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Breakout Toronto Bands: DIANA

Posted by Erin Scholz / November 1, 2012

DIANABreakout Toronto Bands features local artists that we think you should give a listen to.

Who are they?

DIANA are made up of Carmen Elle (Army Girls), Kieran Adams (Warm Myth and Bonjay), Joseph Shabason (Destroyer), and Paul Mathew (Hidden Cameras). Kieran, Joseph and Paul all went to U of T together attending the school's jazz program and their musical careers have twisted and turned around one another's for years. DIANA is basically an extension of a project Kieran and Joseph started — and had reluctantly been providing the vocals for themselves. Around fall of last year they hooked up with Carmen through mutual friends, and the chemistry was instantaneous.

"The original demos are pretty heinous — it's Kieran and I singing on the stuff," Joseph explains. "It was very apparent we needed someone with a beautiful voice and we had heard Carmen singing in bands over the years and knew that she was we just called her up and asked if she'd come to the studio to demo stuff. She took our stuff and did her own thing which made the songs really come to life."

They sound like...

Blissed-out hazy summer days. Think chillwave (shudder), think what Washed Out may sound like filtered through the late 70s / early 80s. And of course Elle's vocals elevate whatever inane genres and comparisons one can make to something unique. Fact is, I've had "Born Again" stuck in my head since the moment I heard it and continue to wake up to it cycling through my brain. Comparisons can also of course be made to the member's other projects (Destroyer in particular comes to mind) but as Joseph points out, "we consciously decided to think freely, to not be attached to any previous sound — so it was definitely a rebirth."

Hear them / see them

DIANA currently only have two songs available for listening on Soundcloud and one very recent video of a performance at CMJ. As for their full length? Although the recording was finished in July you won't see it on the shelves until sometime in Spring 2013. "We're trying to be really patient to find a really good home for the album and hopefully in the long run it's better for everyone," Joseph said of the delay. In the meantime expect a 12" release of "Born Again," including a remix by Doldrums, to be released on Forest Family Records very soon.

Despite their sparse presence online and around town (they've barely played a handful of shows) the buzz around DIANA is getting louder and louder and no one is as surprised as they are. They're playing their first major Toronto show tonight at The AGO alongside Laurie Kang's visuals and again next Friday the 9th at The Great Hall for Fucked Up's first installment of their Long Winter series. You should go to there.

Photos courtesy of the band



SH / November 1, 2012 at 11:25 am
Can't wait to see/hear them at the Art Gallery of Ontario tonight!
Kate / November 1, 2012 at 08:26 pm
Great feature. Can't wait for the album. DIANA!
alice / November 2, 2012 at 09:39 am
Oh, the '80's? Mixed with Washed Out and music school grads? Groundbreaking, Toronto.
mitch / November 2, 2012 at 09:50 am
You had me at jazz school! So cool!
LT / November 2, 2012 at 05:20 pm
It seems odd that the AGO got a band with only "a handful of shows" and only 2 SONGS to play their event? Didn't Bahamas play the last event at the AGO? Doesn't he have 2 ALBUMS and a helluva lot of experience/tours(as Bahamas)under his belt? Methinks DIANA has a bit of nepotism on her side. And yes, I listened to the 2 tracks. Definite nepotism at work here.
Colin replying to a comment from LT / November 2, 2012 at 09:32 pm
Oh, yeah, nepotism. People love throwing that word around. Fact is, every member of DIANA has played in bands in this city going back many years and have just as much "experience" as Bahamas. It's a new thing, it's amazing, and I'm glad to see people supporting it from the get go.
err / November 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm
This is chillwave (a mediocre ripoff at that) and this band is 2 years too late. "think what Washed Out may sound like filtered through the late 70s / early 80s" That IS EXACTLY WHAT WASHED OUT IS DOING.

Really blogto? Thanks for the laugh.
Lektur / May 3, 2013 at 12:34 am
SO! Im all American born n bred RED WHITE AND BLUE, HOWEVER...I guess Im gonna have to give it up to my Northern Neighbors on just two of their bands, Diana and Tegan and Sara, who I saw play together in Tulsa, Oklahoma USA btw.
DUDE "eer"??? is that youre handle chill if it sounds good listen to it, ever heard "history repeats its self"? Sooner or later things are all going to sound the same and when a band or and artist breaks that cycle others will follow and we will be spendin our hard earned income to see/listen to them play.
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