Los Angeles, Rock ‘n’ Soul band, THE DIAMOND LIGHT Talk – Meeting Their Idol Neil Young, Jack Kerouac and More.
Posted On 03 Dec 2014
Tag: All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Bob Marley, Brian Stanley, California, CHICAGO, Culver City, Facebook, Fever Dream, Griffin Young, Heathens, Ian Ochs, Jack Kerouac, John Chelew, Joseph Holiday, Kerouac, Krotona, Laurel Canyon, Leader of the pack, Mac Demarco, My Morning Jacket, Neil Young, New Hampshire, Nicole DeRosa, Niko Bolas, No Cry, No Woman, Pacifica Studios, Pantages Theatre, Queens Of The Stone Age, Seeds in the Street, The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Dharma Bums, The Diamond Light, The Dobly Theatre, The New Basement Tapes, The Satellite, The Shangri-las, The War On Drugs, Trevor Menear
Los Angeles based rock ‘n’ soul band The Diamond Light formed over long summers and weekly blues jams back in rural New Hampshire. Singer and guitarist Griffin Young began writing songs with drummer Ian Ochs almost ten years ago in Ian’s father’s band. Playing together in bars with their parents throughout high school, they eventually paired up with guitarist/vocalist Brian Stanley to form the final incarnation of The Diamond Light. In 2007, the band began to make their way West, with all of the members eventually landing in Southern California.
After two years of writing and playing around LA, they released an EP entitled Krotona in the summer of 2009. Named after the monastery-turned-apartment complex Griffin and Brian called home, the EP was produced by neighbor-turned-mentor John Chelew (The Blind Boys of Alabama) at Pacifica Studios in Culver City, CA. 2010 saw the release of the energetic, blues-rock driven EP Seeds in the Street, followed by extensive dates around Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest. Their electric live performances have been fueling a rapidly growing fan base.
In 2012, The Diamond Light teamed up with multi-instrumentalist/singer Trevor Menear and began writing material for a full length record. Returning producer Joseph Holiday (Seeds in the Street), and new friend/recording guru Niko Bolas (Neil Young, My Morning Jacket) helped transform their Laurel Canyon rehearsal space into a fully operational recording studio. The resulting 12 songs to emerge from 2 months of writing and documenting in seclusion will form The Diamond Light‘s debut, full-length record due in late September.
Hi Brian and Griffin! How are you? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Brian: Just waking up. Will most definitely be playing some music today.
How did your musical journey begin for those not cool enough to have heard of The Diamond Light already?
Griffin: Ian, our drummer, and I have known have each other since the age of 3 back in New Hampshire. We got into music when we were 12 and met Brian when we were all in high school. We immediately clicked and now it’s been 10 years of the three of us playing together!
Where are you guys all from and how did you all meet and know you wanted to start a band together?
Brian: I grew up outside Chicago but met the guys in New Hampshire in 2005 through a mutual friend. We jammed one day and I played a show with them that weekend. I guess technically they never actually asked me to be in the band…
Tell me about the song, “Fever Dream” I love it! The lyrics and guitars are amazing. How did that song come about?
Griffin: The song just came from a place of feeling very alone, but the importance of remembering that there is always someone who can relate with what you’re going through. Life can feel like a bad, fever dream sometimes.
What’s your songwriting process like? What comes first, the music or the lyrics?
Griffin: That just depends on the song. Sometimes Brian or I will come to rehearsal with some chords, or a verse and chorus that all three of us can jam on. Other times, a full song has been written on the spot as it comes to us. Those are the best ones!
After two years of writing and playing around LA, The Diamond Light released an EP entitled, Krotona in the summer of 2009. Named after the monastery-turned-apartment complex Griffin and Brian called home, the EP was produced by neighbor-turned-mentor John Chelew (The Blind Boys of Alabama) at Pacifica Studios in Culver City, CA. 2010 saw the release of the energetic, blues-rock driven EP Seeds in the Street. What’s the latest?
Griffin: Since ‘Krotona’ we’ve put out an EP, a 7inch, and full length album. We’ll be releasing the ‘Fever Dream / Heathens’ 7inch in January.
In 2012, The Diamond Light teamed up with multi-instrumentalist/singer Trevor Menear and began writing material for a full length record. Returning producer Joseph Holiday (Seeds in the Street), and new friend/recording guru Niko Bolas (Neil Young, My Morning Jacket) helped transform their Laurel Canyon rehearsal space into a fully operational recording studio. The resulting 12 songs to emerge from 2 months of writing and documenting in seclusion will form The Diamond Light’s debut, full-length record. Can you tell our readers more about the making of the new album? What was it like working with Niko?
Griffin: Making the full length record was most definitely the most relaxed. We set up in a big circle in the living room of the Laurel Canyon house we rehearsed in. We mic’d everything up and just performed the album live. It was an amazing experience being able to record these songs in the same house that they were born in. Also, if we weren’t feeling a take, or just needed a break, we’d step outside and be in beautiful Laurel Canyon. No time-crunch or pressure to finish. We got to make the record WE wanted.
I noticed you guys have a quote from the Jack Kerouac book, The Dharma Bums on your Facebook. Why is that? What is it about Kerouac that speaks to you?
Griffin: Well that’s where we got our name. Kerouac, and EVERY thing that was happening while he was alive speaks to us. It was a new era where spirituality was colliding with western artists. Imagine being able to scrape together just a little bit of money, hop a train, travel the country and document your inner and outer journey…
What was the first song you fell in love with growing up?
Brian: The Shangri-las “Leader of the Pack.”
Griffin: Bob Marley “No Woman, No Cry.”
Which musicians or bands are you currently listening to and inspired by?
Queens of the Stone Age, The War on Drugs, Mac Demarco, The New Basement Tapes, Neil Young (always)
What was one of your most memorable shows to date so far?
Griffin: Brian and I saw My Morning Jacket at the Pantages Theatre and we’ve never been the same since. It felt like we were in a giant space ship, and the band were the captains. Flying through the cosmos as their music steered us.
Brian: Seeing Neil Young at The Dolby Theatre last year was a highlight in my life. He played two acoustic sets with all the classics and amazing stories from the years. I was lucky enough to meet him after the show as well, man that guy is cool.
What’s on tap next for you guys? What are you most excited about for this year?
Griffin: Next we hope to continue writing a recording. We are more than excited to release the new 7inch in January and hopefully start taking our show up the coast a bit. We’ve got nothing but love for Los Angeles, but 2015 we will concentrate on infiltrating nearby cities with our music. No one is safe!
Listen + download music by THE DIAMOND LIGHT here .