DIIV is often called a shoegaze band. ‘Shoegaze’ is a type of rock music characterized by a “wall of noise” laden with guitar distortion, feedback and vocal melodies—the term refers to the stance often taken by band members: head down and disaffected. It is a subgenre of alternative rock and reached its peak in the late 20th century with acts such as My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. It is very similar to grunge, which was made famous by Nirvana.
Brooklyn label Captured Tracks signed DIIV and released two singles, ‘Human‘ and ‘Sometime.’ The songs were originally demos that the band recorded prior to signing; they believed in their creations and forged ahead to more exciting material. On June 26, 2012, DIIV’s debut album, Oshin, was released, and was followed by the single ‘Geist.’ Oshin consists of both instrumental and vocal tracks which run the gamut of emotion, from the stunning riff of the opening track to harder tracks that may get listeners in the mood for some running.
DIIV has a wide range of influences. Zachary Cole Smith mentioned in interviews that the band’s major influences include Krautrock, bands featured on NME magazine’s C86 cassette release, Nirvana, and world music. ‘People didn’t seem to pick up on the influence of these Malian guitar players, especially Baba Salah, whose record I got at the library,’ Smith said. ‘He’s a huge star in Mali, but he has this one record called Borey, and it was huge for me and influenced the way I experimented with melody.’
DIIV has been on tour with great bands from around the world, notably The Vaccines, from London, and Japandroids, a Canadian duo. From 2013 to 2014, DIIV went on an American tour. On July 11th, 2014, DIIV came to The Music Hall Of Williamsburg in Brooklyn and soothed the audience with supporting acts LODRO and Regal Degal. The tour was praised for the band’s unique, atmospheric style and set up. Projected behind DIIV were home movies from their early days, showing the audience how they spent their time. These home movies served as a way for DIIV to connect with and soothe fans.
While touring in support of Oshin, DIIV played several unreleased songs, including ‘Under The Sun’ and ‘Dust.’ Smith mentioned that during the tour, roughly 150 different songs had been written and would either make it onto the upcoming album Is The Is Are or would be released as future singles. Is The Is Are will be available in October of 2015 and will feature some of the band’s most psychedelic songs to date.
Currently, DIIV is traveling around Europe and South and Central America, among other places. Soon they will make their way back home to Brooklyn where a new tour will begin in late 2015 or early 2016.
By Nick Marcin