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    On Diamond’s Lisa Salvo talks band beginnings, critical acclaim and sprawling new single ‘Candle’

    Fearlessly traversing a multitude of genres while probing the deeper parts of the human psyche, Melbourne’s On Diamond return with intriguing new single ‘Candle’. The band broke barriers with their eponymous 2019 debut, featuring the head-turning singles ‘How’, ‘Poison Blood’, and ‘Light’; their genre-defying sound garnering instant success. Today, the beloved quintet are back and excited to reveal their next alt-pop oddity in the introspective mantra that is ‘Candle’. We had a chat with frontwoman Lisa Salvo all about it.

    Hey Lisa, congratulations on the new On Diamond single ‘Candle’! What inspired you to write this track?

    Thank you. 🙂 

    This song recalls a moment in my late teens when I learned a painful familial truth. It was extremely jarring but at the same time it revealed the root of a darkness I’d felt my entire life, which in a strange way brought a sense of relief. 

    There’s a repeated lyric in the song – ‘truth candle’. A truth candle is a magic candle fashioned by the mystics in The Forgotten Realms – a world in Dungeons and Dragons. It acts as a truth serum and all who fall under its power are compelled to tell the truth.

    The song is also a reflection on recognising the ugly, covered up truths present in our society and how we decide to respond to and engage with these truths. 

    On Diamond consists of seasoned musicians who also play in bands like Jaala, Grand Salvo, Jazz Party and their own solo projects. How did you all meet and when did On Diamond start creating music together?

    Apart from Scott, I met everyone at different times when looking for band members. Hannah Cameron (guitar, vocals) has been playing with me since 2013, previously for my “solo” project. Scott McConnachie (guitar) is my partner – he’s a phenomenal saxophonist whose passion is freely improvised music. While working on my solo album (2013 also) I asked him to play a guitar solo – it was wacky and beautiful. After a while (2014?) I asked him to join the band and that’s really when we started building what officially became On Diamond in 2016. When our previous drummer Joe Talia moved to Japan (2016), Maria Moles joined OD. Jules Pascoe was the confirming piece of the shiny puzzle – he joined in 2017 when our previous bassist Stewart Taylor left to pursue other life goals. This was just before we started working on the songs that became our debut album. Stew and Joe are actually on one song, which is a nice documentation of how the band came together. 

    I’m very grateful to have found each of these people to explore music with. 

    (I just researched all of those dates to figure out this timeline!)

    Your debut album of last year received some incredible accolades such as nominations for The Australian Music Prize and Music Victoria Awards’ Best Album plus Album Of The Week on RRR, PBS and 4ZZZ. How was your 2019, and did you ever think it would be spent celebrating your own music as one of Australia’s most beloved releases of the year?

    Good question. In reality, I’d been working my ass off for a long time, both creatively and in trying to find my little avenue into the music industry. The 3 months I spent writing the album were some of my most rewarding. We developed the songs together on stage for some time before recording, and our synergy as a band felt very special. By the time we got into the studio, it really was a fucking breeze. It was probably the most life-affirming experience I’ve ever had, which was magnified on account of the personal struggle that the songs had come out of.

    I’m really happy that the album resonated with people, and I’m grateful that it was acknowledged to the extent that it was. In a way I needed that in order to keep persevering on an industry level. We couldn’t have done it, though, without a brilliant publicist who got the album into people’s ears, and incredible support over the years from Eastmint Records, as well as OD’s extended community.

    If you could give a truth candle to anyone in the world to uncover their deepest secrets, who would it be and what would you ask them?

    I feel strange forming a hierarchy to answer this question, but at this moment I would like to give a truth candle to the prime minister of Australia Scott Morrison, and ask him to tell the full story, publicly, about how colonial “Australia” came to be – the genocide committed and continued systematic violence towards our First Nations People, and the hidden motivators today concerning land ownership. I’m not 100% sure that he would be able to express this eloquently, but at least he wouldn’t be able to outright lie about it to the rest of the country.

    You’re currently in the midst of a six-week total lockdown in Melbourne. How has this affected/strengthened your creative practice, and what’s it been like releasing music during a pandemic? 

    Since coronavirus properly hit Australia in March, I’ve been ticking items off a buried to-do list: deep admin, arranging my home, getting into gardening. Music has ebbed and flowed for me as I slowly work on new songs for OD. Releasing music has been different in that we’re not playing shows alongside the releases, but otherwise feels similar. We released a remix EP earlier this year, which was kind of a side project for us, and ‘Candle’ feels like a process single i.e. a window into what’s to come, so I haven’t felt a lot of pressure around these.

    What do you miss most from your pre-COVID lifestyle?

    I’m lucky to be someone who isn’t struggling too much in this climate. I have Scott and my two dogs to keep me active and engaged. I would say that I most miss playing and watching music with other people, and long hangouts with a few of my best friends. 

    And finally, what’s next for On Diamond?

    We’re just working on songs for our next record. Apart from that I really don’t know yet.

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    Wrap your ears around ‘Candle‘ below and be sure to keep up to date with all things On Diamond via their Facebook and Instagram or pay their Bandcamp page a visit today for Bandcamp Friday – grab yourself some merch or a copy of their critically acclaimed debut album and all proceeds will go direct to the artist! How good’s that!

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