Posts Tagged ‘Colin Caulfield’

Spotlight: DIIV

“Deceiver”, their third LP, is a tidal wave of slow-core ruminations and shoegaze distortion that finds singer/ guitarist Zachary Cole Smith surveying the planet’s demise and his own recovery after a well-publicized battle with drug addiction. But those cathartic songs helped the frontman chart a clear path forward.

“I’ve gained a lot of clarity in the distance I’ve had from active addiction—the shitty times I’ve had in my life and the shitty times we’ve had as a band,” he says, brushing off the suggestion that these songs, played onstage, might serve as reminders of a more painful period. “Mostly it’s trying to communicate lessons from that time, rather than living in it or revisiting it for the sake of itself.”

It’s impossible to tiptoe around the substance abuse narrative that’s dominated the press cycles throughout the band’s career. Smith, a Brooklyn indie-rock journeyman, formed the first iteration of DIIV—then called Dive—in 2011, and his shimmering, guitar-driven dream-pop captured an instant audience with their debut LP, 2012’s Oshin. But a dark cloud soon hovered over the band: The following year, Smith and his then-girlfriend, singer Sky Ferreira, were arrested after heroin and ecstasy were reportedly found in his van; original drummer Colby Hewitt quit in 2015; and bassist Devin Ruben Perez, who left the lineup in 2017, was discovered to have made offensive comments on the website 4chan.

The band’s long-awaited second record gestated during that stretch, emerging in 2016 as Is the Is Are—a more hi-fi and somewhat optimistic song cycle that drew on Smith’s recovery. But in real life, the dark cycle continued: After canceling a stretch of tour dates due to what band reps called an “urgent health issue,” Smith checked himself into a long-term inpatient program in 2017—leading to stints in rehab and a sober living house.

With all that drama in the band’s collective past, it’s only natural that Deceiver hits harder than their previous work—full of sculpted fuzz, mammoth dynamic shifts and woozy tremolo bar dives that recall the majesty of My Bloody Valentine. The thematic heaviness seemed to breed sonic heaviness: “I think it definitely did,” Smith confirms. “To match a lot of the lyrical themes, I think the music had to meet it halfway, so they work together. I’m sure there’s a relation there.”

Much credit goes to coproducer/engineer Sonny Diperri, who helped the quartet—Smith, guitarist Andrew Bailey, bassist Colin Caulfield, drummer Ben Newman—zero in on maximizing the “sound of a four-piece rock band.”

We’ve been called a ‘shoegaze band’ ever since the beginning, and I don’t ever feel like it fit us,” Smith says. “The more we worked on the songs, the more we got feelings and textures from certain shoegaze bands that we loved. And we wanted to bring those [ideas] in for emphasis on parts. In the middle of working on the record, Sonny got the call to go out to Ireland and work with My Bloody Valentine. So he had a pretty intimate knowledge of how the album they were working on was made and how their previous records were made. He taught us a couple things that MBV does for some of their textures. It’s a small part of the record— we didn’t lean on it too hard. We just tried to use it where it made sense.”

Smith also chalks up that dark descent to a 2018 tour with post-metal act Deafheaven, during which they experimented with new material before entering the studio. “Deafheaven were big influences on the way we approached stuff,” he says. “We were trying out slower tempos live. A lot of our references were slowcore bands that we all love, including ‘90s stuff like Bedhead and Red House Painters and Duster. Though some of those slower tempos are difficult to adjust to, they gave us more freedom to write the songs we wanted to write.”

The word “freedom” is key. Deceiver is the first DIIV album credited to the full band, rather than Smith alone—and they relied on that collaborative spirit during the writing sessions. Everyone swapped influences and reference points, focusing and pruning back the arrangements, even chiming in with occasional edits or suggestions to Smith’s words in a Google document.

The lyrics, which arrived during the final writing stage, focus on deception and “personal responsibility”— raging against climate change deniers (the apocalyptic postpunk surge of “Blankenship”) and reflecting on “youthful sins” (the feedback-laced crawl of “Lorelei”). For Smith, it could have been a bit weird to give up that creative control. But, in a clear sign that he’s newly focus after a time in rehab, the DIIV frontman quickly embraced the opportunity to reapproach the project. “We’d already developed a very productive dynamic for how to speak to each other,” he says. “It was awkward the first time, like, ‘Welp, here’s the lyrics I’m thinking. Read my fucking diary.’ But everybody’s input was helpful.”

For DIIV, the collaborative process was about more than music—it’s the fresh start for a band that likely would have fallen apart without one. “I feel like it was just one facet of a bunch of shit we did as far as maturing into a real, functioning band that was long overdue,” says Bailey.

We got into a good rhythm,” Smith adds. “I’d love to see it go even further.”

There’s comfort, even hope, in DIIV’s darkness.

DIIV have just released a new album, “Deceiver”, on October 4th via Captured Tracks. This week they shared another song from the album, “Blankenship,” via a video. The tight track is akin to a shoegaze version of Sonic Youth’s “Titanium Exposé,” especially in the guitar sounds. Stout directed the video, which intercuts between the band performing the song indoors and a woman (Savannah Macias) seemingly lost in the desert.

Previously DIIV shared Deceiver’s first single, “Skin Game” . Then they shared another song from it, “Taker,” a somewhat languid shoegaze cut that grows with intensity as the track ends.

Deceiveris the band’s third album and the follow-up to 2016’s Is The Is Are. The band’s current lineup features Zachary Cole Smith (lead vocals, guitar), Andrew Bailey (guitar), Colin Caulfield (bass), and Ben Newman (drums). The album was recorded in Los Angeles in March 2019 with producer Sonny Diperri (My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Protomartyr), which is the first time the band has used an outside producer.

Moving a satisfying line between shimmering jangle pop and robust shoegaze, DIIV are to release their third full-length album “Deceiver”. The band crafts the soundtrack to personal resurrection under the heavy weight of metallic catharsis upheld by robust guitars and vocal tension that almost snaps, but never quite… the same could be said of the journey these four musicians underwent to get to their third full-length. out of lies, fractured friendships, and broken promises, clarity would be found. fans of Ride, Real estate and Ultimate Painting will love it!

Rebirth takes place when everything falls apart. DIIV—Zachary Cole Smith [lead vocals, guitar], Andrew Bailey [guitar], Colin Caulfield [vocals, bass], and Ben Newman [drums]—craft the soundtrack to personal resurrection under the heavy weight of metallic catharsis upheld by robust guitars and vocal tension that almost snaps, but never quite…

The same could be said of the journey these four musicians underwent to get to their third full-length album, Deceiver. Out of lies, fractured friendships, and broken promises, clarity would be found.

“I’ve known everyone in the band for ten years plus separately and together as DIIV for at least the past five years,” says Cole. “On Deceiver, I’m talking about working for the relationships in my life, repairing them, and accepting responsibility for the places I’ve failed them. I had to re-approach the band. It wasn’t restarting from a clean slate, but it was a new beginning. It took time—as it did with everybody else in my life—but we all grew together and learned how to communicate and collaborate.”

A whirlwind brought DIIV there.

Amidst turmoil, the group delivered the critical and fan favorite Is the Is Are in 2016 following 2012’s Oshin. Praise came from The Guardian, Spin, and more. NME ranked it in the Top 10 among the “Albums of the Year.”  Pitchfork’s audience voted Is the Is Are one of the “Top 50 Albums of 2016” as the outlet dubbed it, “gorgeous.

In the aftermath of Cole’s personal struggles, he “finally accepted what it means to go through treatment and committed,” emerging with a renewed focus and perspective. Getting back together with the band in Los Angeles would result in a series of firsts. This would be the first time DIIV conceived a record as a band with Colin bringing in demos, writing alongside Cole, and the entire band arranging every tune.

Cole and I approached writing vocal melodies the same way the band approached the instrumentals,” says Colin. “We threw ideas at the wall for months on end, slowly making sense of everything. It was a constant conversation about the parts we liked best versus which of them served the album best.”

Another first, DIIV lived with the songs on the road. During a 2018 tour with Deafheaven, they performed eight untitled brand-new compositions as the bulk of the set. The tunes also progressed as the players did.

“We went from playing these songs in the rehearsal space to performing them live at shows, figuring them out in real-time in front of hundreds of people, and approaching them from a broader range of reference points,” he goes on. “We’d never done that before. We got to internalize how everything worked on stage. We did all of the trimming before we went to the studio. It was an exercise in simplifying what makes a song. We really learned how to listen, write, and work as a band.”

The vibe got heavier under influences ranging from Unwound and Elliot Smith to True Widow and Neurosis. They also enlisted producer Sonny Diperri [My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Protomartyr]. his presence dramatically expanded the sonic palette, making it richer and fuller than ever before. It marks a major step forward for DIIV.

“He brought a lot of common sense and discipline to our process,” adds Cole. “We’d been touring these songs and playing them for a while, so he was able to encourage us to make decisions and own them.”

The first single “Skin Game” charges forward with frenetic drums, layered vocals and clean, driven guitars that ricochet off each other.

“I’d say it’s an imaginary dialogue between two characters, which could either be myself or people I know,” he says. “I spent six months in several different rehab facilities at the beginning of 2017. I was living with other addicts. Being a recovering addict myself, there are a lot of questions like, ‘Who are we? What is this disease?’  Our last record was about recovery in general, but I truthfully didn’t buy in. I decided to live in my disease instead. ‘Skin Game’ looks at where the pain comes from. I’m looking at the personal, physical, emotional, and broader political experiences feeding into the cycle of addiction for millions of us.”

A trudging groove and wailing guitar punctuate a lulling apology on the magnetically melancholic “Taker.” According to Cole, it’s “about taking responsibility for your lies, their consequences, and the entire experience.” Meanwhile, the ominous bass line and crawling beat of “Blankenship” devolve into schizophrenic string bends as the vitriolic lyrics. Offering a dynamic denouement, the seven-minute “Acheron” flows through a hulking beat guided under gusts of lyrical fretwork and a distorted heavy apotheosis.

Even after the final strains of distortion ring out on Deceiver, these four musicians will continue to evolve. “We’re still going,” Cole leaves off. “Hopefully we’ll be doing this for a long time.”

Ultimately, DIIV’s rebirth is a hard-earned and well-deserved new beginning.

Official video for “Blankenship,” the third single from DIIV’s new album Deceiver, out October 4th,

Special Edition LP is pressed on tricolor vinyl in an edition of 2000 copies. It includes an inverse Obi Strip as well as a 12″ x 24″ double-sided poster. It will ship on or slightly before the album’s October 4th release date.

Rebirth takes place when everything falls apart. On DIIV’s forthcoming third full-length album, “Deceiver” – out October 4th – they craft the soundtrack to personal resurrection under the heavy weight of metallic catharsis, upheld by robust guitars and vocal tension that almost snaps, but never quite… Today, the band — Zachary Cole Smith [lead vocals, guitar], Andrew Bailey [guitar], Colin Caulfield [vocals, bass], and Ben Newman [drums] — releases lead single “Skin Game,” which gallops forth on a clean guitar riff before unfolding into a hypnotic hook offset by an off-kilter rhythm and hummable solo.

“It’s an imaginary dialogue between two characters, which could either be myself or people I know,” says Cole of “Skin Game. “I spent six months in several different rehab facilities at the beginning of 2017. I was living with other addicts. Being a recovering addict myself, there are a lot of questions like, ‘Who are we? What is this disease?’ Our last record was about recovery in general, but I truthfully didn’t buy in. I decided to live in my disease instead. ‘Skin Game’ looks at where the pain comes from. I’m looking at the personal, physical, emotional, and broader political experiences feeding into the cycle of addiction for millions of us.”
Deceiver was recorded in March, 2019 in Los Angeles. For the first time, the band enlisted an outside producer in the form of Sonny Diperri (Nine Inch Nails, Protomartyr) whose presence dramatically expanded the sonic palette, making it richer and fuller than ever before. The new album is preceded by 2012’s Oshin and 2016’s critical and fan favorite Is the Is Are. Ranked it in the Top 10 among the “Albums of the Year” and Pitchfork’s audience voted Is the Is Are one of the “Top 50 Albums of 2016” as the outlet dubbed it, “gorgeous.”

DIIV – Zachary Cole Smith (lead vocals/guitar), Andrew Bailey (guitar), Colin Caulfield (vocals/bass), and Ben Newman (drums) – craft the soundtrack to personal resurrection under the heavy weight of

Rebirth takes place when everything falls apart. DIIVZachary Cole Smith [lead vocals, guitar], Andrew Bailey [guitar], Colin Caulfield [vocals, bass], and Ben Newman [drums]—craft the soundtrack to personal resurrection under the heavy weight of metallic catharsis upheld by robust guitars and vocal tension that almost snaps, but never quite…

The same could be said of the journey these four musicians underwent to get to their third full-length album, “Deceiver”. Out of lies, fractured friendships, and broken promises, clarity would be found.

“I’ve known everyone in the band for ten years plus separately and together as DIIV for at least the past five years,” says Cole. “On Deceiver, I’m talking about working for the relationships in my life, repairing them, and accepting responsibility for the places I’ve failed them. I had to re-approach the band. It wasn’t restarting from a clean slate, but it was a new beginning. It took time—as it did with everybody else in my life—but we all grew together and learned how to communicate and collaborate.”

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A whirlwind brought DIIV there.

Releases October 4th, 2019