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The Sound of Settling: Love of Diagrams

Love Of Diagrams’ third album, Nowhere Forever sees Luke Horton, Monika Fikerle and Antonia Sellbach display their most determined song writing since their formation nine years ago. The album is an enthralling record that fully encapsulates the band’s current direction. Guitarist and vocalist Luke answered a few questions about their newest release, the bands musical influences as well as that infamous incident with Matador Records back in 2007.

Nowhere Forever almost sounds like it’s come from an entirely transformed band than what I heard on your first release years back. It’s as if you’ve scraped a lot of the post-punk styling and exchanged it for a much crisper melodious sound. The album seems to have more in common with early 90s shoegaze acts like Ride and My Bloody Valentine but I still wouldn’t call it a shoegaze record. Do many people over emphasise these elements when discussing Nowhere Forever?
I think often people do tend to overlook the fact that records are only ever documents of what a band was doing at the time they recorded it, which in some cases is years before the record is released. Mosaic came out in 2007 but we had recorded it in late 2005, and Nowhere Forever was recorded close to three years after Mosaic, so there were going to be some changes in sound for a band like ours who play live a lot.
Those different musical influences were always there, especially in the earlier instrumental recordings. Perhaps when we introduced vocals we pushed our music in a more pop direction with fairly immediate conventional structures in some ways, and that post-punk influence came out a bit more. Bands like Pylon, Mission Of Burma etc and the way they used dissonance and pop together interested us.
Since then we have learnt to write slower songs with more space for different textures and harmonies, which has in turn allowed me to play using guitar effects that I had previously purposely avoided. I can see why people hear those shoegaze elements in Nowhere Forever. My Bloody Valentine and Ride were seminal bands for me.

Love Of Diagrams have always been an independent band and it seemed a bizarre idea that you would be effected greatly by Matador’s decision to not put out another record. Did it prove to be a dramatic setback? Did it ever become motivation?
It became another motivation to make a strong record we were really proud of and to show people that we weren’t finished or washed up simply because Matador dropped us from the label. They didn’t give us a real chance to do much being signed to the label anyhow, and financial pressures meant they couldn’t really afford to invest in a band from Australia unless we were selling a lot of records and making a lot of money, which we weren’t. It was especially disappointing because we knew were writing the best songs we ever had.

You worked on the album with Ryan Hadlock, who has produced music with such a vast range of musicians [including The Gossip and Foo Fighters]. How did that come about?
We were talking to Guy Picciotto from Fugazi about working with him and Ryan because they’d worked together numerous times previously. Guy didn’t have a lot of time outside of his family, so instead he suggested we just work with Ryan, who owned the studio and did most of the work.

In contrast with Mosaic, Nowhere Forever feels to a lesser degree lyric-driven; almost suggestive without being literally spelt out. I liked that because I found everything became more open to individual interpretation.
At least for me, this album seems more lyrically driven than the last one but maybe that’s just because I’m singing more songs this time. Both Antonia and I seem to like lyrics that are suggestive of meaning without being straightforward narratives. We know each other very well so we often know what the songs are about without having to explain them to one another.

As the sound of the band is continually evolving, is there a tone or signature in sound that you believe Love Of Diagrams are beginning to establish?
At the moment we are demo-ing new songs that continue in similar vein to the songs on Nowhere Forever but instead are perhaps a little heavier and noisier. They’re really fun songs to play so hopefully we’ll have a whole new album to release and tour soon.
I do think we’ve established a good balance between all the elements of our previous recordings. I certainly don’t feel any great desire to rebel against the last recording as I have with others in the past, so maybe that’s to do with settling into a sound…

What should new listeners who may not have yet seen Love Of Diagrams expect out of a live performance?
A huge wall of transcendent sound and rhythm. Three people playing their hearts out. Perhaps a couple of new tunes too.

You can catch Love Of Diagrams playing their hearts out at their Nowhere Forever Vinyl Launch on Saturday (January 9) at The Annandale Hotel alongside The Laurels and Ghosts Of Television. Tickets are only $15 and available online or at the venue.

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words: Jacinda Fermanis


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