Record of the Week
We take you inside our favourite new albums with the artists who made them. This week's feature record is a 40-minute swirling concoction of dream-pop and post-punk from Melbourne-via-Perth trio Dianas.
Oh, how lucky are we to be blessed by a new album from Melbourne-via-Perth trio Dianas! They might have made us wait a little while, but the 40-plus minutes of gorgeous, swirling dream-pop and post-punk that makes up Baby Baby is exactly what we need right now.
A trio at one with our souls, they describe their coming together story as, “a heady combination of cheap red wine, stolen guitars, heartbreak and boredom,” which, without the musical talent, sounds like the beginning of a lot of our newfound hobbies. Though their end result is a whole lot more remarkable.
First bursting onto the scene in their hometown of Perth back in 2012, their freshly learnt instruments and delicately beautiful pop tunes saw Dianas turn the heads of media and music fans alike.
Following a string of EPs and singles, and five years since their self-titled debut album graced our eager ears, Dianas have gifted us Baby Baby.
The last five years have seen some pretty big changes for Dianas. First Nathalie moved to Melbourne, resulting in a brief hiatus for the band, before Caitlin soon followed. Then they recruited Perth expat Anetta to take over the drums and together, the band truly come into their own.
Now, with a new album in hand, Dianas are back. We sat down with the trio to get the inside scoop on all things Baby Baby.
The Dianas Story
From the beginning
Dianas: “Caity [Moloney] and Nat [Pavlovic] first started making music when they lived together in Perth around 2011. It began as a bit of a distraction from boredom and heartbreak but soon led to them really enjoying playing together and wanting to get better and start a real band.
“We’ve had two drummers previously, Ashley and John, and when we moved to Melbourne we started playing with Anetta [Nevin]. Over the past couple of years, it’s felt like our sound has matured a bit, so Baby Baby was ready to be born.”
What you’ll hear
Dianas: “Our sound is mostly defined by the interweaving guitar and bass and vocal melodies, anchored by Anetta’s drums. Nat and Caity learned to play guitar and bass together, swapping around depending on who had an idea or sometimes just because sharing is caring, so have always played off and around each other – trying to outdo each other even.
“The double vocals were initially due to a lack of confidence (mostly on Caity’s part), but also because it’s more fun to sing together and harmonise, especially in the beginning when there was no audience other than ourselves. We’ve kept going in the same vein, but now with Anetta (known in some circles as “The Whirlpool”) on drums, there’s more of a wild energy to it. We’re notoriously bad at concise descriptions. Dream-punk maybe? Sparkle-rock?”
Inside the creative process
Dianas: “The creation of the album took quite a while, not for any real reason other than lack of time and funds, maybe having no real deadline.
“Some of the songs we’ve been playing live for ages, some were finished off during the recording process. We’ve all lost track of time when it comes to this record, it’s been in our lives one way or another for a few years now.
“The big thing that’s changed is that Nat recorded and mixed everything herself. She’d become more and more a part of the recording process as we’d gone on, but this was the first time she did the whole thing.
“Our writing process remains the same as always, in that there’s no defined process. Maybe one of us will write an entire song, maybe one of us will come to the others with a vague idea, maybe we all come up with something together.”
Tell us the story
Dianas: “It wasn’t intentional, but I suppose the central themes of the record are growing up, or sometimes failing to, and of course love – romantic love and self-love and love for your friends. Actually they are the themes of pretty much all of our music. Not very original, but certainly universal.”
Down memory lane
Dianas: “One favourite memory is the time we spent in a farmhouse in rural Victoria, just hanging out by a fireplace all day in our pyjamas, writing and arranging a lot of the songs on the album.
“It was like a return to the early days of living together when we had little else to do other than sit around playing music, something that’s harder to make happen these days. The actual recording at Phaedra was good too, it’s a nice space to hang out in and things got a bit silly at times.”
Dianas: “Starting from scratch in a new city, making new friends and fans, and getting involved in a whole new music scene in Melbourne has felt very rewarding.
“We’ve also been lucky to play some great supports over the years and at some fun festivals. But maybe just having this record in our hot little hands and knowing how much we put into it ourselves, it’s definitely a proud as punch moment.”
Overcoming struggle town
Dianas: “There were tears for sure. A lot of insecurities tend to come up in the recording process because everything is stripped back and there’s nowhere to hide. Also, it’s so permanent.
“This was the first time Nat recorded and mixed everything herself, and although it was easier and better in a lot of ways, there were times where it was difficult not having an outsider’s perspective – even just someone there to stop you acting like a little brat.
“You should be able to stop yourself acting like a brat, of course, but at this point, we’ve spent so much time together we perhaps sometimes act more like siblings, which is not necessarily a good thing. I guess we overcame it by getting over ourselves and getting on with it.”
For the love of music
Dianas: “It’s probably the connections music creates, both with each other and with other people. Who knows where any of us would even be without music – friendships, relationships, business partnerships, who we live with, where we live, work, social lives – so much has come out of it. Also, it’s fun.”
Dianas: “Hopefully, just that they enjoy the listen, and maybe that they’d like to come and see us play it live once that’s a possibility again! There’s a lot going on in there so hopefully, listeners can just take what they want and make their own meaning out of things.”
Say it in a sentence
Dianas: “Baby Baby is a dreamy, DIY labour of love.”
Dianas – Jewels
“The talking at the end of ‘Jewels’ is actually just predictive text messages that Nat and Caity sent to each other and then recited. So pretty much half the song was written by an iPhone.
“This is both Caity and Nat’s favourite on the album, maybe because it’s the newest and we only played it live once before all our shows got cancelled. We’re also just big fans of the piano/bass/drums combo.”
Dianas – Weather Girl
(From Nat): “Back in audio school I remember I’d always hear about recording sessions where the engineers would have like a hundred separate tracks in the song. I’d think that was so silly and why would you need 50 guitar tracks – but then I recorded this song.
“There are just so many layers on different tracks and different microphones and it IS silly, but also I now understand how you get to that point.”
Dianas – Learning/Unlearning
“We had our mums review this track as part of our online launch event. They weren’t very impartial reviewers, so you can take their glowing recommendations with a pinch of salt, but according to Anetta’s mum: “’Learning/Unlearning’ will leave you in a very different spot than where you started. Life is a process, and sometimes the best way to learn is by letting go of what we know.”
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