1. What have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to the two Judee Sill albums a lot. Also, I’ve been working my way through every Chris Weisman album.
2. I was recently in Arizona visiting the Grand Canyon, and all I could think about was getting a ton of speakers and having a concert at the very bottom of the canyon. You think the acoustics would be good?
Get some ambient musicians in there and it just might be the most beautiful acoustics anyone’s ever heard.
3. Listen, a Diners and Born Loser music festival at the Grand Canyon. How do we make it happen?
I’ll have to get started on my ambient album.
4. How often do you get to take naps while on tour?
I nap everyday! A 15 minute power nap changes my whole world around.
5. What is something that you are currently looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to going on tour and getting into the studio again to record some new material!
6. What is the worst piece of advice that you can give me?
The worst? Assume you’re always right.
7. I just started a new job. What is the funniest way to get myself fired?
Hire an impersonator to go to work in your place.
8. Favorite breakfast food?
French toast if I’m feeling sweet, grits if I’m going savory.
9. Last song that made you cry?
“Take It From Me” by Bory. Unreleased song at the moment, but hopefully it comes out soon.
10. Any bands that you think are doing something interesting in music or that you’d like to highlight?
The soon-to-be-out Bory album is great and required listening. I love Belly Belt, Cali Bellow, Chris Wiesman, and Dingbat Superminx.
Thanks again for taking the time to talk to us. I’ve been a fan since the first time I heard “Simple Words” back in like 2013. SO getting to talk to you is always a huge honor. One of the reasons I started interviewing bands was because I wanted to eventually interview Diners, it’s still surreal that I get to talk to my favorite acts.
Oh my gosh, thank you!! That’s so sweet. I’m honored to hear that and so happy to chat with you!
The last time we spoke was in May of last year! What have you been up to since then?
Hmm… since then I recorded “DOMINO” and I moved to LA! I’ve been loving it. I have a day job and I try to have a social life outside of music, but I’m always busy with music, though. Diners takes up a lot of time and I’ve also been playing with Mo Troper, Slumped, iji, and Dingbat Superminx.
You recently (at the time of writing) released your single “The Power” from your upcoming album “Domino”, can you give us a bit of background on that single?
I think I wrote it in 2020, which I kind of forgot about until just now. It could’ve wound up on “Four Wheels and The Truth,” but it was a much different song back then. Needed time to cook. The chord progression came first when I was looking for new ways to use descending chords that I hadn’t tried before. Once I found the verse progression, it very quickly turned into a song. Lyrically, I think I was at a low point and was trying to write a song to uplift myself.
What was the writing/recording process like for Domino?
Most of the songs were written or finished within a few months of recording. I knew that I was going to record with Mo Troper and wanted to have a batch of rock songs for him to produce. The goal was to write songs that would lend to a louder record. Some of the songs were written within a couple weeks of recording. The recording process was fast, I went up to Portland for a week, we rehearsed for four days and recorded in the studio for three.
Is there anything that you’d like for your listeners to get from “Domino” and is there anything that you personally took away or learned from making this album?
Joy! Of any kind, I suppose. Other than excitement and jubilation, I hadn’t really thought about the take away as much as I thought about what I wanted to give or offer the listener. The biggest lesson I learned while making the album is that I don’t always know best. Mo Troper was the producer and his approach and his ears are so different from mine. I often switch between believing I know everything or or believing I know nothing. It’s probably healthier for me to be somewhere in between.
I still have to listen to the album a few times through, BUT currently “working on my dreams” is probably my favorite. It’s my go to song now everytime I’m in a coffee shop working on interviews. Can you give us some background on that song?
Thank you so much! “Working On My Dreams” was written with my tarot cards. I had been thinking about asking my tarot deck for a songwriting prompt for a while and when I came up with the chord progression and melody I thought I’d finally give it a try. I wish I could remember which cards I drew!
I’m sure there's a throughline and all of the songs on the album are connected in some way, but to me as a listener it seems like “working on my dreams” is almost a response to “from my pillow” Is there a direct connection for you as a songwriter? Or am I just reading too much into everything?
That’s interesting! Honestly, it’s a coincidence. But I’m sure all of my work is subconsciously linked with one another. I definitely see the through-line.
Without a doubt this album still feels like a “Diners” album, but at the same time there’s something different about your sound. It almost has a fuller/lush feel to it. I don’t know any technical terms. Do you feel like you’re closer to achieving the sound that you want? Or is that even possible? Is the sound you want constantly changing from project to project??
Perception is fascinating! To me, this is the scuzziest record I’ve made! But I love that it would be seen as lush and full. Jack Shirley did a great job mixing it. I think it’s scuzzy and pretty at the same time. Truthfully, I didn’t know how “DOMINO” was going to sound until our first studio session. Once I understood the pallet we were working with, I was able to roll with it. Beyond this record, the “sound” I’m after is always changing and oftentimes I’m unreliable in knowing what I’m wanting. Even when I do know what I want, I’ve never had a record turn out as my vision intended. At the end of the day, all I can do is follow my instincts. I used to strive for perfection and would waste so much time over such silly things, but I’m learning that I’m happier working faster and less preciously.
You relocated to LA since the last time we spoke! What has the transition from the Phoenix music scene to the LA music scene been like?
The transition was pretty easy. They’re different places with different vibes, but in some ways every music scene is similar. Just a different kind of pond. I love Phoenix and I love LA.
Like I mentioned before, I’ve been a fan for about 10 years now! It’s been so cool seeing you grow and evolve as an artist and me myself kind of growing alongside your music. That being said, what does the crowd at your shows look like these days?? Is it mostly people that have been following you a while? Is it mostly new fans? What does your audience look like? Why did I word this question in the most convoluted way possible?
Hey, you’re doing great. I never, ever know who’s going to show up to a Diners show and I think that’s cool! I see a lot of young people who are just now finding it and I see people who were there from the beginning. I feel pretty lucky that people seem to stay for the ride. Even if they dip in and out of going to shows for a few years, I see a lot of familiar faces all the time and it blows my mind. Grateful for the support!
You have a tour with Chris Farren coming up soon! Any cities or venues you’re excited to visit?
All of them! But I’m excited to play on the east coast. I don’t get out there often, hopefully that changes. We have a show at The Filmore in Philly with Jeff Rosenstock, Sidney Gish, and Gladie that I’m pretty psyched for.
I’ll be at your show in Dallas Sept. 20th! What are the chances you let me do background vocals, but with my mic unplugged? (I’m a terrible singer.)
Oh hell yes. Very likely. Heck, I’d give you the real mic, I’d love a guest singer. See you then!
Is there anything you want our readers to know? It doesn’t have to be about music.
Been thinking a lot about the movie “Blowout” starring John Travolta, check it out.
To wrap things up, do you have any questions for me.
Have you seen the movie “Blowout” starring John Travolta?
I have not, but I'll check it out soon!