July 2024

Ab Fab

Words: Digby Woods Images: Fabulous Diamonds

Nisa Venerosa and Jarrod Zlatic are Fabulous Diamonds, a Melbourne-born psychedelic folk-pop duo that has been causing quite a stir since their self-titled debut album launched back in 2008. Since the they have been clocking up the frequent flyer miles with tours in the US, UK, France, Sweden, Switzerland and Portugal. Oh, and Australia, of course.
Now the time has come for their sophomoric effort, nostalgically titled, Fabulous Diamonds II. So, are the duo still as ‘overtly hypnotic’ as they were? Is there still that same ‘undercurrent of friction that cuts through the drone and propels the songs forward’? Let’s find out.

Digby Woods: You’re sound has been described variously as noise-pop, post-punk, classic dub and neo-psychedelic. In light of this apparent inability to properly classify your music, do you consider your music as being beyond genre? Do you think that music is headed this way in general?

Jarrod Zlatic: Well I don’t think we are beyond genre – it’s just hybridised, and with anything people are going to read it differently… I mean music has always been a case of hybridisation so I don’t think music is heading that way as it has always been “there” so to speak. Everything is a combination of what came before it. Blues, rock, techno etc.

DW: Vice Magazine described your self-titled seven song debut album as “the soundtrack to your next DMT trip”. An accurate description?

JZ: I guess. Personally I don’t associate us with anything that is overly or overtly psychedelic, I try to avoid ‘psychedelic’ whenever I can. I mean we would be just as suitable to somebody with a bottle of red wine and Xanax, maybe more suitable.

DW: Your first album cover is a favourite of mine. Is there a story behind it’s invention, or did Jarrod just want to show off his hairy back?

JZ: It was an accident. It was the only useable photo out of a very random photo shoot with our friend Karl Scullin.

DW: Fabulous Diamonds II is book-ended by two songs that each stretch past the 10 minute mark, double the longest track off your first album. Are you entering into an even more experimental and expansive style, or do you just have more to say this time around?

JZ: Oh there are less songs this time around so I’d say we have less to say. Nisa and I have been discussing the next album and we’ve started writing an 80 minute long song that will constitute the whole of the next album. Each subsequent album is a further refinement upon the last one, I have a feeling our final album will be an ambient recording of us hanging around in my lounge room eating pizza.

DW: None of your tracks are named, in the conventional sense. This is true for both your first and latest album. Do you prefer people to interpret your songs how they wish, based upon they’re own experiences, or do your simply enjoy the mystery it evokes?

“The untitled eighth studio album by American metal band Korn was released on July 27, 2007, through Virgin Records. The standard edition holds thirteen tracks, the deluxe fourteen. The album was intentionally released without a title, as vocalist Jonathan Davis reasoned, “why not just let our fans call it whatever they wanna call it?”[1] The album has been certified Gold in the U.S.[2] It is the band’s least successful release to date, with the album barely surpassing sales of 500,000 copies.”

(from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Untitled_Korn_album/)

DW: A simple but important question: What is the process of your song-making? Do you have a very precise strategy or is it a more free-flowing, rush-of-blood-to-the-head kind of thing?

JZ: Um… like wood carving. We whittle our jams down from large blocks to small pieces.

DW: How would you distinguish your sophomore effort from your debut one? Various reviews have commented that you appear to be more refined second-time around, that your direction is clearer, or is this a moot interpretation?

DW: What do you think about pirated music and people downloading it for free? Would you be upset if people did that to your music?

JZ: Funnily enough four or five separate blogs, independent of each other, posted our album for download all on the same day. It was kind of strange and I felt a little annoyed but at the same time that is the process through which I find new music so I’m not going to stop anyone – but I don’t see why you have to post a whole album, post half the album or something. It’s not like it’s a limited edition release or particularly hard to find.

DW: You’re signed with US label Siltbreeze for the vinyl releases of your albums, home to other such musical luminaries as Pink Reason, Psychedelic Horseshit and Times New Viking. What made you decide to sign with them in particular?

JZ: Well we didn’t sign with them, there are no signatures involved. Tom approached us and asked us to do an album for him. I don’t think anyone really “signs” with a label unless it is a big label these days. Also it is not like we were having our email box inundated with offers, we still don’t, Tom was the only person that asked – it was lucky for us that the only person interested happened to also run a good label.

DW: Fabulous Diamonds II comes hot on the heels of your debut album, only two years later. Are you going to be taking some time out after the launch tour, or are new songs/ideas already in the works?

JZ: Two years is a long time, especially by contemporary music standards. With our launch ‘tour’ it’s not really a tour as such, it’s a few dates scattered across a few months. We have plans for a new album and a 7” 33rpm EP for next year (hopefully).

Fabulous Diamonds are slowly touring Australia from July 17. Fabulous Diamonds II is out now through Chapter Music.

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