With his debut LP Special Affections, John O took elements of post-punk (gloomy-sounding vocals, shards of streamlined riffs) and channeled it through charismatic synth-pop for a cohesive blast of neon glam. At times whimsical, at times minimalist, the effort was always brimming with confidence. We caught up with the performer ahead of his sophomore album’s release, and he promised this record is even sweatier and more confident. Watch our interview with him up top, and read on for more Diamond Rings shine.
FULL NAME: John O’Regan
HOMETOWN: Diamond Rings hails from Toronto.
HEIGHT: 6’5 (not including his hair)
SOUNDS LIKE: The disaffected baritone of Joy Division‘s Ian Curtis gliding over dance hall electro-pop. Tears For Fears crossed with Wham!. The Human League with an edge.
INFLUENCES: Musically: “Grace Jones…Madonna…N.W.A. Devo…Kraftwerk…Kanye…” With fashion, he’s “drawn to artists who not only make great music but also have a real strong personal sense of style.”
The pop artist even finds inspiration from professional sports having”[grown] up watching tons of hockey and basketball, really drawn to the colors and the logos and the iconography that goes with sports.” Now that he mentions it…we’re noticing the Brooklyn Nets logo (partly designed by Jay-Z) bears a resemblance to the Diamond Rings emblem. As the Canadian points out, “athletes and pop stars play in big stadiums, and it’s about presenting an image that’s strong and sophisticated.”
ON TOURING WITH ROBYN: John revealed that he, “picked up a lot from her just by watching what she does in sound check and on stage and just as a professional.” He also shared this little known fact about the Swede, “She also is really, really good at skipping [rope].” Now, when the Toronto-based crooner tours he packs a jump rope so he can skip and get his energy going before heading on stage with some of the tricks he learned from the Bodytalk songbird.
IF HE COULD COLLABORATE WITH A FELLOW CANADIAN?: It’s not Justin Bieber or Carly Rae Jepsen, but fellow T.O.-based artist Drake. “I really like what he’s doing, not just artistically, but for Toronto…For a long time Canadians were trying to, I think, imitate what was going on in America or what was going on in the U.K. I think part of the reason things are going so great back home right now is we’re finally starting to embrace this idea that being Canadian is fine…It’s about being real and owning where you’re from.” He credits all three with opening doors for artists like himself. And if Carly or JB gave him a call John wouldn’t turn it down (of course), but Drizzy is “where it’s at”.
WHAT’S NEXT: For starters, Free Dimensional his upcoming album. Diamond Rings says the LP is “stronger” from a production standpoint, a lot more “confident” and “fun”. “It’s everything that the first album wanted to be, but couldn’t,” John explained to us. On his latest tour Diamond rings has live band for the first time which means “all [his] energy now is directed towards the crowd”. (Lucky us!)
Diamond Rings talks Free Dimensional:
Are you taking a shining to Diamond Rings?