We are a Leeds based band called Black Diamond Bay. There are seven of us. We play electro-folk. We regard ourselves as the first band to do this properly. Some of us are from Lithuania. Most of us are not. We came together when Tom, the producer and Jesse, the song writer (original members of attic based house production duo, Tarentum) decided to hand-pick musicians from the Leeds College of Music to form a band to play their tunes.
Agne Motieciute was the first singer auditioned. Her beautiful voice and subtle air of threat won us over immediately. Holly Thomas was second up. She wasn’t as scary but, if you’ll forgive the term, she had a right pair of pipes on her. We cancelled all other auditions. Colin Sutton was known to be the fastest bass player in Yorkshire and Ben Ziapour, the heaviest guitarist of Anglo-Iranian origin in LS6. These were significant factors in the selection process, along with their dance moves and capacity for abstract thought. Ben Wilson, a protégé of Colin’s, became the drummer not only for his unerring ability to keep time under pressure but also because of his status as resident Dark Horse. His musical genius spans instruments, genres and personas too numerous to detail here.
We had the players. We then had to perform an often painful metabolism, to translate songs penned in a studio, into a workable live sound. It took a year. There was bloodshed. Many bass lines, guitar riffs, even the odd violin solo fell by the wayside, collateral damage in an unjust war. Finally, a sound began to emerge that, while retaining the essence of the original music, had something dark, dirty and powerful strapped to its underbelly. We called it Electro-folk. Finally we settled on a name, Black Diamond Bay, after a song by Bob Dylan about empathy. We’re all about empathy. It’s the thing that informs everything else.
So we had a band, a name, a sound and the makings of an album. It was time to take it to the streets. We had tracks played on Kiss FM, Xfm, BBC6 and BBC Radio Leeds as well as various internet radio stations, including Adam and Joe Coke Music Podcast. The DJs all seemed to like them. John Kennedy used the word ‘Beautiful’. He’s heavy into electro-folk now. We made the cover of Sandman magazine. They said we were as good as any in our field. That involved Massive Attack and Portishead but they don’t play electro-folk. They wouldn’t dare. They also used the word ‘astonishing’. Metro said we were ’spine-tingling’. We’re ‘a modern Classic’ according to Who’s Jack and ‘Amazing’ according to No Title. Traffic said we were ‘Poised and delicate’. They booked us to play at Kendal Calling. We went down so well we played the main stage the following year as well as making our debuts at Soundwave in Croatia, Be2gether in Lithuania and Moorfest in Yorkshire. Music Guru described our performances as a ‘seething, strutting motorik funk charge’ (how cool is that?). MTV said we were ‘epic’.
Then one day in Tokyo, a record company guy who we shall call Bob, because that’s his real name, heard a track of ours at a music industry fair. We’ve never even been to Tokyo! The track he heard was Philharmonic Bubbles. He liked it so much he called us up when he got back to England to have an actual conversation. Several conversations and a show in London later, we signed a two album deal with his label, Exceptional Records. We are now on the verge of releasing our first single, ‘Worship the Sun’ with Iberian tinged heartbreak anthem ‘Cold’ as the B Side. After that, who knows?
‘Atmospheric, epic and yet still delicately intimate’ – MTV
‘Beautiful’ – XFM
‘A Cracking Band’ – Kiss FM‘Different’ – BBC Radio Leeds
‘A Modern Classic’ – Who’s Jack Magazine
‘Astonishing’ – Sandman Magazine
‘Spine tingling’ – Metro
‘Majestic’ – No Title
‘A seething, strutting motorik funk charge’ – Music Guru
‘Poised and delicate’ – Traffic Magazine
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