Interview :: Dick Diver
February 6th 2014
Between a couple of albums, members running off to tour in other bands, and playing shows with wildly-dressed interpretive dancers, Melbourne folks Dick Diver aren’t doing too badly.
If you haven’t been yet acquainted, a good idea might be to find some means to get yourself to a local record joint and obtain each DD release in consecutive order, starting with the Arks Up EP through to their latest full length Calendar Days. Nearly a year since its release, we still haven’t gotten it out of our heads.
Elizabeth Elias had a chat with Al Montfort, Dick Diver bassist/master of sax/all round cool guy/ Melbournian king of musical multitasking (Total Control, UV Race, Lower Plenty, Straight Jacket Nation, Eastlink). They discussed their string of St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival shows, the yet-to-be-recorded (but sure to be adored) forthcoming album, and a failed nomination to win Australian of the Year.
EE: So you recently played Meredith, in both UV Race and Dick Diver. How was that, do you have any highlights?
AM: Double Drop. Yeah, it was good, both sets were really fun. I can’t really fault them in any way. 10 out of 10. It was awesome playing. It was awesome seeing some other bands as well. Chic was Amazing. But for Dick Diver we had some interpretive dancers on stage doing dances to Head Back, a song off New Start Again. It was good, that was fun.
Laneway is happening soon, are you looking forward to anything in particular?
Kurt Vile, I’m looking forward to seeing a lot. That would be awesome, he’s so good. Yeah, just going to every city again, it would be nice to hang out with the band for a couple of weeks, and we get a few days off work to rock out. That’s really nice. I’m really looking forward to it. Especially to not be working during January and February. And Parquet Courts, I really love as well. I met them over in the states when Total Control were over there and they play really good live, I’m looking forward to that.
What do you have planned for the live show, any new material?
Yeah, we’ve got a few new jams that we wanna play for Laneway, and hopefully, we haven’t actually asked them yet but we might get some new musicians to play to beef up the live show. On the weekend we had some sax and trumpet, it kind of added a bit to it, and we had a pedal steel player and a keyboard player, not in all the songs but in a few. If we could get something extra in a few of the songs that would be really good. Even if we just picked up locals it might be good. We know enough people in every city. It’s always good to do something different in every city, and in your own city to make it a bit different from last time you came out so people don’t get bored.
Do you think you would add members while recording?
Yeah definitely, well we always do some of the overdubs anyway, in recording, there’s always something that’s missed out in the live set so it’s good to sometimes chuck in that little extra thing. But I think we’re gonna get some of these players on our new LP that we’re gonna record in April. Definitely get a bit of the sax and the trumpet, and Al Mckay can play the pedal steel anyway, but he’s always put the slide on the recording so we’re pretty lucky that we could just go to town on those overdubs without anybody extra, especially Dave Reedy, the guy that we got on the weekend. Nah, he’s good.
So you’re recording a new LP in April? Tell me about that.
I don’t know, we’ve just been writing a fair bit, gonna record it out at Warrnumbool, near Western Victori, hire a house for the Easter Weekend, and I don’t know, see how we go. Gonna do it with Mikey Young again, who’s recorded all the stuff we’ve done. Yeah, should be sweet again, It’ll be April so it’ll be cooling down a bit. Last year we did in the middle of winter in Phillip Island, which is south East of Melbourne, and that was cold. But it was good. We’ll dedicate a bit more time which is nice.
Having worked with Mikey Young over all your albums, what’s that been like? You guys must have a pretty good musical relationship. You seem like you’re on the same page with everything.
Yeah definitely, and it’s easy to work with mates, he understands exactly what we mean when we’re recording. Also we’re kind of driven recording wise, to get a certain sound and he’s got a really hands off approach so I think that works really well for us.
And with the new album, are you sort of taking a similar approach, with your sound, lyrically and everything, as your other albums, or are you experimenting in any other ways?
I think we’ll probably try and experiment in a few different ways, from the last record. As a group of four people you get tired doing the same thing all the time, I don’t know it can’t be too different, with the same four people I don’t think. And a year apart from the last record, a year and a half away, I don’t think we can make it massively different. We’re not gonna do like a dance record, or a spoken word album. Maybe between those two, just like a dance spoken word LP.
Can we expect a spoken work record in the future?
I don’t know. Maybe we should. Only available in Canberra, for the pollies. An hour oral assault.
So tell me about your tour with UV Race and Total Control in the States, Where did you go? How was it?
We kind of went everywhere, UV started in La, then we drove up all around basically, finished up in Texas, and then total control started playing shows in New York, and then we did two shows we played the same bill for about nine shows down to Texas, and then total control kept on going. So for a while I was playing two shows a night which was fun. But then we kept on going to San Francisco with Total Control, then I went on holiday to Mexico which was cool. The shows over there were really good, some of the best shows that I’ve had with the band. It’s pretty fun, you get really tight, and get a bit more comfortable with playing, you can do different things.
And you said you met the guys from Parquet Courts overseas, did you play at the same show, or support them?
Yeah we played about six shows together between New York and Texas, so UV, Total Control Parquet Courts we played a bunch of the shows together, so it was really cool. They were nice guys. We played in Washington DC and Ian Mackaye came to our show and Alec Mackaye, from Fugazi and Minor Threat. That was cool, meeting a celeb.
I’m sure you’re probably aware of it but there’s a page on Facebook called ‘Al Montfort, Australian Of The Year’. I noticed someone actually nominated you, didn’t win though. How did that happen?
Didn’t win. Unsuccessful. I want un-Australian of the year. How’d it happen? I don’t know. For ages I thought it was my friend doing it, I was like ‘I know you’re doing it, I know what you’re up to, I know you’ve made this page’, and he was denying it. Then I just started accusing everyone around me and that was getting pretty annoying for them ‘cause they were like ‘it wasn’t me’ and then I found out two months after it was this guy that I’d never met , who I have subsequently met – he was a young guy and that was really funny. It was, yeah, hilarious.
I guess there’s always next year. Are you going to up the campaign a little bit?
Always next year. Oh totally, all media formats, Twitter, Facebook, print, radio, there’ll be ads everywhere, or maybe I won’t go for Australian of the year maybe I’ll try and get put on the, I don’t know, the ASIO do not touch list or something. That might be more of a highlight for me.
Just as long as you share around all those photos of you on the sax and the puppy.
Yeah that’ll definitely put me in the running.
What else have you been up to?
Been recording with Total Control. Been recording the new UV Race movie – the sequel, ‘UV Race Disgrace Space‘. Set in space.
More Laneway Festival 2014 interviews, photos & more