At first glance, one could try and dream up the sounds of Diamond Rings— a name derived by one man show John O’Regan, explaining the dichotomy of his “multi-faceted and tough” yet thoroughly “glitz and glam” range. Yes, there is Diamond Rings’ certain showmanship quality, reminiscent of a sexy hipster Hedwig, but more importantly, the Toronto-based performer’s music is emotionally charged and mixed with the zip zap of dance activating synapse.
Diamond Rings is a the perfect blend of syrupy vocals, computer generated beats, rainbow colored sneakers and grunge guitar– sparking a visual in the brain of Kurt Cobain dressed up and writhing around in place of Madonna’s classic wedding dress moment.
You’ve got two chances to catch Diamond Rings in the next week, Monday at Mercury Lounge and this Saturday at Glasslands- a show we have a pair of tickets to giveaway to one of our lovely readers. Just click on through to check out the interview with O’Regan after the jump and let us know which Dimond Rings video is your favorite for a chance to win!
Where does the name Diamond Rings come from? And did you eventually realize that it makes things difficult for the average Google user to find you?
The name works on a few levels. Diamonds are ostentatious representations of all things glitz and glam. However, they’re also multi-faceted and tough. Only diamonds can cut other diamonds, you know? At first glance my owen aesthetic has that shiny veneer but if you dig a bit deeper there’s also a real hard edge. As for Google, last I checked I owned the top two spots, so I don’t really think it’s much of a problem anymore.
A lot of artists can’t remember a time without music– can you remember the first song that had a special affect on you?
Yes. Probably “Jungleland” by Bruce Springsteen. My Dad had the album Born To Run on vinyl and I used to copy out the lyrics and draw pictures to go along with them when I was like 5 or 6 years old.
When was the moment you decided to pursue music professionally?
When I got fired from my last dishwashing job for skipping work to shoot a music video.
Who/what are some of your major musical influences? And what inspires you on a day-to-day level?
Musically I’d say Kraftwerk, Kylie, and Kriss Kross. On a day to day level I’m inspired by anyone who follows their heart and their passions in life without caring about what anyone else thinks of them.
There’s something in your songs that tugs at emotion, even when the songs are enthralled with a dance beat– where do you think that feeling comes from? Is it something you specifically try to achieve with your music?
Totally. I want to connect with people as a songwriter. It’s about digging deep within yourself and trying to tap into emotions that are tangible, real, and transcendent. When it works it’s the best feeling in the world.
Who is “Something Else” about?
Good try, but I’d never tell you – or anyone else. I feel as though listeners are supposed to attach their own meaning to the work, not the other way around.
I’m obsessed with the visual dichotomy of the shot of you playing basketball in the “Wait & See” video– is challenging societal “norms” something that you pride yourself in?
I pride myself in doing what feels right for myself as an individual. If that means that I’m breaking down some barriers or challenging people to look at the world differently then great. But it’s not part of some grand campaign. I never want to tell anyone what to do.
Where do you think you’d be today if you weren’t making music?
Living in Toronto and making visual and performative artwork. Probably reading lots more as well.
I’d like to focus on your style for a moment– how has your aesthetic evolved over time? Is there a time period in your life, when it comes to style and clothing, that you’re embarrassed of?
Never. And I’ve had some questionable styles. I had a rat tail and a mullet when I was in elementary school. I went through a real trackpants phase in high school, and did the hacky sack hippy thing in University. Life should be about trying new things all the time, instead of boxing yourself into one specific way of being and seeing the world. All of the most interesting people I know have lived so many different lives and are constantly growing and evolving.
Is there any specific things you have to do in New York when you’re here? Any secret shopping spots/restaurants/bars/etc
I never really have much money so I’m usually stuck window shopping for new kicks that I can’t even afford. Although the last time I was in the city I bought a fake gold chain with a basketball shoe shaped pendant for twenty bucks on Canal Street. Food wise I’m into hot pretzels and White Castle. We don’t have that stuff in Canada!
If you could swap live with somebody, who would it be?
Do you mean like living inside someone else’s body? Like becoming someone else? I’d probably want to be Rihanna or early 90s Spinderella from Salt N Pepa. If those are taken I’d settle for Dennis Rodman.