promise and consistency of each track has seen excitement build. Their first EP is slated for an early March release on cult label, Captured Tracks. I spoke to Z. Cole Smith about his latest project.


According to your page on Captured Tracks, you holed up in a studio without running water, nor air conditioning, and you faced a window and crafted music. Why write in such a barren way? 

Ha, the decision to write that way wasn’t so much an artistic decision as a financial necessity.  Renting actual apartments in NYC is so crazy expensive that some of the more resourceful types find places to live that are slightly cheaper; storage units, abandoned warehouse spaces, and in my case, an art studio.  You get used to not having a shower or a kitchen after a few weeks and find ways around day-to-day stuff like that.  But in a lot of ways it helped me focus on music in a way that would be impossible any other way.  Zero distractions, fewer financial woes, etc.  It really was an immersive experience.   

It makes sense for the industrial, echoed sounds of Dive to have that kind of beginning. Was there much stylistic variation in the results of those recordings, or was Dive a natural product of your conditions and frame of mind? 

Dive’s genesis really was as a sound first and foremost.  There has been tons of stylistic variation in my personal home-recordings, but the recordings that eventually became Dive were just a lot of ideas filtered through a certain sonic palette that occurred pretty naturally, partly due to my environment, yeah. 

Both DIIV and Beach Fossil’s lyrics have evidently personal meanings. But for DIIV, it seems almost like a mantra. The lyrics for “Sometime” sound like a stream of consciousness version of that. What’s the lyrical background and inspiration for DIIV, and how do you usually write? 

Yeah, that’s well said.  There is something Mantra-like about both the lyrics and the music of Sometime, how the song starts and then basically repeats itself twice verbatim; same exact music, same exact lyrics.  That was the intention with that song and it is the intention with one or two other DIIV songs, “Big Joke” is a song that’s out that shares that concept.  What DIIV lyrics I have now and are working on for this record are deeply personal and very existential and I’ve taken comfort, with the first few releases, in the fact that they are pretty obscured by reverb/delay, etc. but I think hiding the personal elements of who is making this music really deprives it of something that’s a very important part of the listening experience. 

How would you describe the EP? Musically or otherwise. 

Well, I’ve since scrapped the idea for an EP and am finishing up a full-length record in the next month or so.  But it’s not recorded yet so I can’t comment on how it sounds, but I guess I can say the album’s intention is to be a careful hybrid of our kind of manic live sound and the very deliberate, much darker sound of my home-recordings thus-far. 

The name is much like other shoegaze bands: One word (Adorable, Curve, Ride, Slowdive, and countless more). How did you come up with the (fitting) pseudonym and what does it mean to you? 

Yeah, those names were definitely an influence.  I definitely wanted a short name, a four-letter word.  The name “Dive” comes from the Nirvana song of the same name, but I actually got it from the pages of Kurt’s journal, I just loved the way the word looked in his handwriting.  In some ways I feel like Kurt’s song is about this band.  Devin explained it to me on an acid trip.  We are all water signs and there’s a strong water element to the band as well. 

Andrew Bailey was a childhood friend whilst Colby Hewitt was once in Smith Westerns. How did they become members of Dive? 

I guess just through happenstance, I don’t really know.  

For most acts, having a physical release should see a Google search inundated with band information. Yet DIIV’s internet presence is relatively scarce. Do you think this could alter your attempt at gaining attraction? 

I kind of love having a band name that’s impossible to search for on Google; I remember when Girls came out and I thought that was so cool, you know? To not be so desperate for everybody to just be able to find you right away, they gotta look. 

Apart from your EP, what up with 2012 for you dudes? 

Dreams come true.

I asked Palmistry Some Questions

And he answered them…

I wrote about Palmistry’s debut song, and its wonderful and dense video, for This is Fake DIY. I fell in love with the inundation of atmosphere in the track. Needless to say, his aesthetic and musical prowess has teed up excitement. His woozy, late-night electronics inspire a yearning for late night walks. And the soulful yearnings of past love are so well delivered, it almost makes heartbreak beautiful.

So to help me flesh out my blog, I asked him some boringly stock questions. So it transpires, he was once an online poker play. I should have asked him if he’d ever played against Shane Warne or Teddy Sheringham. But Instead, I quizzed him about music and ambitions. Boring, right?

"Night Truths" is very dense and atmospheric. The accompanying video just enhances this. Is atmosphere an important element for you in music?
Definitely. I spent a few years trying to create “soundscapes” with field recordings and I was just into making ambient and drone inspired pieces. 

What are your main musical influences?
In the last year I’ve been listening to a lot classic old school UK Garage mixes and classic grime like Ruff Sqwad. But the likes of The Dream / Terius Nash, Arvo Paart are a staple of my listening.

I’m still really drawn to sampling field recordings. 

How do you think London, both in its electronic music and its lifestyle, has altered Palmistry?
London’s fast pace has definitely fuelled a desire to retreat into isolation and record music. But [London] has also inspired the Palmistry project, just by the diversity of culture and mix of interesting people living here. 

London has been a great place for pushing new threads of electronic music. Sick labels like Hyperdub and Nightslugs are putting out a lot of my favourite records. 

What’s your live set up like? Or, how do you hope to assemble a live show?
At the moment it’s not much of a setup. I just focus on vocal performances and fx with a laptop but eventually I want it to be a genuine live performance with maybe one other person on an MPC. Then I’d just do vocals and some other minimal shit on a sampler.

I wouldn’t want to turn it into a standard band thing – that would be really boring for me. But yeah, theres quite a few things that need to be explored to really turn it into a genuine live experience.

What do you hope to accomplish through your music?
On a personal level I just want to make something I would be really proud of, like make a minor masterpiece one day and if people dig it then that would be cool. In the bigger picture, If I was able to fully focus all my time on just making music, that’d be bless.

There’s little information about Palmistry on the internet. Although this might flatter your ethereal music, is there anything people should know, that they perhaps don’t?
Nothing that exciting, but before I was spending my life making music with a computer I used to put in the same amount of hours playing online poker. Sleeping all day to compensate for the American time zones for tournaments, winning and losing equal amounts of money.

One night I saw a friend lose 10 grand. He’d built it up over a few years [and lost it] in one night. Thats when I took my foot off the gas and ended my dreams of being the next crackpot pokerkid of the world – like Matt Damon in that movie Rounders.

What are your plans for the remainder of 2012? 
Hopefully I’ll release an EP. That’s nearly finished and good to go. And I also wanna drop a mixtape later in the year called ‘Chung & Dangerous’. 

Thanks for the interest Kyle.

Palmistry, like the rest of middle class western civilisation, has a Facebook page.

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