Very happy to be premiering the video for Melbourne post-pop jewels On Diamond‘s newbie How, the second track of their forthcoming debut album due out April 2019 on Eastmint Records. How is a disconcerting yet beautiful number, exploring past family trauma and the loss of a close bond, driven throughout by songwriter/singer Lisa Salvo’s wistful and plaintive vocal that never lets you go. The fresh DIY video captures a sense of home despite the loss, progressing from back sheds and clotheslines to the wilder and freer rushings of the Darebin Creek. All together, it’s a compelling package highlighting the sense of grief, while honouring the courage it takes to confront the pain, embrace the healing and celebrate the learnings.
It was too good not to ask Lisa Salvo all about.
WF: How is beautiful, can you tell me what you’re expressing through it?
LS: How expresses the confusion that’s come from a broken kinship in my life. It describes the physical and abstract characteristics shared with my family member, that are a reminder of our connectedness, as well as the feeling of helplessness at trying to repair the damaged bond.
WF: Why was it important to write it at this time?
LS: For the past four or five years I’ve been actively working through family/background related trauma – practising acceptance, recognising negative learned behaviours (and slowly changing them), taking control of my own destiny. Music and lyric writing has been a huge part of my work in processing questions, emotions, lessons learned. It’s allowed me to explore light and shade, intensity, and speak to my individuality. This song is almost a precursor to where I’m at currently… it’s deep in the early stages of acceptance, but it continues to hold relevance for me because this process is not strictly linear.
WF. What, if anything, have you been able to learn or heal or resolve after writing and releasing this song?
LS: I think a key point is – because my family history is sensitive and I can’t/don’t usually speak about it openly, I’ve often felt isolated and have pointed the finger at myself as being “weird”, a burden on my friends, etc. I’m now learning to communicate more effectively, without crossing personal boundaries, and accept that these realities are a significant part of my journey, the journey that has shaped me as an individual, and they are not a barrier to anything I would like to express or achieve. In fact, they are more likely an asset. Releasing this music and playing it with On Diamond is a celebration of my journey and an aural space for emotional relief (for myself and hopefully others).
WF: Who else was involved in creating and producing the song?
LS: I was frustrated with my usual songwriting method and I decided to try to write a song in the vein of Björk, because I was obsessing over the song Oceania. After writing How’s skeleton structure, we worked through it as a band in rehearsal and also live on stage for a time, before recording our album at Head Gap. Production-wise, my initial concepts were at play, and we fleshed it out as a band. Everyone in On Diamond has a distinct approach that makes up our sound as a whole. Evelyn Ida Morris came on board as an extra set of production ears, and Neil Thomason engineered the recording. I recorded all the vocals at home, and then Scott and I went to Tokyo to mix with Joe Talia (who was also our previous drummer). It was all done within a month, which was an exhilarating feeling. I was still adding vocal effects the day of our flight to Tokyo!
WF: Tell me all about this wonderful video.
LS: The video was a DIY collaboration between myself and Kerith Manderson-Galvin. Kerith’s a theatre maker, but we’re both complete amateurs in video. I’m very lucky I asked Kerith because they watched a lot of YouTube tutorials and I watched basically zero.
The beginning of the video is set in Kerith’s shed. The footage is sort of creepy and odd; to me it’s like a haunted childhood memory that I’m stuck inside of. As the video progresses it opens up into the beautiful Darebin Parklands. That place is a bit of a theme for On Diamond at the moment as we did a photo shoot for our album there, and I always feel happy and at peace there.
The open space and landscape represent stepping away from the familial dysfunction and into the present. I’ve learned so many new skills this year, and I’m genuinely loving expressing On Diamond’s music visually through font, colour, etc. I knew this release had to be my first experiment in video and I’m looking forward to giving it a really good crack for the next one.
You definitely gave the first one a fine crack, On Diamond. Come along to the official release of How at Eastmint’s warehouse studio on Friday November 9, where they’ll be joined by exploratory filmmaker Sabina Maselli and groove shredders Sky Voltage. Details on Facebook.
Photo: Damian Stephens