An Interview With San Francisco Based Indie-Electronic Band, NEW DIPLOMAT!
Posted On 23 Sep 2016
New Diplomat just finished working with producer Jeff Saltzman who produced The Killers, FischerSpooner and Blondie (among others) for their new EP.
The first single, “Stay Up” is a catchy and energetic tune about being young, going out a lot, falling in and out of love…a dance-rock version of a quintessential youth anthem.
This song’s crunchy guitars, undeniably funky bassline, clear vocals and soaring synthesizer riffs are pop/rock at its finest, and you might catch yourself still singing it days after listening to it. Sample lyric: “Oh I’ve been wasting my whole life/Chasing the next night/I wanted to be all right.”
These electronic rockers are in the vein of The Killers, Duran Duran, 1975 and bands of that ilk… The guys are based in San Francisco and have been building since 2010.
Learn more about New Diplomat in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are more than half-way through 2016, what are some words you would use to describe it? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for the band?
Well, I would say 2016 it’s been intense and challenging for the whole world (and that’s an understatement). As far as New Diplomat , starting half way through 2015 things have really begun to gel, from becoming a three piece to find the sound , the direction and the songs. Everything in the band now feels organic, automatic.. I don’t want to say ” easier” cause there is a lot of work involved regardless but, we have never been so productive and having so much fun doing it. If you could see one of our band practices you’d be wondering sometimes where the songs come from, considering the amount of time we spend talking about soccer and all that. But it works for us!
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? And specifically, how did New Diplomat come to be? Where did the name come from too?
Oh absolutely! If I remember correctly, my earliest music related memory was a rerun of some old Elvis movie. I think i was about 7 or 8 ( i was already playing guitar by then) and i turn the tv on and see this guy with dark hair like mine ( i thought we looked identical, by the way….) , playing guitar and being surrounded by all these ladies.. I went like” yup, that’s it, i got it all figured it out, that’s what i am going to do! Our singer, Horacio, used to ” steal” records from his parents , lock himself in his room and rock out to Stones and Beatles , grabbing any object and pretending it was a microphone . I am sure there was a lot of looking at himself in the mirror involved …but he won’t admit it.. Jacob ( our drummer and programmer wiz) went through every single instrument ever invented before finally falling in love with drums. I hear legends about him playing a tuba, an English horn and a harp, all at the same time..
New Diplomat started as members of different bands in the Bay Area decided that they really wanted to be in the same band. The idea for the name was suggested by a friend who mentioned the novel “Ambassadors” by Henry James. The book it’s about an American in Europe, and us being a bunch of Euros ( back then, at least) in the US, reminded our friend of it. But the we realized there are quite a few bands named Ambassadors/something so we looked for something related..
Very shortly, you will be releasing an EP that you worked with producer Jeff Saltzman (The Killers, Blondie) on. What was it like working with him?
It was great! Jeff is on this mission to capture THE performance. He doesn’t stress too much on the technical aspect of things, it was all about the feeling of it and that certain something. Plus, he’s a hook genius. He recognizes the hookiest elements of a song and puts the spotlight on them.
In August, you will release the single, “Stay Up.” What can you tell us about the making on that song? Where do you get the inspiration for your music?
The song started when Horacio was playing a synth at practice one day. He kept playing that intro riff, making crazy sounds, we were almost joking , actually. But then it started to feel pretty darn good, so i added the verses with the slightly 80’s guitar parts …and so on.. The song came together sort of quickly, the arrangements and the sounds , that took a bit longer. Mmmmm, hard to say. I mean, we are very curious , we listen to all kinds of stuff. Sometimes a sound can trigger an idea, sometimes a melody keeps playing in your head…
Do you plan to tour pretty heavily once the EP comes out? Speaking of touring, can you recall a favorite show that you’ve had lately? What do you think made it so awesome?
Oh definitely. We’ll be playing a lot of shows. As far as touring , the most likely scenario is to do separate legs instead of an all at once type of thing. Something like California- Arizona- New Mexico – Texas , then coming back to SF and take a minute and then doing the Northwest… and so on.
Speaking of touring, can you recall a favorite show that you’ve had lately? What do you think made it so awesome?
Well, recently we played Popscene , which is a very well-known event in San Francisco. It was our first official show as a three piece, it was sold out and people absolutely loved it. Everybody was dancing and jumping up and down. Also on the bill there was the band The Big Pink ( UK). We played with them three years ago and it was awesome to see them again and hang out, great people for sure!
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire New Diplomat? Who would you love to work with in the future?
It depends, there are weeks where collectively as a band we listen to certain artists or style. As of recent, lots of Grimes, Chvrches, Tame Impala, Phantogram. Then there is another Strokes phase and then we go back and listen to the Beatles.. It’s all over the place. I guess we have been talking about working with some electronic music people and see what would come out of that… although, often we say something and then do the opposite..
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
We do hope they ultimately think those are great songs. You know what i mean? I would like people to think that a certain melody or part or lyric is very special and unique and tells a story they can relate to or make their own . We take a certain amount of pride on the fact that you can grab an acoustic guitar and play our songs and they still make sense and they are still enjoyable. We don’t hide behind sounds and effects, we use them to enhance things not to replace songwriting ( which it is something i am afraid that happens more and more in modern music).
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Yes, I’d like to say one more thing.. So far we have been rather careful in putting new music out , well that’s gonna change. I give you an example… The Saltzman produced EP comes out on August 19th , right? I tell you what, we already have the record after that one almost ready. So be prepared to listen and love our upcoming EP but, save some love cause there is going to be another one released soon after that. Alright, thank you guys, I am out of here.