DIIV: Punk at Heart Interview | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, October 23rd, 2020  

DIIV

Punk at Heart

Jul 05, 2016 Photography by Sandy Kim Issue # 57 - M83
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Though it took DIIV three and a half years to release their second album Is the Is Are, the delay was not without its reasons. As frontman Zachary Cole Smith explains, "The date never really got pushed back, though it was supposed to come out in the fall. Basically, albums can't come out as fast as they used to because bands just have to tour like crazy. It's really hard to write and record a double record when you're playing all over the world and you're getting on flights and driving around or whatever. They work you hard nowadays. You have to tour."

When recording Is the Is Are, Smith took into account all that touring and was careful that the songs would translate well to a live setting. "I don't want to put anything on record that can't be replicated by five people on a stage," he says. "I don't want to have a string section that's super important to the song because then I'll find myself never being able to play it properly. On both records, I wanted to make it that way. Now we have a keyboard player and some of the songs on the first record have three guitar parts so it helps with stuff like that. I don't think it necessarily has to be different from the record...but we're like a punk band at heart, so we play a show and we want you to jump around and go crazy because we're jumping around and going crazy."

Smith also felt compelled to deliver a follow-up that lives up to his exacting standards, perhaps compounded due to his own struggles with addiction. "There was a lot of pressure on me to deliver something really great, so that was huge," he says. "I wanted to make something that would live up to all of the talk. I wanted to be honest and forthright and to tell people the real story of what happened with me. Everyone knows the stories, but I wanted to make kind of a big statement and that's not the easiest thing to do. The record was finished, recorded, and tracked last March, but I kept remixing it over and over myself so that pushed it back. Furthermore, getting all the art done was another factor as well along with compiling the entire two LP package. I think that every great record creates a world around it and I wanted to do that with this record and the art is a huge part of that."

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar's May/June 2016 Issue, which is out now. This is its debut online.]

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